OK, tell me this: can you translate the following conversation, in a language that you almost certainly speak?
A dee nah.
Nevile Gwynne believes in old-fashioned teaching, and he shared his golden rules of grammar.
I might work up a proper post about this some time but OH MY GOD at 02:50 or so he actually says “[English] wasn’t a living language until only very recently”.
Warning: do not watch if you are easily upset by crazy old men with wrong-headed ideas about language being given a platform on the BBC breakfast news.
(Also, it’s a BBC clip so probably isn’t available to everyone in the world… sorry. It also doesn’t work on iphones. Feel free to reblog if you can find it on youtube or something.)
It’s sadly ironic that Shakespearean English is held on a pedestal while Appalachian English socially marks its speakers as “dumb, lazy hillbillies”, considering that—in various aspects—Appalachian English is arguably the closest to Shakespearean English out of all living dialects of English.
Do you know if this is actually true? I ask because I don’t know the first thing about Appalachian English and I don’t know much more about Shakespearean English, and I read a chapter in ‘Language Myths’ that said that this was a myth but provided NO LINGUISTIC DATA to back up the claim that it was a myth and it was so frustrating. So I’d be interested to know if there is any evidence either way.Source: estifi
I like how the only infixes in the English language involve the word “fuck.”
^ I’d claim that technically though, that’s not an infix, because it needs to be in the middle of the root, not the stem.
Actually, I changed my mind. It does function as an infix, because…
Apparently it’s technically tmesis, because it’s a whole word, not a morpheme? But most people call it an infix. There’s also Homeric Infixation - the infix ‘ma’ as in Homer Simpson’s speech. saxo-ma-phone, maca-ma-damia, etc.Source: sandy-beaches-distant-reaches
for Will and anyone else interested —
So my parents are planning on getting my little brother speech therapy based on what the pediatrician said, and while I don’t think there are serious issues I think it could help — BUT when talking about it, my mom’s big reason for wanting it was so he…
- What’s the proper name for the “th” to “f” thing?
It’s replacing a (voiceless) dental fricative (‘th’), written as /θ/ in the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) with a (voiceless) labio-dental one (‘f’), handily written as /f/ in IPA. In practical terms, this means that instead of making the /θ/ sound with your tongue against your top teeth, you make it with your bottom lip between your teeth. The name for it is ‘th-fronting’, because linguists classify sounds partly based on how far forward in the mouth they are produced, and /f/ is slightly further forward. There’s an exactly equivalent replacement of the voiced dental fricative /ð/ (‘th’ in ‘they’) with voiced labio-dental /v/. It’s a feature of the Cockney accent, but not that many other places in the UK (I don’t *think* it’s Scottish/Irish).
- Am I talking about a dialect, idiolect, or what?
Might be both. Idiolect is your own speech, the particular way you personally say things. A dialect consists of the features common to a number of people in an area. So if it’s just them who says it, and no one else in the area, it’s their idiolect, I suppose, but if it’s a feature of that area it’s also a dialect. To be more precise, it’s a feature of their accent, and a person’s accent is one part of their dialect (which includes grammar, vocabulary etc as well).
- Why DID only half the children in the family pick up that way of talking?
No idea… did they have friends who spoke that way while your mum didn’t? What accent you pick up is often conditioned a lot by your social group, and how you want to identify. If they sub-consciously or consciously wanted to identify as more part of that particular community that speaks that way, they’d have picked it up easier.Source: faithliketeeth
I just did this. Always be a linguistic informant when you can - recruiting participants is a hard task!Source: harrowindustries
A good example of the variation permitted between singular and plural for semantically plural but grammatically singular entities like bands in (British) English.
Here we have ‘offends’ with the singular agreement, and in the very same sentence the plural verb ‘are’ (contracted to ‘re).
We also have a pronoun ‘they’ which can be used for both singular and plural referents, at least in colloquial usage and probably in many formal registers too. However, it’s prescriptively plural, and this can affect its usage in funny ways. For instance, it’s unusual to hear ‘themself’ and spellcheckers don’t allow it, even when referring to a singular antecedent in a sentence like ‘a student has left their file here. They’ll be kicking themselves later’.
It’s impossible (for me, at least) to refer to a band as ‘it’. This is a bit surprising seeing as a band can be singular, as noted above. I don’t know the reason for this. But it means that we have to use ‘they’ and we have a singular verb ‘offends’ in the tweet above, followed by the frequently singular ‘they’, followed by the plural ‘are’, all of which should be one or the other. But because at no point is there a mismatch between two adjacent items, the long distance mismatch comes out just about ok. ‘They’ mediates between the singular and plural verbs and both are deceived into thinking they’re in the right number form.
I took a course last spring that was (supposedly) about varieties of American English. When we started off the course, one of the first things we talked about was the definition of “language” as well as “dialect.”
Long story short, it’s not easy, nor is it as intuitive as most people believe from…
Yes, ‘variety’ is a much more neutral term to use, and I think is regarded as the standard one to use when discussing languages/dialects. This is a good explanation of why that is the case.Source: adventuresineclecticism
I’m not taking any language courses right now, but I’ve taken quite a few and I have a system for learning large amounts of vocabulary pretty quickly and effectively (i.e. so you’ll remember it later) that I thought might be useful to share since it’s exam season for at least some of the population.
Step 1: Get some paper, and divide each page into two columns (see pictures above of my old Latin notes). Group your words somehow that makes sense to you: by lexical category (nouns/verb/etc), by inflection type (e.g. verbs that take similar conjugation endings, nouns by gender), by textbook chapter (especially for chapter-specific vocab quizzes), or by related topics (e.g family members, things around the house). EDIT: you could also use flashcards here, although personally I’m not a fan. Make sure to do groupings though, they’ll be important later.
Step 2: Write each word in the language you’re learning in column 1, with its translation(s) in column 2 (or if you’re learning more vocabulary in your native language, put definitions in column 2). You can also put extra information by the word, like its gender or conjugation type, irregular things about it, etc. Whatever you need/want to know about it. You could draw pictures in the translation column, but I find that this ends up taking more time and being less effective in the long run. Don’t worry, you’re going to move past translation by the end anyway.
Step 3: Cover all the words in the translation column with your hand or another piece of paper. Starting at the top of the other column, read each word out loud and try to say its translation out loud. Guess if you can. You’ll probably know at least some of them from class and from making the lists.
This is a nice post. I never had trouble learning vocab for French, Spanish, and Italian - I just remembered them as we went along and it stuck. But for Latin, we were allowed dictionaries up until the last term, when suddenly they decided we weren’t. I didn’t think I could learn two years’ worth of vocab in a few weeks so I memorised the translation of the text we were going to have to translate part of instead (some might say this would be harder but I knew it so well already it was easy). This method would probably have worked and then I’d have known lots of vocab instead of large chunks of Suetonius’ life of Nero…Source: allthingslinguistic