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Day: October 13, 2016
Why is the Icelandic language more linguistically conservative than other Germanic languages?
Our guesses: Language change is quicker in places where there are a lot of people, lots of social difference, and a lot of traffic. Lots of people generate more random linguistic variation; lots of social difference generates more deliberate linguistic variation; lots of traffic helps idiosyncratic distinctions that one person comes up with propagate. Iceland […]
What did the Greeks know about India before Alexander the Great started his campaigns?
Only what was in Ctesias’ work Indica (Ctesias). The text only survives in quotations from later authors, and in a summary by Photius: Photius’ excerpt of Ctesias’ Indica It was second hand information: Ctesias worked in the Persian court, and relayed fanciful Persian notions of what India was like. Megasthenes, the first Greek author to […]
How would a society work if everyone was deaf?
Imagine a world in which humans didn’t have Electroreception. None of that electric frisson you get when a predator lurks outside. No ability to use your body as a compass; why, the number of humans that would get lost on hikes! No ability to tell what’s in front of you just by its capacitance or […]