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Month: June 2017
What was Socrates’ original word for marrying?
Did Socrates really say “if you get a bad wife, you’ll become a philosopher” in any original texts like Plato’s or Xenophon’s dialogue? Two sources named: John Uebersax’s answer to Did Socrates really say “if you get a bad wife, you’ll become a philosopher” in any original texts like Plato’s or Xenophon’s dialogue? Diogenes Laertius, […]
What question could you ask and what postgraduate degree would it nearly get you?
http://nypost.com/2017/06/11/inside-gwyneth-paltrows-ridiculous-goop-summit/ What does fluency mean in a conlang like Klingon? Actually “fluency” is something of a misnomer I committed. What does good style mean in a conlang like Klingon? People clearly do differentiate between good Klingon and bad Klingon; on what basis do they do so, when the language is made up, and we don’t […]
How come does is not pronounced as /doʊs/?
If you want to make sense of English vowel pronunciation, Middle English phonology – Wikipedia is always a good place to start. Do had a long ō. (As it still does, allowing for the Great English Vowel Shift.) The Middle English 3rd person of do was dōeth, if the verb was a main verb, and […]
Why is Hermione pronounced like her-MY-on-ne in English? Does it follow the rules? It doesn’t seem phonetic, and the Greek is probably different.
It follows the rules alright. They’re just rules that have nothing to do with the original Greek. Traditional English pronunciation of Latin – Wikipedia In the middle of a word, a vowel followed by more than one consonant is short, as in Hermippe /hərˈmɪpiː/ hər-MIP-ee, while a vowel with no following consonant is long. Hence, […]
Which Turkish words adopted by the languages in the Ottoman territories have been most grammatically productive (in those languages)?
I’m not proud to bring up puşt “bottom, male homosexual on the receiving end of anal sex, faggot”, because homophobia is not something to be proud of. But the word has certainly been productive in Greek, as you might expect of an insult. From the Triantafyllidis Dictionary: Λεξικό της κοινής νεοελληνικής pustis ‘faggot’ (used as […]
What if when it’s time to go to school my son speaks only Klingon and I refuse to teach him English? Would it be considered child abuse or something?
For a less emotive response, let us substitute Klingon with Norwegian, outside of Norway. It is not child abuse to bring up your kid to speak only Norwegian in Australia. As another respondent said, if they arrive at primary school with no English, they will pick up English pretty quickly at school. As is the […]
What does the term “turn turk” mean and how did it originate?
‘Turn turk’ in the Renaissance meant to convert to Islam. The Turks were the Muslims that the English had the most contact with, through the Ottoman Empire. A Christian Turn’d Turk (1612) is a play by the English dramatist Robert Daborne. It concerns the conversion of the pirate John Ward to Islam. Because of the […]
What are some of the strangest loanwords in your language?
For Modern Greek: parea ‘group of people hanging out socially’. Either our solitary Catalan loan, or one of our few Ladino loans, from parea (Spanish pareja) ‘couple’. The Catalan etymology is seductive, as it involves the Catalan Company, a parea marauding the Greek countryside. tsonta ‘porn film’. From Venetian zonta ‘joined on’ (Italian giunta); originally […]
How come rude is not pronounced as /rjuːd/?
It used to; the [j] was regularly dropped after certain consonants: Phonological history of English consonant clusters – Wikipedia The change of [ɪ] to [j] in these positions (as described above) produced some clusters which would have been difficult or impossible to pronounce; this led to what John Wells calls Early Yod Dropping, in which […]
Could I just treat Ancient Greek adjectives like nouns?
Historically, the distinction between adjectives and nouns is a fairly recent one—not entrenched before the 18th century. The classical grammars referred to nominals, which included adjectives and nouns. In addition, Greek, unlike English but like many other languages, can routinely use adjectives on their own without a noun. In fact, neuter adjectives were how Classical […]