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Month: November 2015

Are speakers of present-day Volapük generally able to read texts in the original Schleyerian Volapük?

By: | Post date: 2015-11-10 | Comments: No Comments
Posted in categories: Artificial Languages

I don’t know the answer, but I will point out something the OP is aware of, but others may not. Like many artificial languages, Volapük underwent significant reform in 1931. I don’t know to what extent Volapük Nulik and Volapük Rigik are mutually intelligible, but if they aren’t, that’s just yet another instance of artificial […]

What is the most minimal language?

By: | Post date: 2015-11-09 | Comments: No Comments
Posted in categories: General Language, Linguistics

Artificial languages are where you’d look of course, and there are much simpler languages than Esperanto. Basic English was renowned for having a small vocab. My own favourite, with a comparably small vocab and a much tighter grammar, is Interglossa (as opposed to its revival Glosa). Natural semantic metalanguage has an extremely small number of […]

In Indo-European languages using a Latin alphabet, what’s up with these two letters “ch” that are pronounced (phonetics) so differently?

By: | Post date: 2015-11-09 | Comments: No Comments
Posted in categories: English, Other Languages, Writing Systems

Roman alphabet digraphs were invented with the digraphs Latin used to represent Greek aspirated letters: <ch th ph>. So <ch> was available very very early on to languages using the Roman alphabet, to represent new sounds. Palatal sounds are notoriously unstable phonologically: once /k/ goes to [c] (as it did in late Latin), it can […]

Can you say anything using a vocabulary of 100 words?

By: | Post date: 2015-11-09 | Comments: No Comments
Posted in categories: General Language, Linguistics

The claim of Natural semantic metalanguage is that you can with around 60. It was a party trick of Australian linguistics undergrads to speak in NSM; it becomes very stilted very quickly, but in principle you can define a lot of notions with a limited vocabulary, as the asker alludes to. NSM is of course […]

Why do Greek and Cyrillic have different collation order than Roman alphabet?

By: | Post date: 2015-11-07 | Comments: No Comments
Posted in categories: Ancient Greek, Other Languages, Writing Systems

The collation of Greek and Roman are pretty similar, as Philip said, once you factor out archaisms, and the tendency to insert new letters at the end of the alphabet. The original Roman alphabet matches to the original Greek alphabet pretty well: A ΑB ΒC ΓD ΔE ΕF ϜG ——  ΖH Η— ΘI ~ J  […]

What language is spoken in Athens, Greece?

By: | Post date: 2015-11-05 | Comments: No Comments
Posted in categories: Linguistics, Mediaeval Greek

To add to the other answers, and to answer a slightly different question 🙂 : between the 1300s and the 1800s, the region *around* Athens was substantially Albanian-speaking (Arvanitika). That’s why the map Brian Collins included in his answer has a patch of white. (A friend of mine once called that patch of white the […]

What is the most interesting grammar in Lojban?

By: | Post date: 2015-11-04 | Comments: No Comments
Posted in categories: Artificial Languages

The harder bits. 🙂 In particular: * The fine differentiations in aspect and tense, including Lexical aspect (achievement, event, accomplishment, state). Hard to speak, not sure how successfully they’ve been taken up, but fascinating.* The abstraction particles: Events, Qualities, Quantities, And Other Vague Words: On Lojban Abstraction. Even more fascinating, even harder to speak.* Raising […]

How did your life change after learning Lojban?

By: | Post date: 2015-11-04 | Comments: No Comments
Posted in categories: Artificial Languages

Gave me a podium to be a language pioneer for a little while. I gather I am still revered in some circles as the first fluent speaker. 🙂 Gave me a severe sequence of intellectual challenges at a time when I needed it; helped me sharpen several of my skills, including writing in English. 🙂 […]

Are there any short expletives that sound the same in different languages?

By: | Post date: 2015-11-02 | Comments: No Comments
Posted in categories: General Language, Linguistics

Nick Enfield [Page on sydney.edu.au]  (who I did linguistics with, and boy does he look different twenty years on) just got an Ig Noble [Improbable Research] for claiming the universality of Huh? (The Syllable Everyone Recognizes, Is ‘Huh?’ a universal word?) Of course the realisation of Huh? does differ by language; in the Mediterranean, for […]

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