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Day: February 21, 2016
What is the plural form of the word “vertex”? Why is it irregular?
Vertices. Why? Because the word is straight of out Latin, and Latin has a lot of declensions that look weird from the perspective of English. In particular, the plural vertices suggests that the singular should be vertix, just like the singular of matrices is matrix. There are a lot of –ices plurals corresponding to –ex […]
What interesting differences would there be today if I went back in time to ensure that “-tion” words in English instead ended in “-tio”?
where the endings “-tion” and “-tio” both were in use. Alack, not so. The Latin ending is nominative –tio, genitive –tionis, dative –tioni, accusative –tionem, ablative –tione. That’s a pain, sure, but the common pattern is that the underlying ending seems to be –tion– (and that’s what you’d reconstruct the proto-Latin nominative as). The nominative […]
Is Greece more West or East?
Greece was an Eastern country in 1832, and has been telling itself ever since that it’s a Western country. (That’s what the Westerners were telling her too. At least, to her face.) By the 1990s, Greece was a Western country. But the Eastern roots are still there. When the switchover between East and West happened […]
Does Monaco have its own language, or local dialect?
Yup. Close to the dialect of Genoa, which Monaco sits next to: Monégasque dialect. There’s been some promotion of Monegasque recently, but Monaco isn’t in the right part of the world for promoting small languages. The Duchy of Savoy (in the same general area, and homeland of Franco-Provençal/Arpitan) made French its official language three years […]
Are memes a novel linguistic category of proverbs?
Hm. In this subculture, sure. Adage at least, if not proverb. The fragmentation of culture in the Anglosphere, and the lack of common cultural reference points as a result, is a strange thing. It feels unprecedented. You can’t fall back on common literary references any more. The Anglosphere thinks traditional wisdom is old hat and […]