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Month: August 2016
How did the Greek tragedy originate?
No references were harmed or even looked at in the authoring of this answer. It’s hard for us now to understand the awe and fear of ancient Greek religion. So when reading this answer, try not to think of Pericles and Demosthenes. Think instead of J. Random Tribesperson from, I dunno, Vanuatu or some place. […]
How do you pronounce η (eta)?
How do I pronounce eta? In Modern Greek: /i/. When reading Ancient Greek to myself, still /i/. I’m Greek, which makes me Reuchlinian, as Haggen Kennedy described: I pronounce Ancient Greek as Modern Greek to myself. When reading Ancient Greek out loud, or describing Ancient Greek historically, I do not use whatever weird-ass Pronunciation of […]
Why isn’t there a single Modern Latin language like Modern Greek?
How many months ago did you A2A me this, Zeibura S. Kathau? I’ve been clearing out my backlog. The question really is not why isn’t there a Single Modern Latin, but why is there a Single Modern Greek. Actually, there is not a single Modern Hellenic language. Under no linguistically informed notion of language is […]
Why does the definition of one word recall other n words and m definitions?
The question is somewhat opaque, but OP is getting to the question of, why is the definition of a word such a complex, and potentially circular, graph of links to other definitions. Your original question, OP, was in fact about circularity. The answer is: Dictionary definitions aren’t particularly concerned about rigour or non-circularity: you’re assumed […]
Why are the generic male endings -er and -or accepted as gender neutral but -man isn’t?
The archaicness of -trix is indeed very very relevant to the topic. I agree with Jason Whyte’s answer, I’ll just elaborate on it. In the past of English, gendering was overt, and feminine actor suffixes were quite marked. –er was masculine and had a –ress counterpart; –or was masculine and had a –trix counterpart; –man […]
What is the Origin of idiolect?
If you’re asking about the etymology of idiolect: idio-: from Greek idios “particular, individual”. Cf. idiosyncrasy, idiot (originally: private citizen, loner), idiom. -lect: back-formation from dia-lect, originally “something conversed about/in”, from dia “through” and lektos “spoken”. See: What are some examples of idiolects? How is an idiolect different from a sociolect? If you’re asking why […]
What is known about the symbols on the Arkalochori Axe (possibly a script)? Are there any attempts to decipher them?
This question has been sitting, lonely and neglected, in my inbox for quite a while. I’ll answer it so it can be out of my inbox. I don’t have any special knowledge about it, but: Cretan hieroglyphs is a superset of Arkalochori and Phaistos; it also includes a bunch of seals. The latest published corpus […]
Is the use of the word “niggardly” acceptable and politically correct?
There’s several perspectives one can take on the whole sorry-ass saga of niggardly, on which as always see Controversies about the word “niggardly”. There’s the perspective of the linguist, the language-lover, the activist, and the anti-American. The Anti-American first, so I can get it off my chest: Christ, I’m glad I don’t live in your […]
Why is linguistics considered a science?
Supplemental to the list given by David Rosson (ah, your American bias is showing, David 🙂 cc C (Selva) R.Selvakumar As Dmitriy Genzel points out, Historical Linguistics is an observational science, like Astronomy. A lot of hypothesis testing though. To add to Tibor Kiss’ list of German words, Linguistic Typology is a Versammelnde Wissenschaft: a […]
What’s the onomatopoeia for a computer?
Thing about onomatopoeias is, they get conventionalised and stick around, even if the referent no longer makes that sound. I mean this sound? This sound, the doot doot doot bloop bleep flurgh frump virrrr of a dial up modem? Hasn’t been heard in functional use for what, twenty years? And yet it is still used […]