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Month: September 2016
What are some unexpected or unknown benefits from learning Esperanto?
If you immerse yourself in early Esperanto literature (before World War II), you end up learning a lot about Mitteleuropa high culture—and indirectly, a fair bit of German. There’s a lot of Heine, and a lot of emulating of Heine. Esperanto poetry is also a whole lot more formalist than English-language poetry (another Mitteleuropa thing), […]
Does Old English have enough vocabulary for writing a diary?
Yes, but you will need some word coining for modern references to actually come across as Old English. (If you’re going to be dropping in unassimilated modern words all the time, you might as well be writing modern English. You won’t have the look and feel of Old English.) Strongly recommend you look at the […]
Do languages evolve from conversations, scripts or a combination of scripts and spoken words?
If by scripts you mean “written texts” (and if you do, it’s a misleading way of saying it), languages evolve mostly through the spoken word. However, peculiarities of written registers can influence how people speak—for example, the reemergence of /t/ in often, or the influence of Classical Arabic on the spoken Arabic variants. Written language […]
Which English words and expressions have a different meaning in Indian English? For example, the word propose is used in India in a way that never existed elsewhere.
Fellow Quorans of India, there’s a surprising omission in this list, which I’ve seen repeatedly on Quora, and indeed on Ravi Indra’s answer to this question: https://www.quora.com/Which-Engl… In India Z alphabet is pronounced as (Zed) but for others it is (zee) Alphabet is used in the subcontinent, where the rest of the English-speaking world uses […]
Are all English periphrastic constructions (e.g. the present perfect) instances of grammaticalization?
Yes to what Clarissa Lohr said, and no to what Darius Vukasinovic said. (You still at Monash, Darius? I live in Oakleigh.) An auxiliary verb is by definition a grammaticalisation, since it is no longer a content word. I have spoken does not have much to do with possession, I will speak does not have […]
In Koine Greek, how are verbs conjugated based on their tense (if there is any pattern at all)?
Not quite clear what your question is. Assuming I’ve understood it: Koine Greek, like other languages, has a notion of principal parts. There are six tenses you need to know for a verb; once you know them, you can derive the remainder. The six tenses are all indicatives: present; future; aorist active; perfect active; aorist […]
Who is the other Hades and which are their family ties?
In this episode of Quora Jeopardy!, I find that the source OP is drawing on (Dimitris Sotiropoulos’ answer to Who is the other Hades and which are their family ties?, see comments) does not necessarily lead to the conclusion he is positing. The answer is drawn from the first successful Google hit I got on […]
What is your hometown’s dark secret?
I have several hometowns, but the hometown I’ll pick is Sitia, Lasithi prefecture, Crete. Small, no account place, placid, few tourists. I’ve made several discoveries about my hometown that came as a surprise to me. They had not exactly been publicised, and they’re embarrassing, so I guess they’re dark secrets. They get progressively darker. 1. […]
Not counting click languages, what is the oddest sounding language to speakers of English?
The weirdest sounds cross-linguistically would have to be those with a different airstream mechanism to the normal, pulmonic egressive mechanism. The normal pulmonic egressive mechanism is simply making the sounds while breathing out of your lungs. The lingual ingressive mechanism involves making sounds while sucking in air around your tongue. Those are, of course, clicks. […]
Is there a place in the world where we have differences between women and men in accent or even in vocabulary?
There’s lots of gendering in language, and people who have studied sociolinguistics more intently than me will be able to offer better examples. I actually don’t know of instances in Crete that OP has in mind. I do know that in Tsakonia in the 19th century, the palatalised allophone of /r/ appeared to be [r̝], […]