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Month: September 2016
Does word villa, meaning house, have the same meaning in all European languages or are there some exceptions?
Yes, yes, OP, in Cypriot Greek, βίλλα, as a variant of βίλλος, does mean “dick”. Hence, per βίλλα – cySlang (the Cypriot counterpart to urbandictionary) and βίλλα, βίλα – SLANG.gr (the Greek counterpart to urbandictionary), the fans of Marcos Baghdatis would shout: Του Μάρκου η βίλα γκαστρώνει και καμήλα!Marcos’ dick will impregnate even a camel! […]
Standard Greek does not. <ch> gets transliterated as /ts/. For example, when I was in Goody’s (the Greek competitor to McDonald’s) and ordered a cheeseburger, my order was relayed as ena tsiz! . You’ll see many Turkish loanwords with /ts/ in them: every single one corresponds to a Turkish <ç>. On the other hand, many […]
I have in my time collected dictionaries, though often it was for utilitarian purposes, so photocopies rather than books. The one I think of with the most affection is John Sampson (linguist): The dialect of the Gypsies of Wales. It’s uncompromisingly scholarly, from a time when the Roma were considered beneath the notice of decent […]
The word cat is the same in a lot of languages, for the same reason that Coca-Cola is the same in even more languages. Because most cats were domesticated, and originated, in one place: Egypt. Not all cats: there was a separate domestication, Wikipedia tells me (Cat), in China. And extremely early domestication in Cyprus […]
To my embarrassment, I did not know what the pragmatics wastebasket was, so I did some googling. Pragmatics (textbook account) Out of the Pragmatic Wastebasket (Bar-Hillel’s note) Pragmatics waste-basket The history of linguistics is a succession of scholars saying: X is what we will pay attention to, and Y is crap we can’t be bothered […]
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fuz%C3%BBl%C3%AE Yes, Arabic script was a spectacularly bad fit for Turkish. But a more proximate reason, surely, was that mass literacy presupposes printing—and the Ottomans did not allow printing in a Muslim language. (They didn’t allow it in Christian Greek either, but at least Venetian printers were able to capitalise on that.) Global spread of […]
Ah, French in the Val d’Aosta. I don’t have a phonetic answer for OP. I do however have a sociolinguistic answer that I’m delighted to share, because I co-supervised an MA thesis on this subject. The facts are all from Genevieve Foddy (née Czarnecki). The snark is all mine. The indigenous language of the Val […]
How did terms such as stoicism and cynicism come to adopt totally different meanings from their original Greek definitions?
Sorry to answer by reference to Wikipedia, but, well, I think the answers are all there. We have ancient philosophical schools. We have popularisations of what those ancient philosophical schools were about, in education and in all-round educated discourse. We have people repurposing those popularisations, to express commonplace attitudes. To the extent that the meaning […]
Yes, hyphenation is less fashionable than it used to be, and yes, people think that it is finicky to introduce a distinction between two levels of punctuation. But may the fire of a thousand Harts and Fowlers rain down on all respondents, for not one of them suggesting as an alternative something involving an en-dash: […]
Not mutually intelligible. At all. The bizarre thing with Tsakonian is: the non-core vocabulary, you can understand, because it’s pretty much the non-core vocabulary of Greek. Except you’ve got some quite massive regular sound changes to deal with, which were regularly applied even to modern loans. [ɣramatici] for example, “grammar”, ends up as [ɣramacitɕi]. But […]