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Day: January 22, 2017
What are some (longer) words that appear or are considered false cognates, but which could plausibly be actual cognates?
My favourite example is Hawaiian meli “honey” and Greek meli “honey”. I have even seen a historical linguistics textbook say that’s a coincidence (Trask’s, I think.) It’s not a coincidence. The honeybee is not native to Hawaii. Honey is referenced in the New Testament. The New Testament needed to be translated by missionaries into Hawaiian. […]
For pictures, we hope for extreme iconicity. Writing systems often originate in pictures, but end up looking quite abstract and conventional. That applies even to Chinese. So if you have a lot of symbols, and only a few of them look like animals, you can conclude that the ones that look like pictures really are […]
This is parasitic on Alberto Yagos’s answer. Would be nice if we could call these collaborative answers! Don’t let your dreams be memes. Alberto is more than right to call memes graffiti. So: Ne tibi fiant spes inscriptionum res. Let not your hopes be the subject matter of graffiti. Not… great, not at all. If […]