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Month: July 2017
Why is the ancient Greek tonal pronunciation theory so refuted by Modern Greek speakers?
The right answer to this is Dimitris Almyrantis’, which goes into the motivations and anxieties behind this attitude. I had passed on answering this, but I’ve just been asked this externally, by a user who pointed out the discrepancy with Chinese and Italian. There are a few linguistic and cultural factors that have made this […]
Are there any Crimean Gothic loanwords in Pontic Greek?
Are there any Crimean Gothic loanwords in Pontic Greek? Actually, OP, you mean Mariupolitan Greek. The answer is, I’ve read a fair bit on Mariupolitan, and I haven’t seen any mention of it anywhere. That’s the answer. Now the background. The Goths of various vintages are an important part of the history of Europe, and […]
What’s the slang word for “blowjob” in your language or country?
In Greek, pipa “smoking pipe” (cf. Blandine Meyrieux-Lefevre’s answer for French), or tsimbouki “hookah pipe” < Turkish çubuk. That was a Google Image search for “hookah pipe”. Let’s just say that doing a Google Image search in a public place for τσιμπούκι was a mistake… As τσιμπούκι – SLANG.gr informs me (Hi, Melinda!), the Turkish […]
What is “does the bear shit in the woods” an example of in language?
Aside from being a rhetorical question, it is also a Conventional Implicature: the primary meaning of the phrase is “this is obvious”, even though this is not the literal meaning of the phrase, and that meaning replies from Gricean maxims of conversation. (“What does ursine defecation have to do with my question as a counterquestion? […]
What is a better way of representing the /ʔ/ and /ʕ/ sounds than apostrophes or other punctuation marks?
I’m going to take a long time to say “none”. Glottal stop – Wikipedia The most common convention in Latin script is indeed to use apostrophe; and the disadvantage of the apostrophe is that it’s easy to miss, easy to conflate with a quotation mark, and it doesn’t look like a “real” letter. The same […]
Is it possible to use the ancient Gothic alphabet to write in English?
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gothic_alphabet One might argue that the phonological inventory of Gothic is a spectacularly bad match for that of Modern English. But then again, so was the phonological inventory of Latin. I think you can, so long as you hold your nose and write vowels as a one to one match with Modern English; you’re not […]
Can “αἰὲν ἀνάβηθι” be improved to resemble the Latin “excelsior?”
Not that I actually know much about Homeric Greek, but the infinitive does work better than the imperative, because it makes it less personal and more gnomic: it is a statement to the world, not a command to the individual. Although in context, it is not a command anyway, but reported speech: Ever to Excel […]
What are some examples of obfuscation of language to the point of amusement or downright hilarity?
Pidgins have limited vocabularies, because they are by their nature sparse languages, and pidgins sound like colonial language babytalk, because paternalism. And some of the more amusing Pidgin coinages, we can be reasonably sure, are the colonials poking fun at the natives yet again, rather than genuinely used circumlocutions. Such as, for example, the notorious […]
What Greek dialects sound Italian?
Lara Novakov and Konstantinos Konstantinides are both right. The dialects of the Ionian islands have had the longest exposure to Italian (from 1200 through to 1800), and has substantial Italian vocabulary. This performance of Petegola from Corfu (Mardi Gras skits) may exaggerate the intonation as vaudeville, but exaggerated vaudeville is probably the closest you’re going […]
Is there a phonological explanation of why the letter “s” dropped in many French words (resulting in adding the circumflex accent)?
Between them, Christopher Ray Miller’s answer and Brian Collins’ answer have most of it covered. There’s one more way to look at it though. French dropped /s/ at the start of consonant clusters, at the start and in the middle of words. So /sp/ > /p/, /sn/ > /n/, /st/ > /t/ etc: hospital > […]