Category: Other Languages

What’s the most unusual script/alphabet?

By: | Post date: 2017-06-01 | Comments: No Comments
Posted in categories: Other Languages, Writing Systems

A close companion to What in your opinion is the ugliest/most unappealing script? Cultural familiarity is going to defuse anyone’s opinion; so you won’t get many responses nominating Latin, or anything originating on the same continent as Latin. Is it Lontara alphabet, optimised to be written on palm leaves? Is it Vai syllabary, which aesthetically […]

What languages accept the use of mesoclisis and/or endoclisis?

By: | Post date: 2017-05-30 | Comments: No Comments
Posted in categories: Ancient Greek, Linguistics, Other Languages

Part of the problem is going to be that the terminology can get idiosyncratic to a language. I was not familiar with the terms endoclisis and mesoclisis, though I’m sure I’ve seen somewhere a description of an Italian dialect that sounds like what you’re describing as mesoclisis. If we treat the Indo-European preverb as a […]

What was the role of the Turkish language in the Balkan sprachbund? How was Turkish affected by it or how effected it?

By: | Post date: 2017-05-29 | Comments: No Comments
Posted in categories: Linguistics, Other Languages

All Balkan languages have borrowed substantial Turkish vocabulary, and all Balkan languages have borrowed some Turkish affixes. However, the Balkan Sprachbund is defined through the convergence of grammars, rather than just their borrowings from a common source. It is defined by shared morphological categories and syntactic constructions: a convergence such that, if you replace a […]

When and how did modern Turkish become the majority in Anatolia?

By: | Post date: 2017-05-27 | Comments: No Comments
Posted in categories: History, Mediaeval Greek, Other Languages

I’ve put off answering this question for ages, and I’ve finally looked at the classic work on the topic, Vryonis: Decline of Medieval Hellinism in Asia Minor Here’s the quick summary. The Turks came from parts East, in several waves: first the Seljuk Empire, then the various emirates that ended up being incorporated into the […]

Are the many “i”-like combinations in modern Greek comparable to the “yat” and many “i”-sounding letters in old Russian orthography?

By: | Post date: 2017-05-27 | Comments: 3 Comments
Posted in categories: Modern Greek, Other Languages, Writing Systems

There is one major similarity between the Old Cyrillic and Greek alphabets: originally, both were (mostly) phonemic, but several of the distinct sounds represented by different letters merged later on, so that there was two or more ways of representing the same phoneme with different letters. So the letter Yat seems to have originally represented […]

Is it true that most linguists assert Basque has not substantially changed?

By: | Post date: 2017-05-27 | Comments: No Comments
Posted in categories: Linguistics, Other Languages

Not to my knowledge. The late Larry Trask, preeminent vasconist of his time, spent a lot of leisure time refuting inane claims about Basque being related to every language on earth, and part of his armoury as a historical linguist was that such inane efforts made use of modern Basque dictionaries, whereas​ both what we […]

Is there any font for writing in cuneiform?

By: | Post date: 2017-05-18 | Comments: No Comments
Posted in categories: Other Languages, Writing Systems

Every once in a while, I take offence at the possibility that any Unicode script might not be rendered on my Mac—even if I never use the script, will never see the script, and will have no idea what the script even is. And I go hunting for free fonts. There are five cuneiform blocks […]

What is the last letter in the Coptic alphabet?

By: | Post date: 2017-05-15 | Comments: No Comments
Posted in categories: Other Languages, Writing Systems

On seeing this question, I thought, “Huh? Why is this not a question for Wikipedia?” And then I looked at Wikipedia—English and German and French; and I realised that it’s not as trivial a question as you might think. The last three letters of the Coptic alphabet listed on Wikipedia (all three languages) are Ϭ, […]

What are some words shared between Albanian and other Balkan languages?

By: | Post date: 2017-05-06 | Comments: No Comments
Posted in categories: Linguistics, Other Languages

I answered a related question, and so did Dimitra Triantafyllidou: Do Greek villages near Albania use Albanian words, just like those in Albania use Greek loanwords? The Greek blog article Πενήντα ελληνικές λέξεις αλβανικής προέλευσης lists 50 common Albanian words in Greek; Dimitra being in Northern Greece, she knew most of them, whereas I being […]

If Mandarin has a lot of homophones, how are the different meanings understood while speaking?

By: | Post date: 2017-05-04 | Comments: No Comments
Posted in categories: Linguistics, Other Languages

There’s no shortage of Chinese speakers here, and they’ll give better informed answers than me. But: Mandarin Chinese is not Classical Chinese. Classical Chinese was a bit of a scholarly game, and writers relished the ambiguity of the homophones and the overall oracularity of it all. People in real life don’t, and Mandarin has dealt […]

  • Subscribe to Blog via Email

  • June 2024
    M T W T F S S
     12
    3456789
    10111213141516
    17181920212223
    24252627282930