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#linguistics
slagathorius-maximus · 2 days ago
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there is something so cool about the prefix dis- in words. dispassionate. disillusioned. disuse. dis- doesnt just mean an absence, it means the essence of the word has been leeched out. your passion has been sucked dry. your blissful ignorance has been torn away. the object is forgotten somewhere knowing the joy of being loved and used and the shame of becoming unneeded even more so.
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redshifting · 2 days ago
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The thing about people being hostile towards cursive is just so weird to me. Like, we've had cursive and print forms of writing literally from the moment we invented written language. Fucking Egyptian hieroglyphs had a cursive form. Cursive is literally just how people have written for 99.9% of written history if you didn't want to take 5× longer to write a single sentence. Fuck, cursive is literally how new writing systems develop:
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It's not "fancy, useless" writing, it's literally just how regular people write.
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etymology-findings · a day ago
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Daily Etymology #134
Checkmate
Checkmate comes from the Old French eschec mat, of the same meaning. This in turn came from the Arabic shāh māta, meaning 'the king is dead'. According to Robert Barnhart, an American lexicographer, the māta was a misinterpretation of the Persian mat (to be amazed) as mata (to die).
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thelegendofjenna · 2 days ago
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@justasmallbloginabigklainefandom wait WHAT?
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betty-bourgeoisie · 20 hours ago
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So excited for October and the annual argument around which language and dialect should be used to pronounce the word "Samhain"
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gemsofgreece · a day ago
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I'm in love with the Greek word for summer, like y'all went "it's when the weather is good" :D
Lol yeah but most of the time actual summer weather makes us chew our words!
Context: Καλοκαίρι (kalokéri) comes from the words καλός and καιρός, meaning "good weather".
There is a more archaic word for summer too, we don't use it often but most derivative words come from this one; θέρος (théros). Some of the derivatives have come to mean the harvest and reaping the crops and consequently some of them signify the Reaper, killing and extermination XD
The word for autumn has a similar philosophy with καλοκαίρι. It's φθινόπωρο (fthinóporo), which comes from the words φθίνω and οπώρα, meaning "decaying fruit".
One of the two and the more common word for spring is άνοιξη (ánixi) which means "opening", signifying the opening of the flower buds and the start-over of Nature.
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twiceroyaldove · 2 days ago
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love getting historical* linguistic tidbits like this!
*i assume it's a thing of the past but can i specifically recall a non-american english speaker use "take chances"? i guess not
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eilooxara · 11 hours ago
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Ok so what's the rule for this
Sometimes a band has a name that is "The [plural noun]"
And SOMETIMES you refer to a given member of the band as "a [plural noun]" and sometimes you DON'T
In like, the 60s or so, you pretty much always did
Eg, a Beatle, a Rolling Stone
And there are obviously cases where you don't, no member of the band gets call A Sin of Thy Beloved
But like
Is a member of The Killers "a killer"
Is a member of The White Stripes "a white stripe"
Is a member of The Dead Kennedys "a dead Kennedy"
Is a member of The Crüxshadows "a crüxshadow"?
How important is the "The"? Do you have musicians who are a Lethian Dream or a Tree of Eternity or an Ocean of Slumber? A Sister of Mercy? A Wolf In The Throne Room? A Chvrch? A Wood of Ypres?
I feel like the answers are clear in most cases but I can't figure out how I know
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mypling · 20 hours ago
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dash-n-step · 2 months ago
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the english language is truly a wonder
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saja-star · a month ago
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One of my favorite things about learning about traditional textiles is the little ghosts they left in the language. Of course the ghosts are there, now that I know to look for them. Once upon a time, half the population spent a majority of their day making textiles. Spinning, at the very least, has been a part of humanity since the Neanderthals. That kind of knowledge doesn't just disappear.
A heckle was a device with sharp metal spikes, and people drag flax through the spikes to separate out the fibers from the chaff. When you say someone heckled a performer, you think you are being literal but you're speaking in an ancient metaphor.
When my grandpa says "spinning yarns" to mean telling stories, he knows that one's not quite literal, but its vividness is lost to him. There is no image in his mind of rhythm, muscle memory, and the subtle twist that aligns clouds of fibers into a single, strong cord.
When a fanfic writer describes someone carding their fingers through someone's hair, that's the most discordant in my mind. Carding is rough, and quick, and sometimes messy (my wool is full of debris, even after lots of washing). The teeth of my cards are densely packed and scratchy. But maybe that's my error, not the writer's. Before cards were invented, wool was combed with wide-toothed combs, and sometimes, in point of fact, with fingers. The verb "to card" (from Middle English) may actually be older than the tools I use, archaic as they are. And I say may, because I can't find a definitive history. People forget, even when the language remembers.
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redshifting · a day ago
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Hi, linguistics question: is this true?
"The modern Mandarin character for 'home' or 'family' consists of a pig in a house"
The context is an article about how pigs were domesticated in China and were the primary livestock animal.
Yup!
The old glyph for pig/boar in Chinese characters (NOT "mandarin" characters. Chinese characters are used for all Sinitic languages (aka Chinese languages) and Japanese, as well as in some very specific contexts in Korean) was 豕 (shǐ) (tho afaik, it's more common to use 猪 (zhū) now), with the radical 宀 (mián) meaning house or roof, so home (not house) being 家 (jiā), which you get by adding a semantic 宀 (roof) over a phonetic 豕 (pig).
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charlesoberonn · a year ago
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daystarsearcher · 5 months ago
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Current linguistics obsession: the difference in English between “few/little” and “a few/a little”
“He convinced few people” Negative connotation; he did not convince that many people.
“He convinced a few people” Neutral to positive connotation; he did manage to convince some people.
“They found a little food” “Neutral to positive connotation; it might not be a lot, but they did manage to find some food.
“They found little food” Negative connotation; that’s not going to be enough food.
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bngrc · 3 months ago
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Teaching French to English Speakers:
French lesson: The word "sur" means "on" English speaker: Okay. French lesson: For example,  The vase is [on] the table.  The house is [on] the right.  I read this book [on] his recommendation.  Bring me the file [on] copyright licensing. English speaker: Right. Got it. "Sur" means "on."
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Teaching French to Chinese speakers:
French lesson: The word "sur" means "on." Chinese speaker: Okay. French lesson: For example,  The vase is [on] the table Chinese speaker: Right. Got it. "Sur" means "on." French lesson: The word "sur" also means "towards." Chinese speaker: Eh? French lesson: For example,  The house is [towards] the right. Chinese speaker: Oh...kay. French lesson: The word "sur" also means "because of." Chinese speaker: What? H..how? What? French lesson: For example,  I read this book [because of] his recommendation. Chinese speaker: Why does this one word mean all these things? Don't y'all have any other words? French lesson: The word "sur" also means "containing information pertaining to." Chinese speaker: Stop fucking around with me. French lesson: For example,  Bring me the file [containing information pertaining to] copyright licensing. Chinese speaker: What the fuck is wrong with this language?
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fnord888 · 6 months ago
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It would be funny if nuclear waste warning messages become an attraction for future historical linguists.
I mean look at this thing:
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A parallel text in 7 languages, with 4 different scripts between them! And pictograms! All designed to be preserved intact!
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shitacademicswrite · 9 months ago
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I’m going to sit on Torpenhow Hill, drinking my chai tea and reading a biology book about Eurasian brown bears (Ursus arctos arctos).
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