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2
votes
2answers
384 views

What is this language? Is it an ancient language?

I have recently procured an artefact, which was excavated in Yemen. At the bottom of the artefact there is engraving as shown in the picture. Some of the letters (on two sides) look like Egyptian ...
-3
votes
1answer
72 views

Why is October the tenth month even though Octo means eight?

And it's not only that! Novem is Latin for nine, and Decem is ten, and yet the months are eleventh and twelfth respectively. What's the origin of that? Why are the months called the way the are ...
-1
votes
1answer
95 views

Why some languages have developed so difficult compared to others?

Finnish is one of the most difficult language in the world. Swedish is one of the most easiest language in the world. Finland and Sweden are geographically located next to each other. What is the ...
17
votes
7answers
2k views

Why is English classified as a Germanic rather than Romance language?

I am not a linguist. I do not know German nor French. The majority of English vocabulary is derived from Romance languages. Given these facts, I ask for a simple and convincing demonstration (using an ...
4
votes
1answer
82 views

why did the Franco-Provençal language decline in Switzerland?

In France, the Franco-Provençal language is endangered. The general dialect leveling in France proper is sometimes thought to be a consequence of public policy, the French government having been known ...
5
votes
2answers
91 views

Are there systematic studies on HOW language features/characteristics are formed?

(I don't know whether this is a genuine "linguistics" problem as of how "linguistics" is defined, but it has bothered my curiosity for so long I have to ask it somewhere.) When we scientifically ...
2
votes
3answers
102 views

Origin of Alphabetic/Phonemic Scripts

Dixon (the Australianist) has claimed that the Phoenician/Canaanite script is the ultimate source of all known alphabetic (purely essentially-phonemic) scripts on Earth; all other scripts are not ...
6
votes
1answer
133 views

How old is linguistics as a discipline?

I hear a lot of people talk about how "new" linguistics is, or how "small" it is compared to other fields. Pāṇini studied grammar in the 4th century BC. Surely it didn't take until recent history to ...
1
vote
1answer
72 views

What was the most usual and most recent system of writing Korean without any hangul at all?

It's proving quite difficult to learn some of the facts about written Korean before hangul was given official status by the government. We know that metal movable type printing was inventing in ...
7
votes
2answers
204 views

What did the Greeks and Romans believe about language relationships?

The ancient Greeks and Romans had no concept of historical linguistics or of the Indo-European language family. However, it would have been noticeable to anyone who spoke even a little of both Greek ...
1
vote
1answer
80 views

Who or which academic paper first noted the death of a language every two weeks?

One language dies every two weeks. But where does that statistic come from? Everyone is saying it without explicit citation. Who or which academic paper first noted the death of a language every two ...
0
votes
0answers
62 views

Wanderwort origins and the Indus Valley Civilization?

I have noticed that there seem to be many words that have travelled the globe due to trade, such as the word orange or rice, which have plausible origins in proto-Dravidian. Meanwhile, it is ...
3
votes
1answer
155 views

How did a logographic orthography like Chinese organize its word-stock before any type of phonetic notation?

Let's say you were to to pick up a dictionary and look up a word in Chinese before the advent of any type of phonetic notation system such as Pinyin or Bopomofo. How would words in that dictionary be ...
-1
votes
1answer
153 views

schools of linguistics Greeks and Romans [closed]

Which arguments can prove that the Greeks and Romans did not practice linguistics in its modern meaning ?
1
vote
0answers
74 views

Weird bump in lower-case country names on Google Ngram

I was entering random names in Google Ngram when I noticed that in the late 80s to early 90s, there is a bump in the occurrence of lower-case European country names. See for example: united kingdom: ...
2
votes
2answers
151 views

What is the origin of 't-' and 's-' words for second and third person possesive adjectives?

Many languages associate the t sound with the second person and the s with the third. For example Spanish (tu/tuyo, su/suyo), French (tu,ton/ta/tes,son/sa/ses), Italian (tu,tuo/tua/tuoi,suo/sua/suoi) ...
2
votes
1answer
130 views

Do the Thai masculine & feminine “polite particles” have counterparts in Lao?

In Thai there are particles which can be used at the end of many sentences to make them more polite. Different particles are used by male and female speakers: "ครับ" (kráp) : male "ค่ะ" (kâ) : ...
4
votes
2answers
221 views

Why is Ivrit not considered an artificial language?

Why is Ivrit, the modern version of Hebrew, not considered an artificial language like for example Interlingua? From the history it looks like the language was dead except in clerical circles and ...
-3
votes
2answers
186 views

Caucasoid people, Common Genetic roots and Common Proto-Language? [closed]

It is so probable that all Caucasoid people have had a common ancestor. Does The fact that most of Caucasoid people speak a Semitic or Indo-European language not suggest that there has been an ...
7
votes
1answer
264 views

Is it accurate - Chinese Wikipedia on Japanese/Korean classification

I'm not very updated on random theories regarding the Altaic theory (which I personally am agnostic about; though I slant towards not believing in it due to the extreme lack of any regular sound ...
0
votes
2answers
82 views

Do languages evolve via community usage or via influential individuals?

In the modern world, it's clear that some very influential people have a small effect on the evolution of a language by popularizing certain linguistic constructions as slang, which eventually evolve ...
1
vote
1answer
179 views

Is the word “abjad” borrowed from Arabic or was it coined in English then borrowed by Arabic?

"Abjad" is a technical term for a kind of writing system which is used when contrasting them with other writing system types such as alphabets, abugidas, and syllabaries. There is also an Arabic word ...
2
votes
1answer
65 views

How much evidence of written language is needed to accurately define English in a particular period of history?

In older variations of English in history, how much evidence of written language samples is needed to accurately define the grammar and usage of that period? For example, if we want to define how ...
5
votes
2answers
687 views

Why did English borrow more from Latin and Greek than, e.g., German did, in scientific and philosophical subjects?

Is there any known reason why the scholars of the time didn't think it easier to use calques, as for instance the Germans did for the names of some of the basic chemical elements?
7
votes
2answers
239 views

How much time does it take to create/fork a new language?

I wonder if there exists any summary or paper analysing the time it takes for the creation of a new language (with all reservations concerning definitions of languages et dialects etc.)? Take, for ...
9
votes
2answers
224 views

What is the historical basis for the use of this type of phrasal verb in English but less so in Spanish?

For example, English uses phrases like to look for and to look at, which (I believe) are considered phrasal verbs. Spanish, however, would under normal circumstances use some derivation of buscar and ...
2
votes
1answer
136 views

References about the history of Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian after the break-up of Yugoslavia

What is considered the best reference (papers/articles/books) that discusses the Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian language and outlines its history after the break-up of former Yugoslavia in the early 90s?
4
votes
2answers
291 views

Why did generative linguists abandon the notion of kernel sentences?

I've had a hard time finding answers to this question on Ixquick. When I was young, transformational grammarians believed that sentences were derived from "kernel sentences," which were ...
4
votes
3answers
1k views

English words which are both verbs and adjectives

A question about UI design led me to speculate about English words which are both a verb and an adjective. My answer to the question addresses this linguistics issue as the root of the UI issue. I ...
4
votes
0answers
183 views

Where did Peirce publish his triadic model of signs?

A triadic model of signs can be found by various researchers. Probably the most famous illustration is the diagram in Ogden and Richards's The Meaning of Meaning (page 11, digitized here). It is also ...
8
votes
3answers
528 views

What are the Proto-Germanic words for sea, lake and a couple of others?

In Dutch "zee" means "sea" and "meer" means "lake", but in German "das Meer" means "sea" and "der See" means "lake". Similarly, verbs like to want, to need, to have, to desire, etc. are all mixed up. ...
15
votes
2answers
385 views

Why is it that Latin was more “successful” in the western part of the Empire than in the eastern part?

The Roman empire ruled over the lands around the Mediterranean for hundreds of years, and I imagine imposed its language on its subjects. But why is it that the western part of the empire (France, ...
7
votes
5answers
436 views

Outside of Modern Hebrew, do any previously dead languages have native speakers again?

What previously dead (i.e. no more native speakers) or remnant (i.e. not very well or hardly documented) languages have been revived to the point that there are native speakers? Accounts of revival ...
3
votes
1answer
161 views

Where did the semantic categories of C. D. Buck's dictionary of synonyms come from?

The 22 categories of words used in Carl Darling Buck's "A Dictionary of Selected Synonyms in the Principal Indo-European Languages" (1949) are quite different from for instance the categories in ...
4
votes
2answers
322 views

What are the rationale of people speaking/teaching Esperanto? [closed]

According to Wikipedia, Esperanto's goal was: to create an easy-to-learn and politically neutral language that would foster peace and international understanding between people with different ...
12
votes
4answers
813 views

True languages that pirates spoke

Ahoy, me hearties! As many of you may already know, today is Talk Like a Pirate Day. Since I find the historical subject of piracy quite interesting, specially after reading Pirate Utopias, I would ...
8
votes
2answers
231 views

What is the reasoning behind the selection of the IPA symbols?

There are many weird characters in IPA, like Glottal Stop symbol ʔ for example. Why these characters? Is there any reason for selecting them, or was their selection just arbitrary?