37 votes
Accepted

Is there any evidence that the modern word for "bear" is an euphemism which replaced the original taboo word?

You are correct that whilst the argument that the original term was replaced is pretty strong, the arguments for taboo being the reason for its replacement is much less clear-cut. The first thing ...
Tristan's user avatar
  • 8,193
13 votes
Accepted

State of language in the hunter-gatherer era of Europe / Levant?

There is no controversy over the existence of the contemporary language faculty as recently as 40 Kya, though we should omit speculations about persistence of Neanderthals and their language capacity ...
user6726's user avatar
  • 83k
8 votes
Accepted

Why is "knife" in Ukrainian different from other Slavic languages?

This is one of the most salient and well-known features of Ukrainian, and the first mentioned in Wikipedia’s description of the history of the Ukrainian language; it is not just this word. The ...
Janus Bahs Jacquet's user avatar
7 votes
Accepted

Looking for examples of natural languages with affricates but no corresponding fricatives/plosives

A likely place to start, I think, would be to find an affricate that’s relatively common, but whose corresponding fricative is not all that common. The most obvious candidate to me is /(d)ʒ/. The most ...
Janus Bahs Jacquet's user avatar
3 votes

Looking for examples of natural languages with affricates but no corresponding fricatives/plosives

According to the PHOIBLE search tool PSmith: 0 languages have /pf/, but no /f/ 1 language has /pɸ/, but no /ɸ/: Banjun (GM) 44 languages have /ts/, but no /s/: Garo, Lakkia, Chukchi, Chamorro, ...
Arcaeca's user avatar
  • 344
3 votes

Why is "knife" in Ukrainian different from other Slavic languages?

Is this part of a more general trend ("i" instead of "o"), or just this word? The former, and the phenomena of this has a name in Ukrainian liguistic terminology: ikavism. If it ...
Sútnôstj's user avatar
2 votes

Is there any reliable way to organize phonemes that aren't in the IPA?

Generally, you can either use diacritics (the official way), or invent your own symbols (the unofficial way). The IPA doesn't have special symbols for labiodental stops, so when field linguists ...
Draconis's user avatar
  • 65.2k
1 vote

What are the slowest changing languages?

In general, languages that are not in contact with other languages, and that are strongly standardized. Dead liturgical languages are a special case of that. Icelandic, Latin, Non-Colloquial Arabic ...
user6726's user avatar
  • 83k
1 vote

Is there any reliable way to organize phonemes that aren't in the IPA?

In principle, there aren't any phonemes without corresponding symbols in the IPA. It used to be that the IPA had no symbol for a labial flap, but after it was persuasively argued that such a sound is ...
user6726's user avatar
  • 83k

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