New answers tagged

2

It has something to do with Euphemism or even Taboo, since for a long time the opinion was hold that women were inferior to men. So the plain word for "women" has a much stronger tendency to be replaced by another word, say, a word for "feminine lord", than the plain word for "man". Similar effects can be seen for the words ...


12

The loss of intervocalic -d- in Old French is a commonplace phenomenon. So there's nothing to conclude from *ioudaeus > Old French guiu, which probably was pronounced zhüiv as present-day juive f. "(she) Jew". The form juif m. was created to disambiguize m. from f. Note that your wikipedia source erroneously quote giu, a non-existing word. ...


27

A surprising example is that one of the words in the "Lord's Prayer", one of the most significant prayers of the Christian tradition, has an unknown meaning. The original Greek word is epiousios (ἐπιούσιος) and has traditionally been translated as "daily" - but that translation has no particularly strong foundation. It occurs in the ...


22

In Genesis 6:14, Noah's Ark is made of עצי גפר (gopher wood). "Gopher" is just a phonetic transliteration of the ancient Hebrew גֹּפֶר. No one knows what it means, except that it is presumably some kind of wood.


41

Ancient Greek word ΣΑΣΤΗΡ (sastēr) From 1890 to 1899, in pieces, a white marble slab was found by archaeologists in the ruins of an Ancient Greek colony Chersonesus, Greek Χερσόνησος (Khersónēsos), on the Crimean Peninsula, established in the 6th century BC. The slab (photo) was inscribed with a text in Ancient Greek being the civic oath of the Chersonesites ...


5

Hapax legomenon This is defined as a word that only appears once in a given context - it can be in a single book, an author's complete works, or in the published works of an entire language (whether a dead language or an extant one). In the last sense, it would generally be a word whose definition is lost to history. The linked article gives a few examples....


36

There are many such words. Even for a really well-attested dead language like Latin such words are known, e.g., aurichalc, haematopus, or cortumio (all three examples taken from the answers to this question on latin.se)


1

In Middle English it was /u/ — en.wiktionary.org/wiki/comen#Middle_English. The letter o is written there for practical reasons: near m, n, w, v made up of vertical strokes the letter u also made up of vertical strokes is hard to discern, many vertical strokes in a row are ambiguous when hand-written. And, irrespective of its spelling, ME /u/ > ModE /ʌ/, ...


2

The question has never come up (officially: maybe you are the first to suggest developing a test). The problem is that we already know the answer, at least if you're dealing with a decent-sized corpus and not just a 3-word written snippet. You could re-frame the question as being about distinctive properties of conlangs as contrasted with those of natural ...


1

Some sentences of Vedic have the nearly exact equivalents in Avestan. Both languages can be dated to the late second millenium BC. This suggests that about 4,000-3,500 years ago, Indian and Iranian were more or less dialects of the same language. So Proto-Indo-Iranian was probably spoken during the 3rd millenium BC.


4

Epistemic modality ("He will be in London now") and futurity ("He will see her tomorrow") are generally associated with each other. This seems to be fairly common cross-linguistically, but there are enough subtle differences between them to make it quite individual to the speech variety in question. English In Old English, no synthetic ...


Top 50 recent answers are included