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44 votes
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Why isn’t the letter “G” immediately after “C” in the alphabet?

Short answer: The letter G was inserted into the Latin alphabet on the place of the letter Z that was abolished officially at the same time. For more information, see this answer and also this answer ...
Sir Cornflakes's user avatar
30 votes
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Does an affinity between languages necessitate that the speakers be ethnically related?

No, this is not generally assumed. In fact, it is assumed that any human (of any ethnic background) can learn any language as first language or second language. Large language families often cross ...
Sir Cornflakes's user avatar
20 votes
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How to identify a foreign language from handwriting?

Problem 1. Identify the language I found this diagram (in Russian). It seems to be pretty simple, and it amazingly covers a vast majority of world's languages. I took my liberty to adjust it slightly....
Be Brave Be Like Ukraine's user avatar
18 votes

Why isn’t the letter “G” immediately after “C” in the alphabet?

We know that the Romans invented the letter G, derived its shape from C, and put G in seventh place. jk linked to an answer to a Latin.SE question. None of the answers to that question, nor any of ...
Rosie F's user avatar
  • 602
16 votes

Native English speakers: worse understanding of other accents?

The first thing to consider is that this is a comedy show, and Lily Tomlin is a comedian. The second is that US speakers of English don't have a lot of exposure to UK accents, especially those most-...
user6726's user avatar
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13 votes

Native English speakers: worse understanding of other accents?

Lily Thomlin is a comedian. She's playing the supposed difficulty of understanding the accents as a joke. If you pay attention, she laughs quite appropriately to the jokes the others make. When ...
JRE's user avatar
  • 231
11 votes

Does an affinity between languages necessitate that the speakers be ethnically related?

It does not, it only establishes that there was some communicative contact between the ancestoral populations (which before the interwebs was invented meant "living in proximity"). However, the notion ...
user6726's user avatar
  • 83.2k
9 votes
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What are the different schools of PIE reconstruction?

I know that this question has remained unanswered for over four years, but I have decided to revive it considering that it's currently the unanswered question with the most upvotes here on Linguistics ...
Galactic's user avatar
  • 216
9 votes
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Is there a tendency to name money after other things?

Although anecdotally the answer to the question is a confident "yes", there is a big complication: the many concepts of economic value that are bundled into the Western European concept of "money". ...
Michaelyus's user avatar
  • 7,546
9 votes

Is there a document to summarize characteristics of various languages?

As usual, yes and no depending on what you mean. I disagree with the characteristics attributed to Japanese, French and German. I do however understand that there are popular language stereotypes, and ...
user6726's user avatar
  • 83.2k
9 votes
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What is linguistics?

I think "The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language" by David Crystal is a good read in this respect. You can also look at this question and its answers for some more suggestions.
Sir Cornflakes's user avatar
8 votes
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Reverse-etymology resources

Wiktionary is a great free resource for inflection, meaning, pronounciation, etymology and other information on a large amount of words from many languages, and provides a "Descendants" section ...
Natalie Clarius's user avatar
8 votes
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4 or 5: is thumb a finger? Distribution across languages

What about the idiom “five finger discount” that is popular in at least modern English? Giving someone a “high five” also indirectly refers to the five fingers of one’s hand. To me the “thumb” has ...
Piotr Zielinski's user avatar
8 votes
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Is there an aggregation of Oracle Bone Script glyphs?

The largest publication and seriously academically attempted transcription of oracle bones in modern script (using an umbrella method known by Chinese paleographers as 隸定, or clericalification), is ...
dROOOze's user avatar
  • 459
8 votes
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Historical explanations for soft/hard declensions in Czech

Balto-Slavic languages developed their own way to decline adjectives, by combining the nominal forms with the forms of personal pronouns (In Slavic *jъ, ja, je). Many Slavic languages (e.g., Russian) ...
Vladimir F Героям слава's user avatar
8 votes

Could Cimmerian be a transitional language between Iranian and Slavic?

With only three personal names surviving our knowledge of the Cimmerian language is extremely limited. And even for that three names it is unclear how to read them, different readings have been ...
Sir Cornflakes's user avatar
7 votes

Textbooks in Formal Semantics / Montague semantics

I warmly recommend Coppock & Champollion (2020). It's free, very accessibly written and essentially a formally precise version of Heim & Kratzer's style. It also comes with a computer program ...
Natalie Clarius's user avatar
7 votes

Charles Hockett - 'F' article?

Here's the citation: Hockett, C. F. (1985). Distinguished lecture: F. American Anthropologist, 87(2), 263-281. The link is here, but it's also behind a paywall. Google Scholar profiles, personal ...
WavesWashSands's user avatar
7 votes

Does a scientific methodology exist for evaluating bilingual dictionaries?

That answer on Spanish SE is misleading on key points - "neural networks" have nothing to do with dictionaries. Let's step back and imagine that we are tasked with creating bilingual dictionaries ...
Adam Bittlingmayer's user avatar
7 votes

How did these first person plural pronouns come to be in Catalan?

The following isogloss map from L’Atles Lingüístic del Domini Català details the different pronunciations by region: ALDC phonetic symbol guide
iacobo's user avatar
  • 3,132
6 votes

What is the relationship between syntax and semantics?

As a supplement to MGN's great answer on CxG in general, there's a closely related approach by Ray Jackendoff and Peter Culicover called "Parallel Architecture" that I think is relevant here. The ...
abarnert's user avatar
  • 2,645
6 votes
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Thaqovelith: Is this language extinct?

It is alive enough that there is a Wikipedia entry. It is a dialect of Kabyle Berber indigenously called Taqbaylit ([ˈθɐqβæjlɪθ] if Wiki is to be believed). Shaltz doesn't get more specific than say "...
user6726's user avatar
  • 83.2k
6 votes

Reverse-etymology resources

The book Romanisches etymologisches Wörterbuch by Wilhelm Meyer-Lübke contains the Romance descendants of Vulgar Latin words. It does not include direct borrowings from Latin (such as Spanish causa ...
J. Siebeneichler's user avatar
6 votes
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What are some good books/publications that discuss the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis?

This list includes both common recommendations and stuff I've actually read: Deutscher, G. (2010). Through the language glass: Why the world looks different in other languages. Macmillan. Gumperz, J....
WavesWashSands's user avatar
6 votes

Good recent historical grammar of Sanskrit, preferably in English?

Burrow’s The Sanskrit language (1955) is still very good (though pre-laryngealist). There is also an English translation of Mayrhofer’s Sanskrit-Grammatik, which is short but also very good.
fdb's user avatar
  • 24.4k
6 votes

Is there a better series of sentences for observing features of a language?

You're essentially describing the field-worker's script. In reality, such a list is an ever-growing project constructed on the basis of previous results (when e.g. you discover that you can't use the -...
user6726's user avatar
  • 83.2k
6 votes

*h₁éḱwos > ἵππος, (Aeolian) ἴκκος

Except from Etymologicon Mega (472.12 ίκκος, σημαίνει τον ίππον) it appears in an inscrition from Kalindoia, Mygdonia, Chalkidike SEG 36:626 as a part of the personal name Ἰκκότας (instead of Ἰππότας)....
Midas's user avatar
  • 2,562
6 votes
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Is there a standardized graphical encoding for cuneiform?

I haven't heard about anything like that concerning cuneiform glyphs, but there's a very interesting paper, The Xixia Writing System (Bachelor of Arts Honours Thesis), 2008, by Alan Downes (...
Yellow Sky's user avatar
  • 18.5k
6 votes

Books on historical writing systems

If you can read German, I strongly recommend Hans Jensen, Die Schrift in Vergangenheit und Gegenwart, VEB Deutscher Verlag der Wissenschaften 1969. It is not the most recent book available but it has ...
Sir Cornflakes's user avatar
5 votes

Lists of linguistic resources

List of resources PHOIBLE phonological database Surrey Morphology Group databases Konstanz Universals Archive Encyclopedia of Linguistic Laws and the Laws in Quantitative Linguistics Glottolog

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