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January 12, 2004 9:35 AM   Subscribe

Ask A Linguist is designed to be a place where anyone interested in language or linguistics can ask a question and get the response of a panel of professional linguists. Be sure to browse their archived questions (with answers, of course).
posted by anastasiav (10 comments total)

 
Very interesting resource. I can see why a mailing list of scholars might develop this service.

My favorite answers all seem to come from Larry Trask, who says things like: ''French'' is not an object that exists in the world, like the Great Wall of China. It is merely a label that we find it convenient to apply to the speech of some generations of speakers. Latin did not come to an end, and French did not have a beginning.
posted by profwhat at 10:18 AM on January 12, 2004


What we really need is a site called Ask a MetaFilter Linguist.
posted by LeLiLo at 11:14 AM on January 12, 2004


Yeah, Larry Trask is great. But some of these guys need to work on their patient skills. If this jerk keeps answering questions in such a snotty way (who cares if the questioner misspelled "grammar"?), people are going to stop asking things. (Incidentally, if you google his name you get a bunch of Ask-a-Linguist hits, and his web page makes a point of his being part of the panel; it must be a big thing for him. Get a life, Joe.)

Question:
Is overly concise grammer indicative of anything?

Reply:
Well, I suppose it indicates that somebody was either in a hurry, wanted to represent the shell of the language quick and dirty, or else had a low limit to their curiosity and were not interested in alternations like
manager ~ managErial
editor ~ editOrial
grammar ~ grammAtical

U of Cincinnati

Reply From: Joseph F Foster
Date: Jan-12-2004

posted by languagehat at 11:27 AM on January 12, 2004


And my question is... why do the English speakers capitalise 'I', for the personal pronoun, where many other languages don't (inc. French)?

Paging languagehat...
posted by dash_slot- at 11:29 AM on January 12, 2004


O! There you are!!
posted by dash_slot- at 11:30 AM on January 12, 2004


I enjoyed this one, though of course it would have been better with an answer.
posted by alms at 11:34 AM on January 12, 2004


dash_slot, they have a decent answer for the question about "I" here.
posted by profwhat at 11:51 AM on January 12, 2004


Nice one. Thanks, profwhat.
posted by dash_slot- at 11:55 AM on January 12, 2004


Wow, that Foster fellow is a jerk.

Ok, By now you should be getting used to Japanese and little about how they are likely to do things. So you're going to need to learn how to answer, or guess at the probable answers, to some things yourself.

This, even though the guy who posted the question actually listed a bunch of probable answers and wanted to know which was more correct. What, not only does he have to be able to guess some possibilities, he's supposed to somehow intuit which one is more native, from a non-native perspective? Great way to encourage a new student, there.
posted by vorfeed at 12:43 PM on January 12, 2004


Are these guys cunning linguists? I'm only going to click the link if they're cunning.
posted by ssmith at 12:48 PM on January 12, 2004


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