The Ket from the Lake Munduiskoye
(2008, 30 min.) The Ket people
are an indigenous group in central Siberia whose population has numbered less than two thousand during the past century. Although mostly assimilated into the dominant Russian culture at this point, a couple hundred of them are still able to speak the Ket language
, the last remaining member of the Yeniseian language group. Recent scholarship
has proposed a link between Ket and some Native American language groups.
posted by XMLicious
on Apr 16, 2014 -
In the Spanish province of Burgos, Castile y León, about 200 kilometers north of Madrid, is a tiny little village named Castrillo Matajudíos (pop. 60). The village is considering changing its name
. [more inside]
posted by skoosh
on Apr 12, 2014 -
Dr. Pierre Capretz, who taught French at Yale University for several decades, passed away at the age of 89
on April 1st of this year, qu'il repose en paix
. Capretz is best known for his 1987 PBS series of half-hour French-language lessons, French in Action
, which combined language immersion using to a simple romantic-comedy narrative followed by a classroom-style review, featuring Professeur Capretz, of the narrative with emphasis on the concepts, vocabulary, and grammar. [more inside]
posted by Sunburnt
on Apr 10, 2014 -
We may not speak with the butter-toned exchanges of the characters on “Downton Abbey,” but in substance our speech is in many ways more civilized....
We are taught to celebrate the idea that Inuit languages reveal a unique relationship to snow, or that the Russian language’s separate words for dark and light blue mean that a Russian sees blueberries and robin’s eggs as more vibrantly different in color than the rest of us do. Isn’t it welcome, then, that good old-fashioned American is saying something cool about us for once?
- John McWhorter on colloquial American English
(SLNYTIMES) [more inside]
posted by beisny
on Apr 6, 2014 -
This book deals with the Dialect of the English Language that is spoken in Ireland. As the Life of a people—according to our motto—is pictured in their speech, our picture ought to be a good one, for two languages were concerned in it—Irish and English. ... Here for the first time—in this little volume of mine—our Anglo-Irish Dialect is subjected to detailed analysis and systematic classification.
P.W. Joyce's 1910 work, "English as We Speak it in Ireland,"
is a fascinating chronicle of a language's life, and no mistake. [more inside]
posted by MonkeyToes
on Mar 6, 2014 -
"Finlayson’s attitude to language can be related to his politics. As an admirer and advocate of free market capitalism, he considers human society nothing more than the sum total of the actions of an aggregate of free and rational individuals. Just as these free and rational individuals are wholly responsible for their beliefs and choices, so they are entirely responsible for the meanings of the language they use. If there is any ambiguity in a piece of language, then this is the result of some individual’s failure to stop splitting infinitives, or breaking some other rule. " -- At Reading the Maps
, Scott Hamilton rejects New Zealand's Attorney General and Minister of Treaty Negotiations Chris Finlayson's reductionist calls for "clear" language
, in favour of the more complex approach to English as articulated by H. W. Fowler
posted by MartinWisse
on Feb 18, 2014 -
how to read Sanskrit
, Old Persian
, Classical Greek
, Koine Greek
, Classical Armenian
, Old Irish
, Old English
, Old Norse
, Old Church Slavonic
, Old French
, Old Russian
, and Albanian
in ten lessons apiece.
posted by Iridic
on Jan 27, 2014 -
The new chief editor of the Oxford English Dictionary discusses its future
. "My idea about dictionaries is that, in a way, their time has come. People need filters much more than they did in the past."
posted by anothermug
on Jan 26, 2014 -
only lists adjectives. English Synonyms and Antonyms
takes the time to explain the small distinctions of meaning and usage between, for example
, example, archetype, ideal, prototype, type, ensample, model, sample, warning, exemplar, pattern, specimen, exemplification, precedent,
--or, at least, such distinctions as author James C. Fernald, L.H.D., perceived in 1896.
posted by Iridic
on Jan 10, 2014 -
Please enjoy this smattering of Word of the Day sites and pages: OED
, The Free Dictionary
), Urban Dictionary
(RSS), NY Times Learning Network Blog
), Easy Speak (Toastmasters)
, Wiktionary "Foreign"
, all in OLDO
), and Sesame Street
(not daily, unfortunately).
posted by cog_nate
on Dec 13, 2013 -
The PLT Games
are a monthly programming language competition. At the beginning of every month, a new theme is picked and developers begin work on a language that they think best fits the theme. At the end of every month, developers submit their projects and entries are submitted during the next month. [more inside]
posted by fizzzzzzzzzzzy
on Dec 10, 2013 -
When did our plainest punctuation mark become so aggressive? (New Republic)
“In the world of texting and IMing … the default is to end just by stopping, with no punctuation mark at all,” Liberman wrote me. “In that situation, choosing to add a period also adds meaning because the reader(s) need to figure out why you did it. And what they infer, plausibly enough, is something like ‘This is final, this is the end of the discussion or at least the end of what I have to contribute to it.’”
posted by salix
on Dec 3, 2013 -
English Has a New Preposition, Because Internet. The word "because," in standard English usage, is a subordinating conjunction, which means that it connects two parts of a sentence in which one (the subordinate) explains the other. In that capacity, "because" has two distinct forms. It can be followed either by a finite clause (I'm reading this because [I saw it on the web]) or by a prepositional phrase (I'm reading this because [of the web]). These two forms are, traditionally, the only ones to which "because" lends itself. I mention all that ... because language. Because evolution. Because there is another way to use "because." Linguists are calling it the "prepositional-because." Or the "because-noun."
posted by scody
on Nov 19, 2013 -
"Unspeak is language that deliberately loads the dice. War on Terror. Weapons of mass destruction. Climate change. Failed asylum seekers. File sharing. Austerity measures. Oil spill. Erectile dysfunction. Once we tune in to unspeak we start seeing and hearing it everywhere
" -- UK journalist Steve Poole's book Unspeak
has been turned into a six part interactive documentary series
by Dutch new media group Submarine Channel
, narrated by Poole himself. [more inside]
posted by MartinWisse
on Oct 31, 2013 -
I’ve always written high-quality sentences, prepared with the finest grammatical ingredients. In the coming year, I’m raising the bar even higher: I’ll be offering only artisanal words, locally grown, hand-picked, minimally processed, organically prepared, and sustainably packaged...
- by Michael Erard
, reprinted at Medium
posted by jim in austin
on Oct 29, 2013 -
From the New-York Mirror
of February 24, 1883:
“. . . a new and valuable addition has been made to the slang vocabulary. … We refer to the term “Dood.” For a correct definition of the expression the anxious inquirer has only to turn to the tight-trousered, brief-coated, eye-glassed, fancy-vested, sharp-toes shod, vapid youth who abounds in the Metropolis at present. …
The Dood is oftenest seen in the lobbies of our theatres on first-nights. He puffs cigarettes or sucks his hammered-silver tipped cane in the entr actes, and passes remarks of a not particularly intellectual character on the appearance and dresses of the actresses. His greatest pleasure lies in taking a favorite actress or singer to supper at Delmonico’s or the Hotel Brunswick—places he briefly calls ‘Dels’ and the ‘Bruns’—where he will spend his papa’s pelf with a lavish hand. … ” [more inside]
posted by mannequito
on Oct 26, 2013 -