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I’m really grateful that one of my first speakers was badass Jason Momoa

"I had been creating languages for 10 years. But everybody else applying was equally skilled. So I figured the edge that I had was pretty much an endless amount of time—I was unemployed. I just decided: Well, let's just try to create the whole thing. In those rounds of judging, I created about 90 percent of the grammar—which is ridiculous for two months. Then I created 1,700 words of vocabulary—which is equally ridiculous for two months. Overall, I produced about 300 total pages of material. I figure that was probably what put it over the top."
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome on Jul 10, 2014 - 23 comments

"not far short of 50% have come into the language from French or Latin."

Borrowed words in English: tracing the changing patterns [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Jun 4, 2014 - 2 comments

The Ket had seven souls, unlike animals, who had only one.

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 - 7 comments

What is that? Is that a red pen? No, that's not a red pen. That's a rock.

Where Are Your Keys? (WAYK) is a language-learning game that starts with identifying a few simple objects and builds into a conversation dealing with abstract concepts — in the space of an hour or two, with minimal supplies. [more inside]
posted by The demon that lives in the air on Jul 16, 2012 - 7 comments

"as you watch the video you will start to see weird stuff happening..."

The story of how The Pharcyde hired a linguist to train them how to rap backwards for the Spike Jonze-directed Drop video [more inside]
posted by jng on Jan 13, 2011 - 47 comments

Sell a cellar, door a cellar, sell a cellar cellar-door, door adore, adore a door, selling cellar, door a cellar, cellar cellar-door.

'Cellar Door' is a beautiful phrase, and not only to Donnie's teacher. J.R.R Tolkien, Dorothy Parker, C.S. Lewis, among other authors were and are fans of this esoteric little gem of linguistic history.
posted by Taft on Feb 25, 2010 - 59 comments

Voices from WWI speak again in British Library

"It is the business of educated people to speak so that no-one may be able to tell in what county their childhood was passed." Despite efforts by Victorians to eradicate them, dialects of English in Great Britain continue to vary greatly, much to the consternation of many traditionalists. But a recently acquired archive is giving new insight into old dialects--some of which no longer exist. Recorded in a WWI prisoner of war camp on shellac disks, the archive was part of an effort by German linguists to study regional variation in the English language. A report by PRI's The World includes a brief synopsis--and a powerful rendition of a beloved Scottish ballad by a homesick soldier.
posted by jefficator on Nov 11, 2009 - 10 comments

The Linguists

A film (1 hour) about disappearing languages: The Linguists [more inside]
posted by idiomatika on Jun 11, 2009 - 23 comments

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