Category: Language

What do languages that use other scripts call each letter of the Latin alphabet?

By: | Post date: January 18, 2017 | Comments: No Comments
Posted in categories: Language

Greek uses French names for Latin letters, because French was the prestige Latin alphabet language: “Vitamini Ah, Vitamini Beh, Vitamini Seh” (to use fauxnetics). Or least, they did. You will of course hear a lot more English names of Latin letters now in Athens, I expect. Answered 2017-01-18 [Originally posted on]

Why did you learn German as a foreign language?

By: | Post date: January 14, 2017 | Comments: No Comments
Posted in categories: Language

For my part, because all the smart kids in my school did two languages, instead of one language and Art. As you can see from Gallery of Awesomery, not doing Art has paid off. In the eighties, the two main languages being taught in Australia were still French and German, which was a cultural inheritance […]

The Decalogue of Nick #2: I’ve trained as a linguist, and I have done computational linguistics stuff

By: | Post date: December 27, 2016 | Comments: No Comments
Posted in categories: Academia, Language, Personal

For Audrey Ackerman and Brian Collins and Zeibura S. Kathau. Ask a Greek what they can tell you about Byzantium, and they won’t tell you what the millennium of the East Roman Empire achieved. They won’t tell you about the Palaeologan Renaissance, or the ambivalence about the Classical past, or the edifices of Roman Law, […]

How do I tell a girl she has a nice rack?

By: | Post date: December 27, 2016 | Comments: 2 Comments
Posted in categories: Language

When I was 12, I found in my local library a copy of Brush up your pidgin. It’s a textbook of Tok Pisin, the pidgin of Papua New Guinea, played for laughs. It is hardly a serious textbook: the protagonists are a clueless British missionary and his sex starved wife, the Tok Pisin is respelled […]

What do you think of the Glaswegian accent?

By: | Post date: December 9, 2016 | Comments: No Comments
Posted in categories: Language

Ah, an utterly unscientific survey on Scottish accents. I find Scottish accents sexy. I find Glaswegian accents unintelligible and sexy. Taggart was a formative experience in my upbringing. For years, I’d imitate him picking up the phone: Halloo! Thes ez Tahghaghrt! … Whü?! Answered 2016-12-09 · Upvoted by Steve Rapaport [Originally posted on]

What was the original language of the Jahwist?

By: | Post date: November 21, 2016 | Comments: No Comments
Posted in categories: Language

The Jahwist, as in the hypothesised earliest source document of the Torah? I’m dismayed to find from Wikipedia that the documentary hypothesis is now falling apart, and increasingly scholars think there was no one unitary Jahwist document. Doesn’t matter to me if the Jahwist was a bunch of bits; that bunch of bits is still […]

What is the etymology of Helios?

By: | Post date: September 26, 2016 | Comments: No Comments
Posted in categories: Language

OP, get a hold of Frisk’s and Chantraine’s etymological dictionaries of Ancient Greek. Which may or may not currently be at—although they are both under copyright, so of course, you should be going to your local university library instead. Hēlios is simply a reflex of the Indo-European word for Sun, via proto-Greek *sāwélios. See […]

What are the greatest expressions, phrasal verbs or quotes from other languages you know (not your mother tongue)?

By: | Post date: September 18, 2016 | Comments: No Comments
Posted in categories: Language

The best saying of Ancient Greek ever comes from the very end of Ancient Greek. When Julian (emperor), last Roman advocate of paganism, was asked what he thought of Christianity, he said: ἀνέγνων. ἔγνων. κατέγνων. It’s a truly magnificent pun. Literally, it means: I up-knew, I knew, I down-knew. “To up-know” is the Greek for […]

Does Knowledge require denotation?

By: | Post date: September 17, 2016 | Comments: No Comments
Posted in categories: Language

An interesting question, Anon. Denotation means many related things, in different disciplines, and in all of them, I believe the answer is no. Denotation is a not a sufficient prerequisite for knowledge. Going through Denotation: In linguistics and semiotics, knowing the denotation/sense of a word is knowing only a narrow subset of its meaning: you […]

What made up Greek term could be used for this pretend medical speciality; “The study and exploration of careers for doctors.”?

By: | Post date: September 14, 2016 | Comments: No Comments
Posted in categories: Language

I’m going to continue with James Cottam’s coinage, done in comments to James Cottam’s answer to Does this made up Latin/Greek word, Vitaemedology, make sense for the following phrase “The study of careers for doctors.” iatrurgology ἰατρουργολογία. Doctor work-ology. But let’s see what others have to say… Answered 2016-09-14 [Originally posted on]

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