Tag: linguist

October

Wednesday, 4 October, 2017 0 Comments

Jakub Marian is a 28-year-old Czech linguist, mathematician and artist. He’s famous for his maps, which cover subjects such as the male to female sex ratio by country in Europe and special characters (diacritics) used in European languages. In January, he began mapping the names of the months and, aptly, he’s now arrived at October.

Each month’s map is accompanied by detailed etymological notes. For example: Irish Deireadh Fómhair can be translated as “end of autumn” or “end of harvest”. Welsh Hydref literally means “autumn”, and Breton Here and Cornish Hedra are derived from the same root. Scottish Gaelic dàmhair means “rut” (rutting period of animals).

Those who complain constantly that the internet is awash in dross should look at the work of Jakub Marian. It’s an antidote to ignorance and a reason for optimism.

October


So, let’s action that

Thursday, 31 March, 2016 1 Comment

The American linguist Arika Okrent wrote a book once and gave it a mouthful of a name: In the Land of Invented Languages: Esperanto Rock Stars, Klingon Poets, Loglan Lovers, and the Mad Dreamers Who Tried to Build A Perfect Language. On her YouTube channel, the videos have crisper titles: French Phrases Hidden in English Words, The Evolution of Dude and Why is English Spelling so Weird? Her latest offering tackles the dreaded management-speak and packs a lot of erudition into 3 minutes and 32 seconds.

A follow-up, we hope, will examine such current awfulness as “synergy”, “going forward”, “deliverables”, “empower”, “leverage” and, worst of all, the hideous habit of starting a sentence with the word “so.”


Fingered speech

Tuesday, 5 March, 2013 0 Comments

One of the specialties of radical thinker and linguist John McWhorter is how the grammar of languages changes as the result of socio-historical phenomena, such as the pervasive use of mobile phones. Texting is a kind of writing like talking, says McWhorter, who calls it “fingered speech”.