Like everything else, studying languages has its quirks. When you spend a lot of time unraveling the workings of language, you can’t help but develop some unique characteristics that set you apart from the rest of the herd. We mention below some signs that are typical of language majors and we hope you like them. Kindly add any other signs we left out. Have a good read ?Continue reading “17 Signs You’re A Linguistics Major.”
Language is something we breathe in and out every moment of our lives. It is everywhere, everyone is exceptionally good at it. Yet, no one knows how it got into our heads. The number of sentences you can form with any given language is virtually infinite. It makes zero sense to say that we learn language by memorizing individual sentences. But, what if we wanted to memorize every sentence in a given language? How long would that take?Continue reading “Here is how much time it would take to memorize every sentence in a language.”
There is an interesting pattern that the word ‘tea’ shows across the globe. With very minor exceptions, the world has only two words for tea. One is like the English tea (e.g. thé in French, té in Spanish, and tee in Afrikaans). The other one is some variations of cha found in Arabic chay and Hindi cha for example. In what follows, we are going to explain the reason behind this duality.Continue reading “Tea if by sea, Cha if by land: Why the world has only two words for tea.”
| əz ju ər ˈriːdɪŋ ðɪs | ju ər parˈtɪsəˌpetɪŋ ɪn wʌn əv ˈneɪtʃərz ˈɡreɪtəst ˈwʌndərz | ˈlæŋɡwɪdʒ | ˈlæŋɡwɪdʒ ɪz ə ˈmɪrəkl̩ |ˈɪt ɪz ˈbaɪ ˈfɑːr ðə moʊst ˈpaʊərfəl ˈtuːl ðæt hjuː ˈmænəti hæz | ˈæftər ɔːl wɒt ˌdɪˈstɪŋɡwɪʃəz əz frəm ˈænəml̩z ɪz ðɪs ˈswi:t ˈlɪtl̩ ˈθɪŋ wi kɔ:l ˈlæŋɡwɪdʒ | ˈbaɪ dʒəst məˈnɪpjəˌletɪŋ ði ˈeər ðæt ˈkʌmz ˈoʊt əv ˈaʊər ˈmaʊðz wi kən ˈstɑːrt ə riˈleɪʃən ˌʃɪp | ə ˈmerɪdʒ | ɔːr ˌi:vn ə ˈwɔːr | ðə ˈθɪŋz wi kən du: wɪθ ˈlæŋɡwɪdʒ ənd ðer̩ ˈɡrævəti ər trəˈmendəs | ðə kəˈmjuːnəkətɪv pəˈtenʃl̩ əv ðə ˈhjuːmən ˈlæŋɡwɪdʒ ɪz ˌoʊpən ˈendɪd ənd ˈbreθ ˈteɪkɪŋ | wi kən ˈtɔːk əˌbaʊt ˈlɪtərəli ˈeniˌθɪŋ | ˌi:vn əˌbaʊt ˌhaɪpəˈθetəkl̩ ˈθɪŋz ðæt hæv noʊ egˈzɪstəns ˈaʊtˈsaɪd ˈaʊər ˈhedz | laɪk ˈmæθ | fəˈlɑːsəfi | ɔːr ˈjuːnɪkɔːrnz | ˈɪts laɪk wɒt ˈpɪŋkər ˈwɪtɪŋli ˈsed | “ wi kən ˈʃeɪp ɪˈvents ɪn ˈiːtʃ ˈʌðr̩z ˈhedz wɪθ ɪkˈskwɪzɪt priˈsɪʒn̩ ” |Continue reading “ɪf ju kæn rid ðɪs ˈɑrtəkəl, jʊr ə ˈʤinjəs.”
“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.” —Through the Looking Glass. Mr. Dumpty led down the most linguistic explanation of how words get their meanings. We, the people, assign what combinations of sounds we want to the meanings we want. With the words below, things are a little different. Although these words sound so cool and laughably logical, unfortunately, they don’t exist. Don’t forget to share with us your favorite. Have a good read 🙂Continue reading “Made-up Words That Sound So Cool They Should Actually Exist.”
Languages have different phonetic inventories. Some languages use more sounds than others. A perceptually distinct sound unit is technically called a phoneme. Two sounds are different if they are perceived to constitute two distinct phonemes by native speakers. The following list ranks the most common languages by the number of sounds they use. It is important to note that this ranking disregards diphthongs for the simple reason that they are merely a combination of vowels that already exist in a language.Continue reading “These Are The Languages That Have The Most Sounds.”
Not everything you know about language is true. When you study languages objectively you start to realize that you’ve been wrong about almost everything you believed about them. Here is a list of some of the most common misconceptions about language that people have to reconsider:Continue reading “12 Things Almost Everyone Gets Wrong About Language.”
There are approximately 7000 languages spoken in the world today, the majority of which are spoken by very tiny populations. About 60% of the world’s population, approximately 4 billion people, speak one of the few languages listed below. In fact, only 40 languages are spoken by more than 30 million native speakers. These languages are listed below in order of native speakers. Note that only native speakers are counted and that dialectal differences are overlooked.Continue reading “The languages with more than 30 million native speakers.”
Words really don’t have any logic to them. You can’t just work out the meaning of words based on the sounds that make them up. That’s because words are arbitrary. So if you don’t speak Chinese, you can’t possibly figure out the words for, say, “breakfast” or “fridge”. Different people agree to give different combinations of sounds different meanings. Considering that people are scattered around the globe and speak different mutually unintelligible languages, it is unlikely that they would all have the same words for the same thing. However, there are some select words that sound pretty much the same across so many languages. They flit across language barriers either through trade, the internet or because people just like the sound of them. Here are some of them:Continue reading “5 Words That Sound The Same In Almost Every Language.”
Every language has a list of rarely used words that very few people know. They are not commonly known because they are rarely needed. Why bother learning something that you will not use..right? But for us, language nerds, that’s what gives meaning to our lives. Tracking down words and what they mean satisfies a curiosity that sits deep within us, whatever they mean. I wrote this article to satisfy that curiosity. So I brought to you 30 words that exist in English that you and other people probably don’t know. Don’t forget to share your favorite.
Someone having little to no money.
Your tiny toe or finger.
Finding something good without looking for it.
The triangular pink areas at the corner of your eyes.
A person who never laughs.
One who loves or one who is loved.
Having large, round, succulent buttocks.
The state of being infatuated with someone.
Dressed in black.
steal someone’s iPhone.
Something that lives on rocks.
The feeling familiar is being encountered for the first time.
The state of finding it extremely difficult to get out of bed in the morning.
The dot over an “i” or a “j”.
The irresistible urge to pinch or squeeze something cute.
Nonsense or balderdash.
Someone who is full of false kind of courage that masks a hidden fear.