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25 posts tagged with english and linguistics. (View popular tags)
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How did we get from "tax haven" to "tax heaven" to "tax hell"?

Has anyone come across good sources on the history and evolution of the term "tax haven"? I am looking for sources detailing at least its first appearance in written or spoken English, and if possible the date in which it was (wrongly) translated into French as "tax heaven" (paradis fiscal). [more inside]
posted by ipsative on Jun 23, 2013 - 6 answers

List of simple word roots

I am looking for a text file of a list of words (roughly the 5000-10000 most common English words) and their root word and root word language. My Google Fu only turns up single words or pages that I can type in a word to get to another page to get the etymology. Wikipedia has some stuff, but it is sorted by language root, which is not what I am looking for. I would like to have a long list of words in a text file so that I can manipulate it programatically. Comma separated or whatever, any format would be great. Here is one use case: Yoke - [list of words that have yoke in the etymological history] (Many, many many English words come from the root work for Yoke.) All answers appreciated!
posted by Monkey0nCrack on May 16, 2013 - 6 answers

Learning a neutral accent and DIY speech therapy

I teach for a living but have a lot of linguistic baggage that I'd like to get rid of. Specifically, I have some weird pronunciation/accent issues and would like to speak "General American" or newscaster English. Is this something I can do on my own? What resources should I use? [more inside]
posted by mecran01 on Feb 27, 2013 - 7 answers

Would Chalky White really have sounded like that?

Does anyone have any resources to find historical forms of Ebonics? [more inside]
posted by patricking on Dec 15, 2012 - 11 answers

how to describe the "hw" sound

How could I describe in a non-technical way how certain English-speakers maintain a distinction between the "w" and "wh" sound? A certain amount of technical description could help. Its for a character in a story. For example: "The beginning of his 'what' still comes from deep within his throat." I don't know if that's technically true and it sounds awesomely terrible but something like that. [more inside]
posted by pynchonesque on Jul 13, 2012 - 19 answers

Pronounce "The One Sun Shone Down on the Brown Ground," Please

Linguistics-filter: What sort of English accent makes "brown," "sun," and "shone" all be pronounced with a similar vowel sound? [more inside]
posted by erst on Jul 13, 2012 - 17 answers

Aunt In-Law Once Removed?

What do you call your brother-in-law's mom? [more inside]
posted by janelikes on Jan 10, 2012 - 36 answers

You say ukuleleist; I say ukulelist.

Question for the language types: which is correct, ukuleleist, or ukulelist? [more inside]
posted by chez shoes on Dec 8, 2011 - 19 answers

"Hand over your adjectives and no one gets hurt!"

"American English is like a mugger in a back alley who, instead of taking your wallet, takes your pocket dictionary". I read a quote in this vein a while ago and I'm trying to identify the actual quote and the source.
posted by chara on Sep 12, 2011 - 4 answers

The capital I.

Calling etymologists, linguists, lexicographers, and research librarians! Was there a time when 'television,' 'radio,' or 'newspaper' were always capitalized? [more inside]
posted by thebestsophist on Jun 20, 2011 - 12 answers

Taxonomy or list of English grammatical constructs?

Taxonomy (or just a list) of English grammatical constructs suitable for use as a checklist for a second language learner? [more inside]
posted by amtho on Apr 26, 2011 - 11 answers

What are the rules governing English word-substitution into South Asian news broadcasts?

What are the rules governing English word-substitution into South Asian news broadcasts (ex: this S. Tendulkar interview)? Why is it done, when is it done, and what does it connote? [more inside]
posted by jjjjjjjijjjjjjj on Dec 13, 2010 - 7 answers

English words and terms that have changed meaning?

What are some English words and terms that have changed meaning significantly in the last century or so? [more inside]
posted by Dandeson Coates, Sec'y on Sep 8, 2010 - 69 answers

You cawl thayt a noyf?

Is there a resource that demonstrates how to do foreign accents by re-spelling words in such a way that when read aloud by an American, will closely resemble the accent? For example, in "Australian", Down = Dan. [more inside]
posted by TimeTravelSpeed on Apr 2, 2010 - 15 answers

Math? Maths? Mathesises? Mathelesalizes? Mathematisessizes?

When did "Maths" change to "Math" in American English? Or is it the other way around? [more inside]
posted by fishmasta on Jul 11, 2009 - 39 answers

Looking to put together a self-study for Comparative Literature.

I'd like to study about Comparative Literature, but as I've looked around at CompLit university departments it appears that there isn't really anything like an introductory course or textbook. [more inside]
posted by elfgirl on Jun 11, 2009 - 5 answers

This is an historic question.

What are some other examples of using 'an' in front of a non-vowel like some do with 'an historic...'? [more inside]
posted by afx114 on Feb 22, 2008 - 40 answers

AccentFilter: What makes a New England accent recognizable?

AccentFilter: What makes a New England accent recognizable? [more inside]
posted by gregb1007 on Sep 1, 2007 - 22 answers

Can you think of "invalid" words?

In Chinese, the meaning of a spoken word can change depending on where stress is applied. Can you think of English words which embody this characteristic? I can only think of one at the moment: invalid. [more inside]
posted by Clementines4ever on Dec 7, 2006 - 37 answers

passive voice question

He was killed; he got (himself) killed. It was sold; it got sold (possibly out from under me). What sort of semantic difference does using forms of "get" versus "be" in passive constructions convey? [more inside]
posted by kenko on Sep 8, 2006 - 12 answers

Looking for a non-Indo-European language that sounds like English.

I was wondering if there are any non-Indo-European languages which would sound like gibberish, albeit English-like gibberish, to a native English speaker. [more inside]
posted by Frankieist on Aug 10, 2006 - 32 answers

How do we know how Chaucer sounded?

There seems to be a consensus on how Chaucer and his contemporaries sounded. What I'd like is a summary (or links, or pointers to resources) of how we know how Middle English speakers sounded.
posted by everichon on Oct 10, 2005 - 7 answers

What are baby apes called?

Cats have kittens, dogs have puppies, Geese have goslings, foxes have kits, goats have kids, people have kids. What do apes have?
posted by Miles Long on Sep 1, 2004 - 17 answers

Origin of "Go Piss Up a Rope" and the H. in "Jesus H. Christ"?

Excuse me, but can anyone tell me: What exactly is the origin of the phrase Go piss up a rope? I know it's present in the American South and Midwest, but did it originate elsewhere? Does the phrase occur in other countries? And how exactly does one piss up a rope? Does it mean Go climb a rope (similar to Piss off!), or literally Go urinate up a length of braided twine? And, while we're at it, what the hell does the H stand for in Jesus H Christ? I've always wondered. [...a little more inside] [more inside]
posted by Shane on Jan 19, 2004 - 12 answers

freudian slips and appearance of conversation repetition

Ever say an uncommon word or phrase -- such as "doxology" or "round-a-bout" -- in a crowded room and hear it travel across the room to different conversations? This happens to me all the time, but I have no idea what the term for it is, or if there even is one. Any guesses? In a related question, what do you call a freudian slip that you hear instead of say? (For insteance someone says "hold my glass" and you hear "hold my ass".)
posted by woil on Dec 24, 2003 - 6 answers

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