I know there was this process in the last few hundred years of European history where newly forming nations, trying to take hold of themselves, would decree one language official (French, Spanish), and try to squelch all of the many other languages/dialects (Occitan, Catalan) spoken within their borders. Where can I learn more? [more inside]
I was playing around with Google's Ngram viewer and noticed this interesting graph. Any idea what drove the two peaks around 1885 and 1919?
How would one write "The Fast Ones" in Ottoman-era Turkish? I'm making a mildly humorous sign for a Turkish friend, and for various reasons I'm pretending it's Ottoman-era (1650). [more inside]
Charles Babbage was a prominent member of the Analytical Society, and was at the very least intimately familiar with Leibniz's formulation of calculus. But did he ever read Leibniz's writings on logic? Did the Ars Combinatoria, or any of his writings on the "universal characteristic" or "calculus ratiocinator" influence Babbage's thinking about computation?
I was at lunch today and asked my friends "Why don't American's have British accents in their speach?" They were dumbfounded and began to wonder themselves so I turn to Ask MetaFilter to find the answer.
I found some stone tablets written in a strange alphabet amongst a bunch of graves from different eras at the city museum of Tire, Turkey. The guy working the desk at the museum didn't know what they were. Pictures in extended. [more inside]
This envelope with a letter inside was found inside a large decaying bound edition of Shakespeare auf Deutsch in a junk shop in Bushwick that was only apparently open for a few months before disappearing. The letter, postmarked 15 March, 1939 - was sent to Paris by a Mr. Henri Wolf. The contents of the letter appear to be German shorthand. Included was small piece of what looks like code, there's nothing else on the back.The letter, envelope, postcard, etc in question are at this imgur album. Hivemind: What the hell is this?
How do other languages (non-English) express the scientific term 'race?' vs the colloquial? In taxonomic terms, the word "race" is 90% used as a misnomer in US discourse. This is rooted in "Social Darwinism," or contemporary racist applications of seminal evolution concepts. This colors verbiage across the sciences, especially the social sciences. To wit, the term 'racism' is in fact based on a dehumanizing paradigm. So, um, how does this shake out elsewhere? [more inside]
Why the two-syllable pronunciation of "nine" for the telephone? [more inside]
To what extent do cultural values affect foreign policy making between U.S. and China? [more inside]
Do immigrants need a higher level of proficiency in English to get along in the world today than our ancestors did when they immigrated? [more inside]
If I had never seen the internet before, where would you direct me in 2011? What are the best news, film, music, art, fashion, history, technology, gossip, sports websites and blogs out there? [more inside]
What could have happened in 1663 specifically to change the meaning of "decimate?" [more inside]
Where did the "America is a republic, not a democracy" argument come from, and how much truth is there to it? [more inside]
What are some English words and terms that have changed meaning significantly in the last century or so? [more inside]
I just bought a postcard written in what looks like Armenian sent from what is now Lviv to what is now Chernivtsi (in what is now Ukraine), sometime between 1905 and (I'm guessing from the stamp) the end of the First World War/Austrian rule of Galicia. What does it say? [more inside]
Have Americans evolved their speaking style/accent significantly in the past 50 years? I'm not talking about de-regionalizing of an accent. I'm talking about normal conversations, let's say with a midwestern, suburban accent. [more inside]
Sacrifice, speech, writing and art: I am interested in the different ways in which a sacrifice, a sacrament, a spoken word and a written word act as signifiers. The notion for instance that the sacrament, at the point of its acceptance, is understood as becoming the signified. What can you tell me / what has been written about the notions of sacrifice and their relationship to speech, art and the technologies of writing? [more inside]
What cities have incorporated other cities by means of a bridge? [more inside]
Is there a Medieval Linguist in the house? I need a very short conversation between Cistercian nuns in Saxony translated into Medieval Latin. Any help so I don't sound like a complete idiot warmly welcomed. [more inside]
I am looking for writings on mimesis in regards new, digital, hypertext and hypermedial technologies and cultures. [more inside]
What is the origin of the phrase "[you] damn kids get off my lawn!" [more inside]
What are the reasons for and against constitutionally requiring a specific national language? [more inside]
I am looking for writings on the infinity of definition. [more inside]
How is the meaning of art and artefacts being altered by the methods we use to: Experience, Define and Preserve them... In other words, in what ways have technologies been used to experience, re-define and/or preserve art and artifacts? [more inside]
I am searching for examples of The Infinite, or the immeasurably large, in our mythologies and archetypes. I am also interested in the categories of Truth which came out of the emergence of Western, ontological thought. Does the trust in a rationally conceivable reality deny us the infinity of the mythological realm? By rooting ourselves in the present, and denying atemporal mythologies, do we also deny the infinite origins from where we came? [more inside]
I want to learn more about the origins of the English language and about the roots of English words. [more inside]
Linguists: What's the history of 'standard forms' of languages? [more inside]
Why do the letters of the alphabet occur in the particular order that they do? [more inside]
What is the History of English Language Capitalization? [more inside]
What is the origin of the term "Hip Hop"?
I'm looking for books on the history of the Romance Languages. [more inside]
In the spring there was a lot of discussion about the Oxyrhynchus papyri, but since then the news has totally died down. Has anything new been deciphered yet? [more inside]
The abbreviation R.I.P. stands for the Latin "Reqiescat in Pace." I'm trying to get past the insensitivity of not bothering to spell out the epitaph on someone's tombstone and instead concentrate on understanding why and how this convention originated. [more inside]
Where did the term "asshat" originate, and what's it's definition?