267 posts tagged with linguistics.
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Can the adjective "agape" be used only to modify "mouth" or can it be used to modify other things? Like ... "The jewelry box was now agape." That's maybe not the best example as perhaps you could think of a jewelry box as having a mouth. I'm aware that it's almost unheard of in common usage for anything but a mouth to be agape, but would it be incorrect to use this adjective on something else?
posted by january on Oct 1, 2012 - 21 answers

Help me get this linguistics joke?

Linguistics! Can you guys explain the joke in this image, which represents how different languages get from point A to point B? [more inside]
posted by Pwoink on Sep 30, 2012 - 13 answers

Which dictionaries are prescriptivist/descriptivist?

Is there some super-secret linguistics resource that sorts dictionaries by prescriptivism/descriptivism? Either in a binary chart or along a spectrum? Which dictionaries are known to fit these categories, and which are known to straddle them?
posted by aswego on Aug 23, 2012 - 11 answers

Research/studies on language recognition

Is there a word or term for not being able to understand a word of a language, but still being able to correctly recognize it if you hear it? For example, if I hear someone speaking German, Italian, Portuguese, French, Russian, Chinese, Japanese, or Mongolian, I can probably correctly identify that they’re speaking said language they’re speaking EVEN THOUGH I can’t understand a thing they’re saying. Has this been studied before? [more inside]
posted by huxham on Jul 19, 2012 - 12 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

one 二 three 四 five 六 seven 八 nine 十...

Why is it so hard to quickly count from 1 to 100 alternating between 2 different languages on each digit? Any cognitive scientists want to explain this? [more inside]
posted by querty on Jun 25, 2012 - 13 answers

The NLP Wall

What are some good references (papers or books) that address the difficulty of computers to understand natural language? [more inside]
posted by iconjack on Jun 12, 2012 - 5 answers

Crying over spilt milk, or is it spilled?

Do we cry over spilt milk or spilled milk? My spell checker says the latter but I remember the former. [more inside]
posted by patheral on May 9, 2012 - 31 answers

I don't wanna go!

Are they going to kick me out of grad school(linguistics phd)? [more inside]
posted by lettuchi on May 2, 2012 - 17 answers

Is is this thing on?

Why do people say "is is" when they mean "is?" [more inside]
posted by Infinity_8 on May 1, 2012 - 72 answers

How to teach myself Latin?

I want to teach myself Latin. Where should I start? What are some good resources? Is it feasible? [more inside]
posted by moons in june on Apr 29, 2012 - 15 answers

Having gone to school in California, I assume we just liked saying "weed" as often as possible.

Past and current university students: Did you ever use the specific term "weeder class" during your academic career? If so, where did you study? [more inside]
posted by C^3 on Apr 25, 2012 - 65 answers

Recommended Books on why langauges are so different.

What are some recommended books for the general reader on why languages are so different. How come languages such as Thai, Mandarin, Hebrew or the Indo-European langauges have such hugely different alphabets, let alone such vast differences in pronunciation? Given that human societies share many common characteristics, how come we ended up speaking so differently from each other. As I say, I'd prefer books aimed at the general reader, rather than, say, linguistics specialists.
posted by vac2003 on Apr 22, 2012 - 8 answers

Why do we write 1st but not 2:00pm?

Why do we write 1st but not 2:00pm? [more inside]
posted by denriguez on Apr 14, 2012 - 19 answers

Crossing the linguistics/activism divide in Noam Chomsky

I remember reading an interview in which Noam Chomsky made connections between his work in linguistics and his later political activism. Can anyone locate that interview, or perhaps another good essay that connects those two components of his career?
posted by mecran01 on Mar 29, 2012 - 4 answers

Expressive words?

Linguistic question: is there such a thing as "expressive" words? [more inside]
posted by rainy on Mar 10, 2012 - 20 answers


Is it possible to learn college-level phonetics and phonology on one's own? Bonus: online? [more inside]
posted by jweed on Mar 8, 2012 - 7 answers

Quiero apprendar!

What is the best comprehensive Spanish grammar text in a single volume? What other books are indispensable for self-teaching Spanish? [more inside]
posted by edguardo on Feb 26, 2012 - 7 answers

Write the number dow-uhn

Why the two-syllable pronunciation of "nine" for the telephone? [more inside]
posted by activitystory on Feb 24, 2012 - 12 answers

What are common pronunciation mistakes English speakers make in other languages?

I just found a list of common pronunciation mistakes English learners make depending on their first language background. What are typical pronunciation mistakes English speakers make when learning other languages? [more inside]
posted by soma lkzx on Feb 22, 2012 - 44 answers

The death and life of languages

Help me sort out the best way to approach language preservation, as an academic interest and as a guideline for volunteer work. [more inside]
posted by mammary16 on Feb 21, 2012 - 16 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

Seeking language-rich Spanish-language videos

Please recommend some entertaining Spanish-language YouTube videos for listening practice. I'm looking for a variety of Spanish accents, and people that are entertaining to listen to. [more inside]
posted by free hugs on Dec 16, 2011 - 5 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

Spell "Apple" Phonetically without IPA

Sounding out English on the Internet: /æ/ [more inside]
posted by rubah on Nov 29, 2011 - 15 answers

words are metaphors anyway, what's the big deal?

I got hit with some pretty hard core cognitive dissonance last night. I'm looking for help arriving at mental homeostasis again. So it turns out that "derp" is ableist (although some say it's not). I am totally against all "isms" and so I don't enjoy feeling like I contribute. But that's not all... [more inside]
posted by rebent on Nov 1, 2011 - 33 answers

Are Korean and Hebrew languages related?

In Korean, the words for 'mom' and 'dad', respectively, are umma and appa. In Hebrew (maybe other Semitic languages, too), they are ima and abba. Is there a link between Korean (maybe other east Asian languages?) and the Semitic languages?
posted by KingoftheWhales on Sep 22, 2011 - 19 answers

How do I categorize sentence structures?

I'm looking for academic linguistic papers and/or books on classification of sentence structures. (Should I turn on the languagehat signal?) [more inside]
posted by Mr. Bad Example on Sep 13, 2011 - 9 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

How fast can you say the same thing?

Is there any data out there relating to the relative speeds that different spoken languages can express human thought? [more inside]
posted by merocet on Jul 20, 2011 - 18 answers

Harnessing without jargon?

A textbook that I once read contained a passage from some famous author (possibly Mark Twain?) that attempted to illustrate the usefulness of jargon by describing how to saddle a horse, or hitch a horse to a wagon (something like that) without using any specialized terminology. It was marvelously long-winded and impossible to follow. Textbook long since discarded, Google-Fu fails; any idea what this might have been?
posted by lordcorvid on Jul 2, 2011 - 3 answers

Lost link to small linguistic database of words from various languages.

Lost a bookmark to an online database of "common" vocabulary from many different languages, maintained by linguists. These were not Swadesh or extended Swadesh lists, but were a similar--the vocabulary was apparently designed to describe common experiences, like body/kinship terms, natural landscape terms, etc. It was definitely a work in progress. I think it had a blue and white design, a globe logo and an acronym in the name. Ring any bells, Metafilter linguists?
posted by Kutsuwamushi on Jul 1, 2011 - 4 answers

Mystery Pen Inscription

What is this language or cipher found on a pen, and what does it say? [more inside]
posted by Gordafarin on Jun 27, 2011 - 4 answers


Is there a linguistics term for glued-together Twitter hashtags, such as #vacationwishlist, #isawesome, and #wordsthatdescribeme? Also, is there a good way of splitting these into individual words? [more inside]
posted by jasonhong on Jun 20, 2011 - 9 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

Who coined the term "Red, white and blue"?

I'd like to know who or whom first coined the term "red, white and blue" and if there was a purposeful differentiation from "blue, red and white" or any other combination thereof other than linguistic value. [more inside]
posted by jsavimbi on May 25, 2011 - 17 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

The cat ate the keat

What term describes this property of human language? [more inside]
posted by molybdenum on Apr 18, 2011 - 17 answers

Wine Dark... Hair?

Wine Dark... Hair? Have there been significant studies of the gradient between black and red hair in literary, visual arts, etc? You see a lot of attention paid to the gradient between blonde and red. Does anyone know anything about this? [more inside]
posted by MidSouthern Mouth on Apr 9, 2011 - 13 answers

Word Frequency Counts

Can I compute how frequently a word occurs in general English text? I have a list of about 2000 words, and I want to sort it with the most common words first. [more inside]
posted by Chicken Boolean on Mar 28, 2011 - 27 answers

Watson! Komdu hingað! Ég þarf þig!

Balto-Slavic, Germanic, Italic: help me select which Indo-European language(s) I should learn next! [more inside]
posted by vkxmai on Feb 28, 2011 - 19 answers

Do linguistics grad students have time to breathe?

Lifestyle of a Linguistics Graduate Student? I am starting a Ph.D. Program next fall, and I want to have an idea of how much time I will be spending on campus, working, studying, etc. Will I have time to sleep? Will I be burnt out and hating myself after one semester? What about money? [more inside]
posted by lettuchi on Feb 23, 2011 - 15 answers

Do you use the same adjectives (high/low) for space and pitch in languages other than English?

LanguageFilter: A friend of mine was asking her various polyglot friends this question, and I thought I could help her get a wider scope: "In English, we describe high pitch and low pitch sounds with the same terms we use for things that are high and low in space ("high" and "low" could describe space or pitch). Is this also a convention in your language(s)?"
posted by tumbleweedjack on Feb 19, 2011 - 24 answers

"Amazingly odd and oddly amazing" - is there a name for this kind of phrase?

What are these phrases called? Examples: "amazingly odd and oddly amazing"; "terribly basic and basically terrible"; "embarrassingly hot and hotly embarrassing". I could swear I came across a name for this type of word pairing once before (quite possibly on this very site, in which case sorry), but my searches to find it again have been hopelessly awful and awfully hopeless. [more inside]
posted by d11 on Feb 12, 2011 - 16 answers

Please help me solve a maddening problem with Doulos and IPA

Desperate IPA situation! I've opened up an old Word doc that was created using SIL Doulos or SIL IPA93 fonts. These are now defunct. I currently use Doulos SIL and Charis (both unicode, hooray!). The document is substituting certain alphabet characters for much needed IPA symbols. I need to know what those masquerading alphabet characters used to be in IPA. [more inside]
posted by iamkimiam on Jan 30, 2011 - 10 answers

How does Lionel Logue sound Aussie in The King's Speech?

What features mark Geoffrey Rush's character in The King's Speech as being Australian? [more inside]
posted by Gordafarin on Jan 29, 2011 - 31 answers

Cognitive Linguistics Reading List

Can you help me create an Independent Reading list on cognitive linguistics? [more inside]
posted by shesdeadimalive on Jan 28, 2011 - 6 answers

The spelling of Popeye's laugh

How do you spell Popeye's laugh? [more inside]
posted by flashboy on Jan 18, 2011 - 19 answers

Suggestions of non-English online communities which are Metafilter-esque?

I'm doing an online community + linguistics project. What sites in non-English languages are like Metafilter? [more inside]
posted by honest knave on Jan 5, 2011 - 3 answers

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