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?
Linguistics! Can you guys explain the joke in this image, which represents how different languages get from point A to point B? [more inside]
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?
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]
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]
Linguistics-filter: What sort of English accent makes "brown," "sun," and "shone" all be pronounced with a similar vowel sound? [more inside]
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]
What are some good references (papers or books) that address the difficulty of computers to understand natural language? [more inside]
Do we cry over spilt milk or spilled milk? My spell checker says the latter but I remember the former. [more inside]
Are they going to kick me out of grad school(linguistics phd)? [more inside]
Why do people say "is is" when they mean "is?" [more inside]
I want to teach myself Latin. Where should I start? What are some good resources? Is it feasible? [more inside]
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]
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.
Why do we write 1st but not 2:00pm? [more inside]
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?
Linguistic question: is there such a thing as "expressive" words? [more inside]
Is it possible to learn college-level phonetics and phonology on one's own? Bonus: online? [more inside]
What is the best comprehensive Spanish grammar text in a single volume? What other books are indispensable for self-teaching Spanish? [more inside]
Why the two-syllable pronunciation of "nine" for the telephone? [more inside]
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]
Help me sort out the best way to approach language preservation, as an academic interest and as a guideline for volunteer work. [more inside]
What do you call your brother-in-law's mom? [more inside]
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]
Question for the language types: which is correct, ukuleleist, or ukulelist? [more inside]
Sounding out English on the Internet: /æ/ [more inside]
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]
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?
I'm looking for academic linguistic papers and/or books on classification of sentence structures. (Should I turn on the languagehat signal?) [more inside]
"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.
Is there any data out there relating to the relative speeds that different spoken languages can express human thought? [more inside]
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?
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?
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]
Calling etymologists, linguists, lexicographers, and research librarians! Was there a time when 'television,' 'radio,' or 'newspaper' were always capitalized? [more inside]
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]
Taxonomy (or just a list) of English grammatical constructs suitable for use as a checklist for a second language learner? [more inside]
What term describes this property of human language? [more inside]
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]
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]
Balto-Slavic, Germanic, Italic: help me select which Indo-European language(s) I should learn next! [more inside]
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]
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)?"
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]
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]
What features mark Geoffrey Rush's character in The King's Speech as being Australian? [more inside]
Can you help me create an Independent Reading list on cognitive linguistics? [more inside]
How do you spell Popeye's laugh? [more inside]
I'm doing an online community + linguistics project. What sites in non-English languages are like Metafilter? [more inside]