September 17th, 2007

  • ignacio

Looking for a word

Throughout history, in latin alphabet languages, when they were being written, sometimes the writing was continuous (no word separation), sometimes spaces were left between words and sometimes a character was used to separate them, for example, in the case of latin, a middle-height dot. What's the word for that dot and for other symbols or flourishes used for the same purpose?

Egregious 'smart' quotes and English pronouns

OK, I know the community name says "linguaphiles" and not "apostrophilia", and I know that this is more typesetting than actually linguistic, but doesn't it annoy you when you want to put a leading apostrophe on a word (to indicate apheresis, or to show alif rather than ghain, or something), and the default settings of the computer you're working at automatically turn it into an opening single inverted comma? But of course, knowing what you mean and want to write, you go back and correct it, don't you? Right.

Not the publishers and distributors of posters for the film Shoot 'Em Up here in the UK, though.

Incidentally, I remember it being suggested once, in a History of the (English) Language class, that the form 'em might be dropping the 'h' from Old English him, heom, etc. ("them") rather than Old Norse þeim -- does anyone know if there is any evidence of third person plural pronouns with initial 'h' surviving beyond the Middle English period? And -- less probably and more speculatively -- I was wondering if dialect usage of [ən] for 'him' might go back to the Old English accusative hine rather than the dative him. Any thoughts?
  • Current Mood
    blah blah
Chidori - interested

Accents from Greece and Lebanon

I am getting ready to do some tutoring for ESL, the goal being to make my students more easily understood when speaking American English. Most of my students will be professionals from India, and I have some materials to help me prepare for the various Indian accents already.

My problem is that two of my students will be from elsewhere, namely Greece and Lebanon. From what I understand, both students have a fair grasp of English, they're just difficult to understand. The student from Lebanon spent a number of years speaking Canadian French, and while it doesn't come up much in his accent, I believe it affects his grammar a bit. The Greek student has yet to be evaluated.

The question here is: What are some characteristics of Greek and Lebanese accents when speaking English? Is there another, more common language that either one resembles that might give me some idea of what to listen for?

Unfortunately I know relatively little about either language, and I've never been exposed to native speaker from either country. Most of my experience is with Japanese, and the materials I have don't mention these countries.

Thanks for any help.. the ability to identify issues ahead of time would make these sessions go much more smoothly.

how do you say/where you live

hey kids.

so i was reading this murder mystery (old habits die hard) and one of the characters, a forensic linguist (linguistic anthropologist?) said he was able to track a kidnapper to akron, ohio because he mentioned a "devil strip" in his ransom note.  apparently "devil strip" is local akron lingo for that area of grass between the sidewalk and the street.  he also goes on to say that some places have very specific names for that patch of grass, but most have no name at all.

i'm from cleveland, ohio, and i swear we called it a "treelawn."  am i remembering wrong here?

(i've also lived in florida, where for the most part there just aren't any sidewalks!  or basements!  it was a strange and mysterious world to me.)