March 9th, 2009


(no subject)

Hi guys. I need to write an essay for my linguistic class and the content is as below: 

Write an essay stating what you know about any language family in the world. This could be a major family, such as Indo-European, Austronesia or Austro-Asiatic, or it could be a subfamily, such as Romance, Sinitic or Germanic. Your essay should contain the following information:

a.) The names of the major languages and/or subfamilies which constitute the family;
b.) An account of subgrouping in the family, and alternate hypotheses, if there are any;
c.) A typological classification of the language concerned;
d.) A description of the important phonological and syntactic features found in the proto language.

The languages I would like to do already have a lot of people working on. Since the mark of this assignment is rather high, I'd like to come out with a rare language that not many people would do. Can you guys give some suggestions on a language that's relatively easy to write based on the information above even though I've no basic knowledge about it? I know this is somehow stupid to choose a language you don't know to write about the typology and phonology and so on, but i thought linguistics is different from language. I stand for corrected, though.

Any thoughts on this would be greatly appreciated. Thanks a bunch in advance!

ETA: I forgot to mention what languages have been chosen. Thanks for mentioning it. The languages which were already chosen are English, French, German, Russian, Mandarin, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese..hmm, i think currently is all these. I'm wondering if Dutch is difficult to understand.

Betsy Walton (pink)
  • cocun

(no subject)

Silly little question concerning the use of the words "perfume" and "cologne" in English as opposed to German: Are these words used in a gender-specific way? Perfume when talking about a woman, cologne when talking about a man? It does seem wrong to me to say a man uses "perfume" (other than in German, where it's perfectly okay), but is that just me or is there actually a rule behind this? Or is there no rule, but it's commonly agreed that men wear cologne and not perfume in English?

I remember from English class in school that one of my teachers said "cologne" is "Kölnischwasser" and means that specific brand of perfume from Cologne. But maybe it's actually a generic term?

Any help would be great. Thank you.

'alternate' forms of communication.

Although when I was a kid there was still a lack of consensus that ASL was a language in its own right, as opposed to signed English, my impression is that's pretty well resolved, now. ASL has its own syntax, its own vocabulary, and so forth. Even though there are other sign languages in other countries, that doesn't make ASL English.


Now. What about braille? My impression, from looking it up many, many years ago, was that Braille is effectively an English-language shorthand.

Does anyone know more or differently?
angelus pesky soul

(no subject)

I knew this was going to hit me in the head sooner or later: one of my roadblocks in trying to pronounce Welsh by listening to audio examples (I do not have access to a face-to-face Welsh-speaking community and understand that my pronunciation is going to be poor, it's just a matter of degree) is the rolled r. The r (not rh) sounds like an alveolar trill? Sadly, it's not something I've had to learn before and my ability to produce anything resembling it is sadly hit or miss. Is there some strategy for this beyond "try really hard over and over again" or exercises I might try to work up to a decent trill? Thank you!

x-posted to dysgu_cymraeg

How to distinguish a word

I'm currently writing a paper for my morphology class on how to separate words. We've been given a compound example and we are to argue why the compound is indeed one word and not two, and I'm slightly stuck.

The paper is in Norwegian, and we've been given the word "svarttrost" which loosely translates into "blackbird". So far I've argued that because "black" is not inflected (in Norwegian, adjectives are inflected for indefinite/definite, masculine/neuter and singular/plural), it is indeed one word. If it was two, "black" would be inflected to match the instance of "bird".

Other than that, I'm not quite sure what other reasons I can give. Any thoughts on the matter would be greatly appreciated :)
rama ho!

How do you teach someone to aspirate?

So I've been trying to teach my wife some Gujarati so that she can communicate with my family better, and I'm running into a wall when it comes to teaching her how to aspirate, and differentiate between aspirated and unaspirated sounds. Do you guys have any advice on how to approach this?

Albanian translation

Hello all, there's a guy who's been commenting on pictures of me (yeah, Facebook...) and I'd like to know what he's saying. I suspect he's making fun of me and my friend... Here's what he wrote:

"e pastaj protestojn ce si marin ne pune!jopo le te flejn rugve"


"hahahahahahah,sa te lumutra shum seksi kjo shoqka"

Can anybody help me?
Thanks in advance.
  • joho07


Where do you put a footnote? After or before the period? Or are there different meanings to each version? What if you only want to reference a part of your sentence, can you put a footnot in the middle of a sentence? What about when using parenthesis?

Is this all different when putting footnotes in a German paper?

  • unayko

Russian Pronunciation - ы and Л

 Dear Linguaphiles,
I'm learning russian but I've encountered some problems with the pronunciation of two letters. 
"ы" (as in "быть") and "Л" (for ex. "Лить").
I'm a spanish and german native speaker and i just can't get them right.
Any suggestions on how to improve it? For example where they are articulated, or other exercises or ways to avoid or "fake" the sounds.

(The Л is not THAT problematic, but not being able to make a difference between ы and и sure is).