theaatproject:


The Best Language for Math
What’s the best language for learning math? Hint: You’re not reading it.
Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Turkish use simpler number words and express math concepts more clearly than English, making it easier for small children to learn counting and arithmetic, research shows.
The language gap is drawing growing attention amid a push by psychologists and educators to build numeracy in small children—the mathematical equivalent of literacy. Confusing English word names have been linked in several recent studies to weaker counting and arithmetic skills in children. However, researchers are finding some easy ways for parents to level the playing field through games and early practice.

theaatproject:

The Best Language for Math

What’s the best language for learning math? Hint: You’re not reading it.

Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Turkish use simpler number words and express math concepts more clearly than English, making it easier for small children to learn counting and arithmetic, research shows.

The language gap is drawing growing attention amid a push by psychologists and educators to build numeracy in small children—the mathematical equivalent of literacy. Confusing English word names have been linked in several recent studies to weaker counting and arithmetic skills in children. However, researchers are finding some easy ways for parents to level the playing field through games and early practice.

(via scinerds)

allthingslinguistic:

An interesting article on adjective ordering

Also related is this Tom Scott video on adjective ordering. The generalization that adjectives seem to be ordered the same way across a wide variety of languages is the type of data used as evidence for a cartographic approach to linguistics: detailed typological surveys of how aspects of language do or do not vary in very specific ways. 

(via agentotter)

mylittleredgirl:

woodface:

mylittleredgirl

           

(via woodface)

KIND OF because I am a linguistics degree dropout and am not sure my linguistics thoughts are body-of-post worthy I mean I don’t even know what Noam Chomsky would have to say about any of this.

(Source: trekgate, via saathi1013)

depressingfinland:


Here are all possible word forms of Finnish word “Kauppa” (a shop) by Fred Karlsson.Original list: http://www.ling.helsinki.fi/~fkarlsso/genkau2.html(I know it’s hard to read but there were no possible ways to make it reasonable in size and easy to read at the same time. You can see the whole list by visiting the source page):EDIT: Of course tumblr had to shrink it. Here’s bigger picture: LINK


In case you were wondering who this Fred Karlsson person is, he’s a professor of general linguistics at the University of Helsinki (the most prestigious University in Finland), and widely considered the de facto authority on the grammatical rules of the Finnish language.

depressingfinland:

Here are all possible word forms of Finnish word “Kauppa” (a shop) by Fred Karlsson.

Original list: http://www.ling.helsinki.fi/~fkarlsso/genkau2.html

(I know it’s hard to read but there were no possible ways to make it reasonable in size and easy to read at the same time. You can see the whole list by visiting the source page)

:EDIT: Of course tumblr had to shrink it. Here’s bigger picture: LINK

In case you were wondering who this Fred Karlsson person is, he’s a professor of general linguistics at the University of Helsinki (the most prestigious University in Finland), and widely considered the de facto authority on the grammatical rules of the Finnish language.

(via hastur)

luciseaux:

germannn:

Funny and bizarre German animal names
The German language is famous for some really long nouns (Donaudampfschiffahrtsgesellschaftskapitän comes to mind). This is because German nouns, verbs, prepositions and adjectives are like lego bricks; you can stick them together in almost any way to create new words that encapsulate new concepts. This gives the language a special ability to name just about anything. You could call it the German language’s lego brick-like quality, or Legosteineigenschaft (see what I just did there?).

But why does German rely on such an elaborate process to name things as simple as squirrels? When broken down into their separate components, the names of familiar animals mutate into bizarre new creatures.

The Uncanny X-Tiere

Comics are full of heroes with names like super, wonder, iron, ultra, bat or cat followed by -man, -woman, -girl or -boy. A lot of German animal names work the same way, where Tier – the word for animal – is preceded by a word describing that animal’s “super power”.

  • Stinktier – stink animal (skunk)

  • Faultier – lazy animal (sloth)

  • Gürteltier – belt animal (armadillo)

  • Murmeltier – mumbling animal (groundhog)

  • Schnabeltier – beak animal (platypus)

  • Maultier – mouth animal (mule)

  • Trampeltier – trampling animal (bactrian camel). The verb trampeln means to trample or tread upon, whereas the noun Trampel is a clumsy oaf.

Sometimes suffixes get more specific than -tier, but still tend to describe the wrong animal:

  • Schildkröte – shield toad (tortoise)

  • Waschbär – wash bear (raccoon)

  • Nacktschnecke – naked snail (slug)

  • Fledermaus – flutter mouse (bat)

  • Seehund – sea dog (seal)

  • Tintenfisch – ink fish (squid)

  • Truthahn – threatening chicken (turkey). Trut is onomatopoeic for the trut-trut-trut cluck of a turkey, but it’s also been hypothesized that the name comes from the Middle German droten which means “to threaten”.

No, I’m Pretty Sure That’s A Pig

Swine seem to be a popular yardstick in German animal taxonomy.

  • Schweinswal – pig whale (porpoise)

  • Seeschwein – sea pig (dugong). Not to be confused with the Seekuh, or sea cow, known in English as a manatee.

  • Stachelschwein – spike pig (porcupine). The English word is actually just as literal; porcupine sounds a lot like “pork spine”.

  • Wasserschwein – water pig (capybara)

  • Meerschweinchen – ocean piglet (guinea pig). The ending -chen denotes something small. Add it to the end of Schwein and you get a little pig, or piglet. Since the stems Meer and Wasser are often interchangeable, it’s most likely that Meerschweinchen actually means little capybara.

Just Plain Weird

I’d like to end this list by giving one animal a category all to itself: the humble squirrel.

Eichhörnchen:

  • little oak horn: Eiche (oak tree) + Horn (horn) + -chen (little)
  • oak croissant: Eiche (oak tree) + Hörnchen (croissant)

alternate names:

  • Eichkätzchen (regional name) and Eichkatzerl (Austria) – oak kitten

Calling a squirrel a “tree kitten” is reasonably literal, but where does “little oak horn” come from? It seems that the answer comes down to a misplaced h: Eichhörnchen comes from the Old and Middle German eichorn, which has nothing to do with oak trees or horns. In this case, the eich comes from the ancient Indo-Germanic word aig, which means agitated movement, combined with the now obsolete suffix -orn. Somewhere in history a superfluous h was added (along with the diminutive -chen ending) but the original meaning remained. Today, Hörnchen is a category of rodents that includes all squirrels, chipmunks, groundhogs, prairie dogs and flying squirrels.

Keep an eye on this spot for an upcoming post where we’ll delve deeper into the animal kingdom: branching out to birds, insects, reptiles, fishes and any other mammals we find crawling around.

German language is absolutely adorable (and occasionally predictable).

(Source: babbel.com, via lavvyan)

"

Speaking the language of one’s childhood seems to conjure up a host of social and cultural attitudes, beliefs, memories, and emotions, as though returning to the Casbah or to Avenue L and East 19th Street and conversing with the natives opens a window back into some prior state of one’s nature. But do such states of mind arise because one is literally thinking in some new representational format by speaking in a different language? After all, many people experience the same or related changes in sociocultural orientation and sense of self when they are, say, wearing their battered old jeans versus some required business suit or military uniform; or even more poignantly when they re-experience a smell or color or sound associated with dimly recalled events. Many such experiences evoke other times, other places.



But according to many anthropological linguists, sociologists, and cognitive psychologists, speaking a particular language exerts vastly stronger and more pervasive influences than an old shoe or the smell of boiling cabbage. The idea of “linguistic relativity” is that having language, or having a particular language, crucially shapes mental life. Indeed, it may not be only that a specific language exerts its idiosyncratic effects as we speak or listen to it – that language might come to “be” our thought; we may have no way to think many thoughts, conceptualize many of our ideas, without this language, or outside of and independent of this language.

"

The Cambridge Handbook of Thinking and Reasoning, Leila Gleitman and Anna Papafragou

(via connaissais)

(via connaissais)

lavvyan:

returquoise:

When you try to think of a word and can only remember it in another language.

When there is no fitting word in your own language.

Or the word exists in both languages, but the word in the other language conveys a nuance your own language doesn’t.

Pronouncing the apostrophe in Lupita Nyong’o

allthingslinguistic:

estifito:

digatisdi:

Okay so I’ve seen a bunch of things come up tonight from mainly white people talking about how “ghetto” Lupita Nyong’o’s surname sounds apparently and its usually focused on “why is that apostrophe there”

So here’s the thing: in Swahili, <ng> represents the consonant cluster [ŋg] while <ng’> is used for the singular consonant [ŋ]

And even if that weren’t the case, what business is it of yours?

Small correction: Lupita is Luo, and her surname is a Luo name, not Swahili. Unnecessary side note: Barack Obama’s father is Luo as well.

But yes, the same orthographic practices are applicable here in Luo as in Swahili. <ng> represents the consonant cluster [ŋg] while <ng’> is used for the singular consonant [ŋ].

Her first name is a diminutive of “Guadalupe”, a Spanish name. She was born in Mexico City and her family moved back to Kenya shortly after.

A shitton of “ghetto” names go back to the many, many languages native to Africa (and some are from Arabic, because of Arab Conquests in Northern Africa). 

Apostrophes (and also the letter h) are basically like accent marks for consonants: they fairly consistently do something to the consonant, but what they do varies widely from language to language, depending on what type of squeezing and stretching it needs to fit into the latin alphabet. (Some languages have actual consonant accent marks, like ç and ñ, as well.)

Here’s Lupita Nyong’o on her own Instagram showing how to pronounce her name. You can hear her flap the intervocalic /t/ in “Lupita” and add a bit of offglide to the /o/ for the Americanized pronunciation. 

(via fuckyeahmylanguage)

psychosassic:

and all the linguists in the night vale fandom have a collective cheer

psychosassic:

and all the linguists in the night vale fandom have a collective cheer

(Source: bloodstonepentagram, via jebiwonkenobi)

hastur:

An award-winning professor from the University has followed in the footsteps of Indiana Jones by cracking the code of a 600 year old manuscript, deemed as ‘the most mysterious’ document in the world.

Stephen Bax, Professor of Applied Linguistics, has just become the first professional linguist to crack the code of the Voynich manuscript using an analytical approach.