The Anatomy of “Touching”

Mar 20, 2015 by

The verb ‘to touch’ in Russian—kasat’sja and its perfective counterpart kosnut’sja—is a very peculiar one, in several respects. To begin with, it is unusual in having the clitic -sja, without any of the meanings typically...

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On healthy, wholesome “kissing”

Mar 13, 2015 by

In one of the lectures I am now filming for the online “Languages of the World” course, I discuss the issue of language relatedness, stressing that common descent is not always apparent or conspicuous. Case in point is the...

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Disentangling “The Tangled Roots of English”

Feb 28, 2015 by

[I am deeply grateful to Martin W. Lewis for the inspiring discussions of, and extensive collaboration on, the issues examined here.] Several articles, written by historical linguists, geneticists and archeologists, have been...

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Registration now open for online “Languages of the World” course!

Feb 24, 2015 by

Registration now open for online “Languages of the World” course! More than 6,000 languages are spoken in the world today, and their variety seems unbounded. This linguistic diversity tells us a lot about the development...

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Rethinking the Role of Broca’s Area—Or Did We?

Feb 22, 2015 by

A recent article “Brain’s iconic seat of speech goes silent when we actually talk”, published in Science Daily online on February 18, 2015, reviews the research of a team of scientists from New York University, the Helen Wills...

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What is the Homeland Problem?

Feb 22, 2015 by

In my recent discussions with blog readers and students, it has become clear to me that before considering the Proto-Indo-European (PIE) homeland problem in more detail it might be beneficial to review what a linguistic homeland is...

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Je Suis “Random Folk in a Deli”—What Went Wrong With Obama’s Remark?...

Feb 20, 2015 by

Last week, the lowly English adverb randomly found itself at the center of a political controversy. In an interview, President Obama made a comment that generated a barrage of criticisms from Republicans and from Jewish organizations...

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