Aspiration in New Julfa Armenian

Apr 19, 2012 by

A couple of days ago, I attended a very interesting talk by Sebouh Aslanian on New Julfa Armenians and their trade networks, stretching from Amsterdam to Manila in the Philippines. New Julfa is an Armenian settlement in Isfahan, Iran,...

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Atkinson’s theory of language origins

Feb 10, 2012 by

In a number of earlier posts, I’ve discussed the recent work by Quentin D. Atkinson from the University of Auckland on the origin and spread of language. In an article published in Science, Atkinson shows that by applying...

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Obituary: The Ubykh Language

Jan 25, 2012 by

While marking a birth of a natural language is a difficult matter (because of the dialect-language problem), a language death is often a more conspicuous event. Case in point: a language called Ubykh (Oubykh, in French sources). This...

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The Hebrew of the Dead Sea Scrolls

Oct 7, 2011 by

In the previous posting, I discussed the discovery and significance of the Dead Sea Scrolls, five of which have recently been digitized and made available online. But the Dead Sea Scrolls are an important archaeological find not only...

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What’s in a name?

Oct 6, 2011 by

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose By any other name would smell as sweet.” – William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet (II, ii, 1-2) While the great bard might have believed that names carry no meaning...

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American English from sea to shining sea, part 2

Sep 30, 2011 by

In the previous posting, I’ve mentioned a number of lexical peculiarities of various regional American English dialects. Let’s now consider some pronunciation peculiarities. Take, for example, the name Mary, the adjective...

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