Linguistic Diversity in Northern California

May 29, 2014 by

In 1929, anthropologist and linguist Edward Sapir wrote: “Few people realize that within the confines of the United States there is spoken today a far greater variety of languages … than in the whole of Europe. We may go...

read more

“Yo” said, “yo” said…

May 21, 2012 by

A recent LotW post discussed a newly introduced gender-neutral third person Swedish pronoun hen. It appears that a similar gender-neutral pronoun is developing naturally in a local dialect of American English. According to a post on...

read more

“Oh, rather!”

Apr 23, 2012 by

The topic of differences between British and American English has already come up several times in this blog. These differences concern pronunciation (“tomejdo”-”tomahto”), word choice (truck vs. lorry), and...

read more

The Pirahã Controversy: Numbers (part 3)

Apr 8, 2012 by

In the previous post, I discussed a study conducted by Dr Peter Gordon that appears to show that the Pirahã not only lack number words (as has been argued previously by Dan Everett), but also lack the necessary cognitive mechanisms...

read more

The Pirahã Controversy: Numbers (part 2)

Apr 5, 2012 by

In the previous post, I’ve described one experiment designed to shed some light on the number words in Pirahã and their use. But many more experimental studies add food for thought and fuel to the debate. One such study was...

read more

The Pirahã Controversy: Numbers

Apr 5, 2012 by

In addition to recursion, the Pirahã are claimed to lack numbers. Is this true? According to Dan Everett, the Pirahã lack not only numbers of any kind, but they do not have even a concept of counting and of any terms for...

read more