Jerusalem artichokes and Jordan almonds: are they from the Middle East...

Feb 13, 2012 by

  Despite what their names suggest neither Jerusalem artichokes nor Jordan almonds are from the Middle East. Both expressions are examples of folk etymology, a process by which the form (and sometimes the meaning) of a word is...

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The plural of virus? Latinate plurals reconsidered

Jan 19, 2012 by

[Thanks to¬†Cynthia Typaldos for bringing this topic to my attention! The cartoon to the left is from this site] A recent article on paidContent.org by Robert Andrews states:   “Google (NSDQ: GOOG) already operates its own...

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On geographic determinism and nasal vowels in French

Dec 30, 2011 by

In a recent post, I discussed one example of geographic determinism applied to linguistic typology. The thinking behind geographic determinism is as follows: certain kinds of terrain or weather favor certain structural features in...

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Making my case

Dec 26, 2011 by

In the last couple of posts, I’ve discussed the issue of grammatical complexity and have shown that even if an objective measure of such complexity is absent, languages clearly differ as to which grammatical distinctions they...

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It’s not all black and white

Nov 30, 2011 by

As was discussed in earlier postings, the cross-linguistic range of color terms is quite complex and languages differ as to how the treat the color spectrum (e.g., see how Hanunoo does it). But interestingly, not all uses of color...

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