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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Comparing Verb Conjugations in the Romance Languages

Dec 14, 2011 by

BY DEREK CZAJKA (“Languages of the World”) Readers of this blog are doubtless aware of the notion of language families. Many of the world’s languages belong to a family of related languages. When languages are said...

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Metaphor, synecdoche and language change

Nov 3, 2011 by

In the previous posting, I discussed various figures of speech, such as metaphor, metonymy and synecdoche, which make our everyday speech more colorful, more creative, more poetic even. However, the same figures of speech are also...

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Birch Bark Letters and the Second Slavic Palatalization, part 3

Sep 14, 2011 by

At the end of the previous posting, we’ve reached a conundrum: the Old Novgorod dialect must have diverged from the rest of the Slavic family early enough to avoid the application of the Second Slavic Palatalization, yet not too...

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