Are Languages of “Primitive Peoples” Primitive?

Jul 28, 2015 by

A recent discussion of Toki Pona, a conlang dubbed “the world’s smallest language” by Roc Morin on Business Insider Australia website, prompted me to write again on the issue of the so-called “primitive languages” (for my earlier...

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New “Mixed” Language Discovered in Northern Australia

Sep 22, 2014 by

[This post was originally published in June 2013] A recent article by Denise Chow reports the discovery of a “new mixed language” in Northern Australia by Carmel O’Shannessy, a professor in the department of linguistics at the...

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Modern Technology Helps Save Dying Languages

May 16, 2012 by

As discussed in an earlier post, modern technology can be called upon to help save a dying language. Another example of this is a language called Arapesh, marked as #140 on the Ethnologue map of languages along the northern New...

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More on geographic determinism and language

Jan 5, 2012 by

In a recent post, I’ve discussed the issue of geographic determinism, that is the hypothesis that certain kinds of terrain or weather favor certain structural features in languages. As I have shown there, this simple-minded version...

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More on concealing the truth: intransitives, passives and …anti-...

Nov 16, 2011 by

[Thanks to Dave Howard for bringing up some of the issues discussed in this post] To continue with the earlier theme of telling the truth, telling lies and concealing the truth, I’d like to address the issue of potentially...

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Mother tongue comes from your (prehistoric) father, or does it?

Sep 22, 2011 by

According to a recent study, conducted by Peter Forster and Colin Renfrew of the University of Cambridge and discussed in Science Daily, “language change among our prehistoric ancestors came about via the arrival of immigrant...

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