Do Languages of Primitive Peoples Have Small Vocabularies?—And Some Th...

Jul 28, 2015 by

In my previous post, I have argued that languages of the so-called “primitive” peoples are not necessarily as simple as many lay people conceive them to be. While yesterday’s post focused on grammars of such languages, illustrating...

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The Truly “Dark Side of the Subjunctive”

Oct 17, 2014 by

[Many thanks to Stephane Goyette, Olaf Koeneman, and Seth Johnston for helpful discussions related to this post!] In his TED video, Phuc Tran explores a Whorfian idea that English having a subjunctive and Vietnamese lacking it leads...

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What is the most difficult language to learn — and why?

Jun 3, 2011 by

As mentioned in the previous posting, there are numerous rankings of “difficult” (and “easy”) languages to learn (note that we are talking about second-language learning here, not acquiring one’s native...

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On the Austronesian Homeland

May 30, 2011 by

In response to my posting on the Japanese homeland and the connection between Japanese and Austronesian languages, Kalvin Vasques expressed some doubts about the Out-of-Taiwan theory of Austronesian homeland. The key to the...

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Javanese influence on Japanese

May 9, 2011 by

In the previous posting, I discussed the issue of the (pre)historic Japanese homeland. Scholars of Japanese prehistory typically distinguish two cultures that merged to create the Japanese culture as we know it: the earlier Jōmon...

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On the Japanese homeland

May 5, 2011 by

Bayesian phylogeny is becoming a popular method to reconstruct the structure and potentially the homeland of various language families. For example, a study conducted by Quentin D. Atkinson and discussed in an earlier posting uses...

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