Dual in Old Church Slavonic—and in modern Hebrew

Jan 28, 2015 by

Unlike (modern) Russian and English, Old Church Slavonic (OCS) had not a two-way but a three-way grammatical number distinction: singular, dual, and plural. The dual was used for ‘two’, whereas the plural was used for ‘three or...

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Introduction to Old Church Slavonic Declension

Jan 25, 2015 by

In Old Church Slavonic (OCS), as in modern Russian, nouns have inherent gender (masculine, feminine, or neuter) and change for case and number, while adjectives and participles agree with the nouns they modified, or are predicated...

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Language, Thought, Culture: A Reassessment

Dec 11, 2014 by

For the past ten weeks or so, my students in “Language & Mind” course and I have investigated the links between language, thought, and culture. In the first half of the course, we have re-examined the Whorf-Sapir hypothesis by...

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More on the alleged correlation between “future tense” and “future-ori...

Oct 19, 2014 by

[Many thanks to Vitaliy Rayz for a helpful discussion!] In a study conducted a couple of years ago, Yale economist Keith Chen claims that there is a correlation, and even a causation relation, between the availability of “future...

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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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Evidential markers in Yukaghir languages

Oct 10, 2014 by

[This post was originally published in April 2012] When a character in an English-language mystery novel says “The butler did it!”, we do not know if this person witnessed the crime, heard someone else make the accusation, or infers...

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