Mapping Heritage Languages

Oct 26, 2014 by

[This post was originally published in February 2012] Major patterns on a map often conceal more subtle – and often more interesting – configurations. A similar problem occurs with language maps: mapping a majority language often...

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Linguistic Diversity in Northern California

May 29, 2014 by

In 1929, anthropologist and linguist Edward Sapir wrote: “Few people realize that within the confines of the United States there is spoken today a far greater variety of languages … than in the whole of Europe. We may go...

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“Yo” said, “yo” said…

May 21, 2012 by

A recent LotW post discussed a newly introduced gender-neutral third person Swedish pronoun hen. It appears that a similar gender-neutral pronoun is developing naturally in a local dialect of American English. According to a post on...

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“Oh, rather!”

Apr 23, 2012 by

The topic of differences between British and American English has already come up several times in this blog. These differences concern pronunciation (“tomejdo”-“tomahto”), word choice (truck vs. lorry), and...

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The Pirahã Controversy: Numbers (part 3)

Apr 8, 2012 by

In the previous post, I discussed a study conducted by Dr Peter Gordon that appears to show that the Pirahã not only lack number words (as has been argued previously by Dan Everett), but also lack the necessary cognitive mechanisms...

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The Pirahã Controversy: Numbers (part 2)

Apr 5, 2012 by

In the previous post, I’ve described one experiment designed to shed some light on the number words in Pirahã and their use. But many more experimental studies add food for thought and fuel to the debate. One such study was...

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