Disentangling “The Tangled Roots of English”

Feb 28, 2015 by

[I am deeply grateful to Martin W. Lewis for the inspiring discussions of, and extensive collaboration on, the issues examined here.] Several articles, written by historical linguists, geneticists and archeologists, have been...

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The History of English Orthography

Dec 14, 2011 by

 BY VAISHNAV ARADHYULA (“Languages of the World”) It was the first day of seventh grade Spanish class, and the word “ghoti” was written on the blackboard. “Ghoti,” Señor Robles explained, spells fish. In English. “The...

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Uzbek, “the penguin of Turkic languages”

Feb 25, 2011 by

A quick clarification about an earlier posting on Turkic languages. There I said that of the four major Turkic languages in Central Asia — Kazakh, Uzbek, Kyrgyz and Turkmen — Turkmen is the real “odd man out”....

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Give me some space!

Oct 5, 2010 by

In yesterday’s posting, I mentioned that medieval manuscripts and inscriptions often used a line over the top of an abbreviation or an acronym to mark them as such. This was illustrated with the Kirkdale sundial. Another...

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On the rise of /v/

Sep 29, 2010 by

In yesterday’s posting I mentioned that the rise of /v/ as a full-fledged phoneme in English may be a sign of Celtic influence. Today we will look at an alternative theory for the rise of /v/. But first, what does it mean that...

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