Sexy Languages – Part 2

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Last time I talked about how it is really difficult to assess how a language sounds if you speak that language because you can’t dissociate yourself from meaning. Today, I’m going to look at why some languages sound sexy, beautiful, attractive – you name it – and others don’t. Of course linguistics cannot take a […]

Sexy Languages – Part 1

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The other day I was talking to an Italian person who said to me that the “sexiest” languages are French, Portuguese, Spanish and Italian. This made me think: can you form an opinion on how your native language sounds, and anyway, what does it mean that a language sounds “sexy” and how do we judge […]

SVO, SOV, VSO

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In 3 Types of Languages I talked about how languages are categorised based on morphology (affixation and word formation)—now it’s time to look at how languages differ in their word order. In order to do that, we need to look at the order of the subject (S), verb (V) and direct object (O) in the sentence. […]

Do You Have an Accent?

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Yes, everybody does, including you. Many people think of accents as deviations from the norm, i.e. the correct way of speaking. Linguistically, however, we cannot distinguish between correct and incorrect accents as every native speaker’s accent has developed naturally and they are understandable within their speech community. Debating which accent is the most correct is […]

Relatives

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It is very easy to see that neo-Latin languages (Italian, French, Spanish, Portuguese and Romanian being the most well-known) are related because of their noticeable similarity. Some languages are so similar that their speakers can understand each other – they are mutually intelligible – like to some extent Portuguese and Spanish. What about other languages with […]

Dialect

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Dialects are regional varieties of a language that differ in vocabulary, pronunciation and even grammar. Like accents, dialects are all equally correct in their own varieties and there isn’t an absolute dialect which the others are inferior to from a linguistic perspective. Accent and vocabulary differences are apparent to all and I think they are […]

Rhoticity

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There are many accents of English and many differences among them but the most prominent one is whether the /r/ is pronounced before consonants and at the end of words. In most British dialects it isn’t while in most American dialects it is. These are called rhotic dialects and besides Standard American, Scottish, Irish and Canadian […]

3 Types of Languages

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Depending on affixation and how affixes are separated within a word we distinguish three language types: agglutinating, isolating and fusional. Agglutinative languages add affixes to the word stem and these affixes are easily distinguishable most of the time. These languages include Turkish, Hungarian, Finnish, Japanese, Korean, etc. By adding several affixes to the stem, you […]