Monthly Archives: March 2017

What the F@%$ – Profanity in Language

By Patience Kelly Literally, profane means outside the temple, and originally had religious connotations, involving “desecrating what is holy”, and representing blasphemy. In English, most swear words have Germanic roots, and documents of swearing in the Bible go back to … Continue reading

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How media sensations changed the way we speak

By Patience Kelly Art mimics life, and this is no different for linguistics. We talk like people we can relate to, who have similar ideas to us, not necessarily who we see (or hear rather). But, as with most things … Continue reading

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Old English Electricity

By Timothy Patrick Snyder Old English is a fantastic language.  There is a large selection of literature, with poetry and prose, we have an Old English lexicon that includes several thousand words (although spelling and dialectal variants also take up … Continue reading

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Northern Cities Vowel Shift

Hi guys. It’s Rolf Weimar here, creator of Silly Linguistics. I have been working hard on language podcasts, comics and articles. But I would like to expand the language offering on this site. So with that in mind, I put … Continue reading

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The Other Z – why you mispronounce this Scottish letter

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Language fossils

Something that I think all language enthusiasts encounter very early on is just how many languages there are in the world. But spend more time in the language world, and you will discover that there are even more languages beyond … Continue reading

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Silly Linguistics Podcast – Episode 8

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Schleicher’s Fable in Proto Germanic

Awiz eχwôz-uχe Awis, þazmai wullô ne wase, eχwanz gasáχwe, ainan kurun waganan wegandun, anþeran mekelôn burþînun, þridjanôn gumanun berandun. Awiz eχwamiz kwaþe: “Χertôn gaángwjedai mez seχwandi eχwanz gumanun akandun.” Eχwôz kwêdund: “Gaχáusî, awi, χertôn gaángwjedai unsez seχwandumiz: gumô, faþiz awjôn … Continue reading

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South African English

South African English has many accents, even amongst native speakers. There is Cultivated, Common and Broad, roughly equivalent to upper class, middle class and lower class. My accent (I live in Cape Town) is somewhere in the middle. Diphthongs can … Continue reading

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What is semantic shift? (aka, how “gather” and “good” are related)

Semantic shift is when a word changes in meaning over time. When a word becomes associated with something, it can often gets a new meaning by association. “gather” comes from Proto Germanic *gadurōną which also means “gather” which is derived … Continue reading

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