All posts by Steve the vagabond

Hi, I created Silly Linguistics. If you like life on the silly side, you have found just the right place

She has a chip on her shoulder? Well she should take it off and eat it. Don’t waste food!

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I love it when people deconstruct sayings like this. We use and hear these expressions all the time and very often we don’t even stop to think about where they come from or how silly they sound. Next time you hear an expression, take a moment to think about what the words actually mean and maybe look up the origin. I am sure it will be an interesting read 🙂

Low German and Atlaans

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The world Atlaans is spoken in was created by me to have a place where things work slightly differently. There are many people in our world that want to deny the true origin of languages and say silly things like English comes from Hebrew and is the mother of language. Well, I made a world where all languages do come from a single source called Atlantean, which is called Atlaans in one of the Atlantean dialects. #AtlaansConfirmed

Silly Linguistics #2

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We understand each other’s languages, but it is often faster just to type in your own language (since you are used to typing in it) so it can lead to these humourous situations where you are speaking one language and they are speaking another, but you can each understand each other.

The long, tortuous road to learning Romanian one man took. A good read!

Learning a language that is not spoken much outside of its country can be a very tough endeavour. One of the difficulties that you can encounter when learning a language is lack of resources. For languages like Spanish, French and German, there is no lack of resources. But it can be hard to find newspapers, magazines and dictionaries for smaller languages.


Silly Linguistics #1

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Have you ever been to Sweden? Keep on the lookout for this sign. It is very amusing coming across this in Sweden because it has a totally different meaning in English. Another funny sign to come across is “fartcontrol”. No, this is not some weird sign which is telling you not to fart. It actually just means “speed control”.

Hipster Zamenhof

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Esperanto is an auxlang (short for auxiliary language). An auxlang is a language designed to be a common language between two people who would otherwise not share a language. Esperanto is the world’s largest auxlang, and also the world’s largest conlang (constructed language, which is the group auxlangs fall into, being a language constructed deliberately as opposed to a natural language which developed over time in the real word).

Zamenhof, the creator of Esperanto, was one of the first of a long line of future conlangers. He published his Esperanto grammar in 1887. Conlanging has grown as a hobby over the decades, but it has really flourished recently thanks to films and tv shows like Star Trek, Game of Thrones and Defiance which all feature constructed languages like Klingon, Dothraki, High Valyrian and Castithan.

Katakana came from Hebrew

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The ancient Hebrews had many sects. One of these sects, inexplicably, got on a boat and rowed all the way to Japan, where they taught the people how to write. This writing system changed slightly over time, but it is where the Japanese people got their unique and wonderful way of writing.

Ok, that was nonsense. Not the “unique and wonderful” part, that’s true 😀 The part before that. Some people just don’t know how things work, and will see chance resemblances in some cases and use that to “prove” something. Even in the picture on this post, “ts” do not look similar.

“You have to mirror it vertically”, they say. Well, do you have to do that with any of the others? No? Well, it’s not a very good match then is it. The “f” column isn’t that good of a match either, neither is “h” or “q”. And these are the ones that work the best!

They didn’t even show the ones that don’t match at all! Word of advice, don’t take all you know about language from memes you find on the internet 😀

Learning languages is an addiction

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Oh damn. Yet another language I want to learn! Languages are really addictive. First I wanted to learn German, then I wanted to learn Swedish, now I want to learn Russian, Swahili and Arabic. When will the madness end! Soon I will be learning Proto Indo European!

But seriously, languages are awesome! Each language in the world gives us a slightly different way of looking at things. If we only had one way of looking at things, we might be missing out on some truly fascinating and useful ways of solving problems or realigning our thoughts. If we only knew one way of thinking, it would restrict our ability to deal with problems, and to interact with the world. Learn as many languages as you can 😀

All languages fans know what IPA really stands for

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IPA stands for International Phonetics Association. It is an association that organises a set of characters used to describe the pronunciation of words. Their goal is to provide a common set of characters to describe the pronunciation of all languages around the world. It even has symbols to describe the click sounds used in Southern African languages.

The other meaning of IPA is India Pale Ale. But I am sure languages nerds were looking for the International Phonetics Association rather 😀