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Category: Memes

Silly Linguistics Magazine Preview – Issue 22

As one of the world’s most popular second languages, it comes as no surprise that English has influenced the vocabularies of many different languages across the globe. Sometimes, this has been through loanwords, such as Computer (computer) in German, which are words lifted straight out of one language and used in another.

Slightly less obvious are calques, such as the French courrier électronique (e-mail), which are when a word or phrase is translated literally and used in another language. Somewhat ironically, the word ‘calque’ is itself a loanword, taken directly from the French calque, while ‘loanword’ is a calque, coming from the German Lehnwort.

Perhaps a more confusing example of English’s influence is the emergence of pseudo anglicisms; the use of English words in other languages, but not in the same contexts or with the same meaning as in the original English. These can be rather baffling for language learners, whether they be English people learning a foreign language, or speakers of other languages trying to show off how cosmopolitan and modern they are by using their advanced vocabulary on bewildered native English
speakers.

While there are, of course, academic discussions and studies as to how and why this phenomenon has grown, I thought instead that I’d like to have a little bit of fun with finding some of the most bizarre examples I could of English words being used in European languages with a completely different meaning to the ones we’re used to on this side of the Channel.

You can read the follow article in our magazine Silly Linguistics and get access to all previous issues at no extra charge

Silly Linguistics Magazine Preview – Issue 39

My husband and I walked into a busy gas station last weekend. Long queue ensured, he got in line to save us a spot and I scoured the station for drinks and snacks. I had to ask him what he wanted, but since he was in line and I was at the other side of the station holding the refrigerator door open, there was no way to even mouth my question since we were wearing masks, and all the noise ensured he wouldn’t hear me even if I yelled.

So I mimed this elaborate routine until he finally understood me, mimed back and I got what he needed. This whole interpretative gas station dancing really got me thinking — were humans always able to speak? At what point in evolution did we stop ooga-booga-ing, and actually started to communicate? Were Neanderthals capable of verbal communication?

You can read the follow article in our magazine Silly Linguistics and get access to all previous issues at no extra charge

Silly Linguistics Magazine Preview – Issue 21

In France, as in many countries, there are several varieties of the same
language. These varieties of the same language are even to be remarked
across the world (French in Quebec, Africa, even in South America with
French Guinea, and so on). Of course, every language is able to have
different accents, as the social customs highly differ from one place, or
country, to another.


Here, we are going to see the difference between the standardized variety
of French and the variety spoken especially in the south of France. This
particular difference and the related glottophobia targeted at each other
seems inconvenient, irrelevant and utterly awful. We won’t forget that
any other French accent, and actually any accent in any language can
suffer from glottophobia, however we will target this work on one
example.


This article will try to show the biggest differences (especially on
phonological and lexical plans) between both varieties. We have to bear in
mind that the variety spoken in the south of France is more a gathering of
many smaller varieties. However, we’ll try to draw the biggest differences.
Then, we’ll try to put things into perspective, in order to show that
language appreciations are absolutely not to be considered legitimately.

You can read the follow article in our magazine Silly Linguistics and get access to all previous issues at no extra charge

Silly Linguistics Magazine Preview

There are roughly 6,500 languages spoken in the world today. That is an extraordinary number of ways to communicate. It is said that by learning another language, you learn to understand the culture of its speakers. Imagine
being able to understand 6,500 different ways of life of 7 billion global speakers. However, many of these languages are dying out. UNESCO, a subsection of the United Nations that specialises in global cultural preservation, provides a list of all of the languages considered “endangered” in the world. Of the 6,500 previously mentioned, 2,464 languages of them are in danger

You can read the follow article in our magazine Silly Linguistics and get access to all previous issues at no extra charge