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  • #61
    From The Economist - Counting Words: The Biggest Vocabulary?

    Moreover, many languages habitually build long words from short ones. German is obvious; it is a trifle to coin a new compound word for a new situation, as mentioned here. Are compounds new words? Is the German Unabhängigkeitserklärung, "declaration of independence", one word? It's certainly written that way in German. Given the possibilities for compounds, German would quickly outstrip English, with new legitimate German "words", which Germans would accept without blinking, coined every day. Just one quick glance at the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung's home-page finds Abschiedsvorstellung ("leave-taking performance", about South Africa putting on a display for the departing French in the World Cup), Weltmarktführer ("world market leader"), Stromtarifrechner ("electricity bill calculator") and so on. There's no reason to say "it's incredible how the Germans have a word for 'leave-taking performance'," because to create such words ad hoc is banal in German. This is even truer for Turkish, mentioned in that posting above. It not only crams words together but does so in ways that make whole, meaningful sentences. "Were you one of those people whom we could not make into a Czechoslovak?" translates as one word in Turkish. We write it without spaces, pronounce it in one breath in speaking, it can't be interrupted with digressions, and so forth.

    So Turkish and German and a host of others like them have "more words" than English. And no fair disallowing Turkish and German's flexible word-coinage. If we do that, we have to throw out English compounds, too; no "shoelace", "windowsill", "phrasebook", "boatswain" and so on. We'd also have to throw out foreign-derived compounds like "television" and "geography". A mess.
    What about a claim like "English has more basic words" or "word roots" or some such? Now we're in the territory of what linguists call "morphemes", usable roots or pieces of words. But in the domain of morphemes we also have to include "un-" as a morpheme, and "methyl-" and many other things that traditionalists wouldn't include under "words", and it's not at all clear English has the largest number of them either. Meanwhile, this disadvantages the Semitic languages like Arabic and Hebrew. They use a smallish number of three-letter roots to coin huge numbers of words. ktb has the basic "to write", but it generates at least 30 words (many of them, like verbs, inflecting into many more forms still). These take up two full pages in my dictionary, from katib, "writer", to istiktab, "dictation". So counting only "roots" or "basic words" gets us nowhere either, since counting ktb just once would be senseless.


    • #62
      From 20 awesomely untranslatable words from around the world


      • #63
        From Deutsche Welle: German Protestants to revise landmark Luther Bible.

        Evolution of a translation
        That colloquial language has, of course, evolved over the years. So that the Luther translation would remain understandable, it has undergone multiple revisions. Luther himself made the first edits in 1545. In 1892, the first revision officially ordained by the Church was completed, only to be redone just two decades later.
        In 1956, Germany's state-organized Protestant Church reviewed the New Testament again, following up with the Old Testament in 1964. Yet another revision took place in 1975, this time drawing heaps of criticism: Theologians, pastors and parishioners felt the new edition deviated too much from Luther's original wording.
        The most recent revision from 1984, currently in use, rescinded thousands of changes made in the previous edition. Nevertheless, it still uses modern 20th-century German, according to Leipzig theology professor Christoph Kähler.
        Now, 30 years after the last update, Germany's Protestant Church has commissioned the next revision of the Luther Bible for two reasons. Firstly, new linguistic discoveries have been made regarding the ancient versions of the languages used in the original biblical texts. This means, for example, that certain words in the Old Testament can now be interpreted in a different way. Secondly, according to Kähler, the Church would like to prepare a new edition of the Luther Bible to mark the 500th anniversary of the Reformation in 2017.


        • #64
          Interesting you tube video I found, was on German: How to Read in German

          Last edited by lakechampainer; 22 Nov 15, 07:15.


          • #65
            Very Interesting web site I found, has the most detailed information I have ever seen about how dialects moved across the country, including how they "backfilled" and how movements of small specific populations can be be seen decades and decades later.

            I found the section on Northwest New England very interesting. My mother was born there, in North Hero, VT near the Canadian border, but moved to Boston when she was three, but she spent summers there. Her grandmother spoke mostly French. She didn't show much of an accent at all, except the Boston dropped r's. What I found interesting also was a section on the US/Canadian border, which described a second vowel sound being added by those on the Canadian side of the border - I can remember my great-uncle Clarence speaking with a feature like this - he lived on the farm until I think 1942.

            Link to website -


            Link to dialect map


            Article on the US-Canada border and "The Badge of Identity"



            • #66


              • #67
                Originally posted by lakechampainer View Post
                For anyone interested in linguistics, I found a great Web site, which is run by the Max Plank Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. It is called the World Atlas of Language Structures Online:

                I hate you
                Wack tac mac hey.


                • #68


                  • #69


                    • #70
                      From The Boston Herald/Associated Press - Icelandic Language at Risk: Robots and Computers Can't Grasp It



                      But the revered Icelandic language, seen by many as a source of identity and pride, is being undermined by the widespread use of English, both for mass tourism and in the voice-controlled artificial intelligence devices coming into vogue.

                      Linguistics experts, studying the future of a language spoken by fewer than 400,000 people in an increasingly globalized world, wonder if this is the beginning of the end for the Icelandic tongue.

                      Former President Vigdis Finnbogadottir told The Associated Press that Iceland must take steps to protect its language. She is particularly concerned that programs be developed so the language can be easily used in digital technology.

                      "Otherwise, Icelandic will end in the Latin bin," she warned.


                      • #71
                        This is the current website for the World Atlas of Language Structures, which I had posted in post #1.



                        • #72
                          Link to an interesting article I found on the similarities and differences between learning a language and learning music. I was actually googling on the similarities between teaching (learning) a second language and music, which isn't directly addressed.

                          A paper by Ray Jackendoff of Tufts University, in 2008.



                          • #73
                            Need to come back to this thread. Bump
                            We hunt the hunters


                            • #74
                              From Psychology Today - an article by Francois Grosjean - "Do musicians make better language learners?"


                              Neuropsychological studies show that music and language are represented in distinct areas of the brain, indicating thereby that the link between musical ability and second language learning is not as direct as one would think. Additional evidence of separation comes from cases of selective impairments, that is people with language impairments, such as aphasia, who retain their musical skills, and individuals with intact linguistic skills who lose their musical abilities. These differences in cortical representation do not tell the whole story, however, because music and language do rely on common – or at least similar – processes: detection of differences in pitch, meter, rhythm, phrasing and interpretation, tonal
                              , memory for long sequences, and the ability to imitate and improvise based on familiar sequences. These similarities led researchers to ask two questions: Are abilities in one domain easily transferred to another? And are musicians better L2 learners than the rest of us?


                              • #75
                                An interesting paper I found entitled, "Mathematics and English, Two Languages: Teachers' Views


                                I found several sections relating to students with "math anxiety" interesting. When I was middle school math teacher, I felt that was one of the things I was good at: dealing with students with math anxiety.

                                excerpt 1

                                Mathematics has a reputation of one of the most difficult subjects in school and many students suffer from math anxiety. Mathematics anxiety is expressed by a feeling of fear, tension and panic when asked to perform mathematical tasks. Many students in school and later as adults suffer from math anxiety. Wigfield and Meece (1988) identified two components of mathematics anxiety, affective and cognitive: negative affective reaction to mathematics, such as nervousness, fear and discomfort and worries about doing well in mathematics. Jackson and Leffingwell (1999) examined the type of teacher's behavior which might create or exacerbate mathematics anxiety in students. They asked prospective elementary mathematics school teachers to describe their worst or most challenging mathematics classroom experience from kindergarten through college and found that for some, math anxiety occurred as early as 3rd grade of elementary school. Research studies suggest that the way teachers teach mathematics is the key to reducing mathematics anxiety (Arem, 2010; Rayner et al., 2009; Scarpello, 2007; Ashcraft, 2002). In the last 20 years there has also been a great deal of research into second language anxiety (Woodrow, 2006). It has been regarded as one of the most important affective factors that influence language acquisition (Na, 2007). Much earlier Young (1991) identified six potential causes of language anxiety which related to learners, teachers and instructional practice. He mainly pointed at personal and interpersonal aspects, learner beliefs about language learning, teachers’ beliefs about language teaching, teacher-learner interaction, classroom procedure and tests. MacIntyre and Gardner (1995) contend that anxiety might increase as a result of a learner’s bad learning experience or continued bad learning performance. It can also be caused by the need to perform in a language other than one’s native tongue (Jackson, 2002). In

                                excerpt #2

                                To the question concerning students’ anxiety in English and mathematics, Neal said that mathematics causes much more concern among students than English. He explained that the stronger the “emotional element” involved in the subject, the lower the anxiety level. He further explained that every language has its music and you just "hear” when a sentence is correct or incorrect by its musicality. The same applies to mathematics: “mathematics has its own music; the right thinking is the musical thinking… A child who can “catch” this musicality, who can “hear” the logic of mathematics is good at math, but if they cannot identify connections and relationships, they are doomed to much difficulty.” To make himself more explicit, he added that “musicality of mathematics” means to understand the reality. For example: “to understand ‘ratio’, is music… the relationship between two tunes is a mathematical ratio and the more beautiful the harmony between two tunes, the more mathematical ratios are created.”
                                Last edited by lakechampainer; 01 May 20, 08:23.


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