An Historical Linguistics Detective Story. This is well confusing!

Written by James Stratton, author of A Diachronic Analysis of the Adjective Intensifier well from Early Modern English to Present Day English in the Canadian Journal of Linguistics.

If you want to convince someone that the book you just read is worth reading, you can intensify your speech. Intensifiers are linguistic devices which allow speakers to impress, praise, persuade, and generally influence a listener’s understanding of a message. A sentence like “the book was so interesting” is clearly more convincing than just “the book was interesting”. However, specific intensifiers can go stale over time if they are overused, which means that different intensifiers are favored at different points in time.

In Present Day English, the three most frequently used intensifiers are so, really, and very, . . . → Read More: An Historical Linguistics Detective Story. This is well confusing!

Exploring the Indo-European Roots (Part 2)

Blog post written by Asya Pereltsvaig author of Languages of The World & co-author of The Indo-European Controversy.

Missed part one? here’s the link: Exploring the Indo-European Roots (Part 1)

Image: www.flickr.com/photos/pasukaru76/3595826459 via Creative Commons.

Bones and pots found in archaeological digs do not talk. Yet, as discussed in detail in our book, The Indo-European Controversy: Facts and Fallacies in Historical Linguistics, we can use the tools of paleo-linguistics to search for the PIE homeland. The general idea is simple: the reconstructed vocabulary of the ancestral language is examined for clues as to its speakers’ physical environment and modes of subsistence. Thus, speakers of a language that has words for ‘snow’, ‘sleigh’, ‘reindeer’, and ‘seal’ must live in a very different place from those of a language with words for . . . → Read More: Exploring the Indo-European Roots (Part 2)

Exploring the Indo-European Roots (Part 1)

Europe, Map

Blog post written by Asya Pereltsvaig author of Languages of The World & co-author of The Indo-European Controversy.

Image: www.flickr.com/photos/paulsimpson1976/3629546523 via Creative Commons.

In 1767, the year when the British first sighted Pitcairn Island and visited Tahiti in the Pacific Ocean, another monumental discovery was being made back in London, in the study of one James Parsons. Comparing the numerals ‘one’ through ‘ten’ in various languages of Europe, Parsons “was insensibly led on to attempt following them to their source”. The book in which this phrase first appeared, The Remains of Japhet, being Historical Enquiries into the Affinity and Origins of the European Languages, was as long-winded as its title, and Parsons himself retired shortly after its publication. As a result his work remained . . . → Read More: Exploring the Indo-European Roots (Part 1)