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We are a worldwide social network of freethinkers, atheists, agnostics and secular humanists.

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A World of Words

This is a place for lexiophiles  and linguaphiles! We are an international site, we communicate in English as lingua franca; many of us know more than one language and we love the word. Let's talk about language!

Location: #culture
Members: 47
Latest Activity: May 18

Many thinkers have proposed that language is what makes us unique, what makes us human. We come equipped with a very powerful, instinctual language module in our brains, a universal grammar. Nevertheless, there are thousands of languages in the world and it's fascinating to think about how they all came to be, how languages evolve, and what makes some endure and spread and some disappear.

 

This is a place to discuss everything that has to do with language, any language, dead or alive. Topics can include the origin of language, linguistics, history of languages, words that we love, world literature, and even neuroscience or evolutionary studies if they have to do specifically with language.

Discussion Forum

The New Words Thread: Things you ran across, remembered, or had to look up

Started by A Former Member. Last reply by Marianne Jun 4, 2013. 91 Replies

As the title implies, this is a thread to add the new words you come across from time to time, or words that you had to look up, or words you found intersting and wanted to share. I'll start with…Continue

Tags: adjectives, adverbs, verbs, nouns, language

Sex Symbols

Started by A Former Member. Last reply by Marianne May 30, 2013. 9 Replies

From the Grammarphobia blog.Q: In a recent radio appearance, you said the idea that “he” can refer to any human being – man or woman – was introduced in the 18th century by a female grammarian. I…Continue

Tags: singular, plural, pronouns, language, male

A Man of Many Words

Started by A Former Member May 7, 2013. 0 Replies

Another interesting book to add to the list. -- DallasA Man of Many WordsFor more than 150 years, writers of all stripes have relied on Roget’s Thesaurus of English Words and Phrasesas an elegant,…Continue

Tags: linguistics, vocabulary, language, Roget, thesaurus

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Comment by Stephen on May 18, 2017 at 3:22pm

© All photos courtesy of Alex Tizon and his family

© All photos courtesy of Alex Tizon and his family

My Family’s Slave

Comment by Chris on February 1, 2017 at 6:41am

It recently occured to me that Horus being the egyption god of the sky

maybe a root word for Horoscope.  How far off am I on that?

Apparently far off.

Etymology

The Sanskrit term for horo is hora (होरा). Horo-scope is hora-shastra (होरा-शास्त्र). The Latin word horoscopus, ultimately from Greek ὡρόσκοπος "nativity, horoscope", literally "observer of the hour [of birth]", from ὥρα "time, hour" and σκόπος "observer, watcher". In Middle English texts from the 11th century, the word appears in the Latin form and is anglicized to horoscope in Early Modern English. The noun horoscopy for "casting of horoscopes" has been in use since the 17th century (OED). In Greek, ὡρόσκοπος in the sense of "ascendant" and ὡροσκοπία "observation of the ascendant" is in use since Ptolemy (Tetrabiblos 33, 75).

Comment by Chris on February 1, 2017 at 6:38am

It recently occured to me that Horus

maybe a root word for Horoscope.  How far off am I on that?

Apparently far off.

Etymology

The Sanskrit term for horo is hora (होरा). Horo-scope is hora-shastra (होरा-शास्त्र). The Latin word horoscopus, ultimately from Greek ὡρόσκοπος "nativity, horoscope", literally "observer of the hour [of birth]", from ὥρα "time, hour" and σκόπος "observer, watcher". In Middle English texts from the 11th century, the word appears in the Latin form and is anglicized to horoscope in Early Modern English. The noun horoscopy for "casting of horoscopes" has been in use since the 17th century (OED). In Greek, ὡρόσκοπος in the sense of "ascendant" and ὡροσκοπία "observation of the ascendant" is in use since Ptolemy (Tetrabiblos 33, 75).

Comment by Hope is the thing with feathers on November 14, 2013 at 6:13pm
Basic English Grammar
Explore more infographics like this one on the web's largest information design community - Visually.
Comment by Davy on July 17, 2013 at 3:37pm

The Ukrainian word is the same as the Russian word AHAHAC

Comment by Hope is the thing with feathers on July 16, 2013 at 8:21pm
Comment by A Former Member on May 22, 2013 at 11:25pm
Comment by Hope is the thing with feathers on May 14, 2013 at 6:42pm

Conquering Vocab

MAY 14 2013 @ 5:46PM

The Economist‘s language blog considers the linguistic legacy of the 1066 Norman invasion:

When the Normans, who spoke a dialect of Old French, ruled over England, they changed the face of English. Over the ensuing two centuries, thousands of Old French words entered English. Because the ruling class spoke Old French, that set of vocabulary became synonymous with the elite. Everyone else used Old English. During this period, England’s society was diglossic: one community, two language sets with distinct social spheres.

Today, English-speakers pick and choose from the different word sets—Latinate (largely Old French borrowings) and Germanic (mostly Old English-derived words)—depending on the occasion. … In informal chat, for example, we might go on to ask something, but in formal speech we’d proceed to inquire. There are hundreds of such pairs: match/correspondmean/intendsee/perceive,speak/converse. Most of us choose one or the other without even thinking about the history behind the split. Germanic words are often described as earthier, simpler, and friendlier. Latinate vocabulary, on the other hand, is lofty and elite. It’s amazing that nine hundred years later, the social and political structure of 12th-century England still affects how we think about and use English.

Comment by Hope is the thing with feathers on May 7, 2013 at 1:47pm

Linguists identify 15,000-year-old ‘ultraconserved words’

Graphic: Hear and see the pronunciation of words from their ancient language families

You, hear me! Give this fire to that old man. Pull the black worm off the bark and give it to the mother. And no spitting in the ashes!

It’s an odd little speech. But if you went back 15,000 years and spoke these words to hunter-gatherers in Asia in any one of hundreds of modern languages, there is a chance they would understand at least some of what you were saying.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/linguists-ide...


Comment by Hope is the thing with feathers on April 15, 2013 at 11:20am

The Advantages Of Uh

APR 15 2013 @ 10:24AM

Research suggests that “filler” words may be more necessary than we realize:

One study had people sit in front of an array of objects, then grab and manipulate a specific sequence of objects, as directed by a computer voice. Sometimes the computer voice said things like, “Move the box.” Other times it added a filler word, saying, “Move the, uh, box.” The task wasn’t complex, and people had no trouble following the directions. Still, they were quicker to follow directions that involved objects they hadn’t yet manipulated when their instructions included an “uh.” To listeners, “uh” indicates that something new, which requires more mental processing on the part of the speaker, is about to be introduced. This helped the study participants put themselves in the right mindset of choosing from the as-yet unfamiliar objects.

So even a word that’s no more than a grunt is helpful. Which is good, because all languages have verbal filler. American Sigh Language has a sign for “um,” and most languages have some monosyllable that has no meaning but indicates a pause.

 

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