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2015-03-22 21:11:55 -0500 asked a question Freud called the pun the lowest form of humor. What are urban parrots addicted to movies called?


2015-03-22 20:49:40 -0500 answered a question Well-known phrases

Since "cliche" originates from the lead poured font used over and over to print the letter or symbol and is fragile. How about "broken cliche"?

2015-03-22 20:39:33 -0500 answered a question A neologism for the governance by grandmothers

Do it in German. "Erzvater" is "patriarch" in German. Granny is "Oma".Try "Erzoma". Short and unique. Pronounced "Ertsoma." We use a lot of borrowed German words: Zeitgeist, Angst, etc. By the way, you might enjoy the ancdote of a friend, a university librarian, who was asked by his psychiatrist wife to research American Samoa customs. She had a patient who kept talking about his grandmother. He found that it was what you would perhaps now call an "Erzoma society" and the wife could then concentrate the patient's real problems.

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2015-03-22 20:12:36 -0500 answered a question silent letters

Languages evolve. Some sounds disappear. "Enough" was once with a gh gutteral sound which no longer exists in Standard English but still is in Scottish and Irish lough or loch. In bough it is silent. In Humphrey Clinker the Welsh maid in her letters spells all the gh words with an f. In many Spanish dialects the final s and d become silent. A Cuban teacher is said to have warned her class, "Clase no-otros no no- comemo- la- ese-!" gobbling up all her esses, saying "Class we do not gobble up our esses!!" and proceeding to do it anyway. If that dialect of Andalucia and the Caribbean had become the literary Spanish then the s would be a silent letter in many words officially! I believe Danish has a lot of silent d's. Writing systems are full of inertia and take a long time to catch up with the evolution of the language.

Also, a language adopting the alphabet of a completely different language may just ignore the spelling that maintains the original letter. I believe that Persian ignores some of the letters in the original Arabic alphabet andI wouldn't be surprised if Urdu does the same. The Cyrillic alphabet used by Russian, Bulgarian and Serbian represented the sounds of a medieval South Slavic language that missionary Saints Cyrill and Methodius tried to adapt the Greek alphabet to. Some of the letter made no sense in Russian and the country had to wait for a revolution to straighten that out.

2015-03-22 19:51:04 -0500 answered a question What is the term for when you don't distinguish the languages you speak?

I call it the "spatula effect". I wish I remember who wrote in his memoirs (Moss Hart?) that he was embarrassed in school as a young boy to use the word "spatula" because he thought it was Yiddish which was spoken at home. Also, in my case, my younger brother for show- and- tell took a flower into school with the bulb showing and proceeded to explain that our mother planted "onions" to get flowers much to the teacher's surprise. (The word for "bulb" in Hungarian is "hagyma" which is the same word for "onion." Enjoy your polyglotism. The areas of the brain for language are separated for visual, sound and writing. Also, Freud in - Psychopathology of Everyday Life explains why a word gets blocked. ("The Freudian block)Your Chinese word may bring up an unpleasant association by sound or picture and the brain goes fishing for a more pleasant choice.

2015-03-22 19:38:09 -0500 answered a question Writing systems and geolinguistics

Get yourself trained in Ur-writing system(s): for Semitic Babylonian which goes into Aramaic, Hebrew, Geez, eventually Greek and Latin; Sanskrit for Indian languages. Then, there is Chinese. You then might get a good graduate fellowship for your doctorate. Also, your general interest seems to touch on the neurology of reading and writing. The French scholars are into this aspect. Look at "Reading in the Brain" by Stanislaus Dehaene (Viking,2009) with an extensive bibliography. Go study in Paris!

2015-03-22 19:19:16 -0500 asked a question My students of ESL from Guatemala all notice that bilinguals with Spanish and a Mayan language or only a "dialecto" learn English very fast. Any explanations?

I checked a Quiche grammar and there are glottal stops in Quiche, the sh sound exists (not in Spanish) and the o umlaut of the English -er or -ir of "Thursday" My Spanish learners often say "Day after Wednesday" to make that word plain. On the other hand, does a bilingual person find a third language easier because of sociological forces of being less uptight? Brain neurons ready to form new connections? Or, is this just an urban legend?

2015-03-22 19:01:05 -0500 commented answer Raising a trilingual child - Thinking about not using my minority mother tongue with the child but rather English

The youngest Berlitz child.of the Berlitz Schools of foreign languages. His mother spoke English to him. His father German.The governess spoke French. The aunt, Hungarian. The uncle, Spanish. He suddenly spoke gibberish only. He surmised that each person had his own unique language.It was his turn.

2015-03-22 18:53:37 -0500 asked a question What do you call a parrot that speaks many languages?

A Polly-glot.