Nifty random natlangery factoids*

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eldin raigmore
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Nifty random natlangery factoids*

Post by eldin raigmore »

I used to think that "leech" meaning "physician or healer" derived from the medieval physicians' custom of using leeches to let the blood of patients.

I just found out it goes the other way!

The original meaning of "leech" was "physician or healer". They started calling those blood-sucking worms "leeches" because the healers used them.
Last edited by eldin raigmore on 29 May 2012 22:14, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Nifty random natlangery factoids

Post by Maximillian »

Really? Until now I thought same as you. [:)]
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Re: Nifty random natlangery factoids

Post by Solarius »

A pegative case.

Oogami, a Ryukyuan language of Japan, contrasts three degrees of consonant length.
Examples from linked PDF:

/fɑɑ/ [fɑː] ‘child’
/f.fɑ/ [fːɑ] ‘grass’
/ff.fɑ/ [fːːɑ] ‘comb=top’

Karaja has a ridiculous consonant inventory.

Tariana has aspiration on nasals and approximates. Tariana also has a lot of clitics, and a fused tense-evidentiality system.

Kobon has a very limited number of verbs.

Qiang does some interesting stuff to, although I'll save it for Nortaneous since I found out about it through him.
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Re: Nifty random natlangery factoids

Post by Xing »

Solarius wrote:A pegative case.

Oogami, a Ryukyuan language of Japan, contrasts three degrees of consonant length.
Examples from linked PDF:

/fɑɑ/ [fɑː] ‘child’
/f.fɑ/ [fːɑ] ‘grass’
/ff.fɑ/ [fːːɑ] ‘comb=top’

Karaja has a ridiculous consonant inventory.

Tariana has aspiration on nasals and approximates. Tariana also has a lot of clitics, and a fused tense-evidentiality system.

Kobon has a very limited number of verbs.

Qiang does some interesting stuff to, although I'll save it for Nortaneous since I found out about it through him.
What's the factoids here, and what are the truths? Is the existence of a pegative case a factoid? That Tariana has a fused tense-evidentiality system? Is the consonant inventory mentioned on the Karaja wikipedia page the "ridiculous" one? Is it wikipedia that in this case is spreading a factoid?
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Re: Nifty random natlangery factoids

Post by CMunk »

Backformations are always funny:

The danish word for "propeller" is propel. The plural is propeller, so the original loan (from english) was (re-)analyzed as being the plural form. The same sort of thing is happening to kilometer, for which some people use kilomet in singular (although this is still frowned upon).
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Re: Nifty random natlangery factoids

Post by Ànradh »

CMunk wrote:Backformations are always funny:

The danish word for "propeller" is propel. The plural is propeller, so the original loan (from english) was (re-)analyzed as being the plural form. The same sort of thing is happening to kilometer, for which some people use kilomet in singular (although this is still frowned upon).
Something similar happened with 'pea' in English, if I remember right. I think it was a French lone that was plural but used in English as a singular, so 'peas' is a plural twice.
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Re: Nifty random natlangery factoids

Post by Ralph »

Lodhas wrote:Something similar happened with 'pea' in English, if I remember right. I think it was a French lone that was plural but used in English as a singular, so 'peas' is a plural twice.
Not quite. Unless I'm remembering wrong, the original form of the word in English was pease (I think you're right about it being a loan from French though), and pea is a back formation from that, because pease sounds like a plural.
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Re: Nifty random natlangery factoids

Post by Solarius »

Xing wrote:
Solarius wrote:A pegative case.

Oogami, a Ryukyuan language of Japan, contrasts three degrees of consonant length.
Examples from linked PDF:

/fɑɑ/ [fɑː] ‘child’
/f.fɑ/ [fːɑ] ‘grass’
/ff.fɑ/ [fːːɑ] ‘comb=top’

Karaja has a ridiculous consonant inventory.

Tariana has aspiration on nasals and approximates. Tariana also has a lot of clitics, and a fused tense-evidentiality system.

Kobon has a very limited number of verbs.

Qiang does some interesting stuff to, although I'll save it for Nortaneous since I found out about it through him.
What's the factoids here, and what are the truths? Is the existence of a pegative case a factoid? That Tariana has a fused tense-evidentiality system? Is the consonant inventory mentioned on the Karaja wikipedia page the "ridiculous" one? Is it wikipedia that in this case is spreading a factoid?
I don't quite understand the semantic difference between truth and factoid. I can't confirm the factuality of Karaja's wiki page.
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Re: Nifty random natlangery factoids

Post by MrKrov »

Most definitions I've seen include a primary meaning of "popular bullshit spread around as fact because it's in media" and/or a lesser meaning of "brief, insipid fact". (I may be paraphrasing here.) I believe he's referring to the former.
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Re: Nifty random natlangery factoids

Post by Solarius »

MrKrov wrote:Most definitions I've seen include a primary meaning of "popular bullshit spread around as fact because it's in media" and/or a lesser meaning of "brief, insipid fact". (I may be paraphrasing here.) I believe he's referring to the former.
Ah, I understand. I've only heard the latter.
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Re: Nifty random natlangery factoids

Post by Ànradh »

Ralph wrote:Not quite. Unless I'm remembering wrong, the original form of the word in English was pease (I think you're right about it being a loan from French though), and pea is a back formation from that, because pease sounds like a plural.
Ah, that might be it.
Sin ar Pàrras agus nì sinne mar a thogras sinn. Choisinn sinn e agus ’s urrainn dhuinn ga loisgeadh.
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Re: Nifty random natlangery factoids

Post by Stammalor »

Swedish have taken in words from english and have in different ways dealt with the plural.

The swedish word keps comes from the english "caps", that is the plural form. But in swedish keps is the singular, the plural is kepsar. People completely bypassed the original singular form.

The swedish word Lagom (wich many swedes are very proud of) means something like "in the general area of the right amount of something" (if that makes any sense). So if some one wants some food and some one else asked "how much" he could answer lagom (not too much, not too little, but not neceserily the exact right amount, more in the general area).
Anyway, the point is that some believe that the word comes from the phrase laget runt/om which is something you say when something is passed around and everybody gets a little. It could be a boule of candy or something. So the word lagom word comes from what you say when there is enought so every one gets a little, nifty right? But it is totally untrue I have now been told. It simple comes from old norse and is the plural dative form av lag which means "law". As simple as that
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Re: Nifty random natlangery factoids

Post by Systemzwang »

Stammalor wrote:Swedish have taken in words from english and have in different ways dealt with the plural.

The swedish word keps comes from the english "caps", that is the plural form. But in swedish keps is the singular, the plural is kepsar. People completely bypassed the original singular form.

The swedish word Lagom (wich many swedes are very proud of) means something like "in the general area of the right amount of something" (if that makes any sense). So if some one wants some food and some one else asked "how much" he could answer lagom (not too much, not too little, but not neceserily the exact right amount, more in the general area).
Anyway, the point is that some believe that the word comes from the phrase laget runt/om which is something you say when something is passed around and everybody gets a little. It could be a boule of candy or something. So the word lagom word comes from what you say when there is enought so every one gets a little, nifty right? But it is totally untrue I have now been told. It simple comes from old norse and is the plural dative form av lag which means "law". As simple as that
I've never heard that folk etymology. The usual folk etymology is lag om, "law about". Which also is wrong, but closer to the actual etymology.

Another analogy to "keps" is "kex", from cakes, but that is neuter and so has no separate plural form.
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Re: Nifty random natlangery factoids

Post by Xing »

Systemzwang wrote:
Stammalor wrote: (not too much, not too little, but not neceserily the exact right amount, more in the general area).
Anyway, the point is that some believe that the word comes from the phrase laget runt/om which is something you say when something is passed around and everybody gets a little. It could be a boule of candy or something. So the word lagom word comes from what you say when there is enought so every one gets a little, nifty right? But it is totally untrue I have now been told. It simple comes from old norse and is the plural dative form av lag which means "law". As simple as that
I've never heard that folk etymology. The usual folk etymology is lag om, "law about". Which also is wrong, but closer to the actual etymology.
I've never heard this folk etymology, only the one given by Stammalor.
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Re: Nifty random natlangery factoids

Post by Stammalor »

Also, if you want to talk about how langauges try to incorparate new words that don't really fit the target langauge very well then you can look how swedish deal with the english word "zombie" (well, swedes took it from english and english from somewhere else, the Carribean I think). How to spell it, pronounce and conjugate differs from speaker to speaker depending on how you prefer it. There is no real standard way of doing it.


Alternative 1: Zombie (singular), Zombies (plural), Zombien (Definite singular), Zombiesarna (Definite plural). Very english with a wierd Definite plural with both an english plural and a swedish one.
Alternative 2: Zombi (singular), Zombier (plural), Zombin (Definite singular), Zombierna (Definite plural). Very swedish
Alternative 3: Zombi (singular), Zombisar (plural), Zombin (Definite singular), Zombisarna (Definite plural) creating a completely new irregular plural! But still quite swedish
Alternative 4 (Observe, I am a bit uncertain about this one but I think it is about right): Zombi (singular), Zombi (plural), Zombin (definite singular), Zombina (Definite plural)

Also, all the Z's are pronounced like S'es
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Re: Nifty random natlangery factoids

Post by Ceresz »

Xing wrote:
Systemzwang wrote: I've never heard that folk etymology. The usual folk etymology is lag om, "law about". Which also is wrong, but closer to the actual etymology.
I've never heard this folk etymology, only the one given by Stammalor.
I have only heard the dative plural etymology as well.
Stammalor wrote: Alternative 1: Zombie (singular), Zombies (plural), Zombien (Definite singular), Zombiesarna (Definite plural). Very english with a wierd Definite plural with both an english plural and a swedish one.
I hate to admit it, but this is how I would do it. Not using the s-plural in a few recent loanwords like fans feels a bit weird. It would wouldn't surprise me if Swedish (at least "Standard" Swedish) will end up fully embracing the s-plural in a few recent borrowings. I just hope it won't spread to other words, but who knows.
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Re: Nifty random natlangery factoids

Post by Stammalor »

I hate to admit it, but this is how I would do it. Not using the s-plural in a few recent loanwords like fans feels a bit weird. It would wouldn't surprise me if Swedish (at least "Standard" Swedish) will end up fully embracing the s-plural in a few recent borrowings. I just hope it won't spread to other words, but who knows.
I thought that we were making fans into a mass/uncountable noun.
Det är bara fans i publiken
Hon har bara lite fans
Han är en av fansen
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Re: Nifty random natlangery factoids*

Post by eldin raigmore »

Xing wrote:What's the factoids here, and what are the truths? Is the existence of a pegative case a factoid? That Tariana has a fused tense-evidentiality system? Is the consonant inventory mentioned on the Karaja wikipedia page the "ridiculous" one? Is it wikipedia that in this case is spreading a factoid?
Solarius wrote:I don't quite understand the semantic difference between truth and factoid.
MrKrov wrote:Most definitions I've seen include a primary meaning of "popular bullshit spread around as fact because it's in media" and/or a lesser meaning of "brief, insipid fact". (I may be paraphrasing here.) I believe he's referring to the former.
Solarius wrote:Ah, I understand. I've only heard the latter.
*I meant the second definition: : a briefly stated and usually trivial fact.

I have edited the original post to include a note about that.

I think we already have a thread for "linguistic quackery", don't we? If so, that's where "first definition factoids" should go, rather than here.
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Re: Nifty random natlangery factoids*

Post by MrKrov »

No, I don't believe we do.
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Re: Nifty random natlangery factoids

Post by Nortaneous »

Solarius wrote:Qiang does some interesting stuff to, although I'll save it for Nortaneous since I found out about it through him.
Allowed final clusters in Qiang are either the same as or a subset of allowed initial clusters, and the only allowed C1s in a cluster (all clusters are two consonants) are /ʂ x χ/. However, /ʂ/ is realized as before /t d/, and as [ɕ] before /pi pe bi tɕ dʑ/, and there's regressive voicing assimilation. So, you can have both xɬi̯ex (xɬi̯exbuʐ 'loess') and tʂʰexɬ 'sip', both ɣlu 'roll' and əɣl 'upright', etc.

The language tends toward monosyllabic words, usually by dropping schwas: (also note final consonant mutation: pʰ kʰ dz dʐ b Cʰ > ɸ~f x z l w C)
sə 'tree' + pʰə 'forest' > səf 'tree/shrub'
me˞ː 'rain' + kʰə˞ 'fall' > me˞x 'frost'
mɑ 'NEG' + dʐə 'able' > mɑl 'not able'
sə 'IMP' + tɕʰə 'drink, eat wet foods' > sətɕ
So that might have something to do with the odd cluster thing, although the grammar I have doesn't take any guesses.

Qiang also has rhoticity harmony:
ʀuɑ + kʰe˞ > ʀuɑ˞kʰe˞
me + we˞ > me˞we˞
(Only /i e ə a/ appear with rhoticity in roots, but all vowels can take it, since the first-person plural marker for verbs is -˞.)
Last edited by Nortaneous on 02 Jun 2012 09:20, edited 1 time in total.
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