Today I learned ...

A forum for discussing linguistics or just languages in general.
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eldin raigmore
korean
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Re: Today I learned ...

Post by eldin raigmore »

It seems* the signs for “sudden death” are the same in ASL as in BSL.
*(I don’t know yet how to look it up to be certain.)
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qwed117
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Re: Today I learned ...

Post by qwed117 »

Some neat things about Sardinian that I'm reading in Michael Allan Jones' Sardinian Syntax (1993)
  • In 1800s, it was possible to form the future from postappending áere < HABERE to the verb, producing something like the Portuguese forms (cf. Sd. a bider l'hamus 'we'll see to it', Pt. dá-lo-ei "I will give it")
  • Apparently Sardinian forms augmentatives using reduplication (cf. Sd. ruiu ruiu "very red", It. rossíssimo). It also has no adverb formation, which makes adverbs a fairly closed class for a European language
  • There's no "-able suffix" in Sardinian either (cf. ki si potet mandicare "edible", lit. "which can be eaten", cf. It. mangiable "edible, eatable")
  • Sardinian likes forming adjectives from noun-adjective compounds, like English's "wet-haired", (Sd. piliffustu)
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My minicity is Zyphrazia and Novland
What is made of man will crumble away.

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Nel Fie
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Re: Today I learned ...

Post by Nel Fie »

(Point 1 largely paraphrase and quotes Wiktionary for this one, because I found it while looking up point 2.)

1. In German, the word "derselbe" ("the same") is actually distinct from inflections of "selber" ("oneself"), but can be broken up/reduced into "selbe" and its declensions in some contexts (e.g. "zur selben Zeit" = "at the same time"). Yet "derselbe" is considered a distinct, separate word - even though etymologically it is a univerbation of der + selbe. I wasn't aware of this, and considered "derselbe" and "selber" one and the same - and I'd wager many other people do too. Perhaps it's a case of prescription getting out of hand?

2. In German, "derselbe" and "gleich" have distinct meanings, yet seem to merge for a lot of people, and have a lot of overlap in certain constructions. The above link explains this too, but "derselbe" is used to refer to the exact same instance of something (e.g. "Denselben Apfel" = "This exact/very same apple"), whereas "gleich" is used for something that is identical, but a separate instance of something (e.g. "Den gleichen Apfel" = "An identical apple", "The same kind of apple").

Yet, at least for me, they are pretty much interchangeable in most situations. E.g.

A: Ich habe beim Spazieren einen Hund gesehen. ("I saw a dog during a walk.")
B: Was für einen? ("What kind?")
A: Einen Husky. ("A husky.")
B: O, Ich habe gestern denselben/den gleichen gesehen. ("Oh, I saw the same one yesterday.")

... and regardless of which one is chosen, it would mean to me "the exact same dog", as opposed to "another dog of the same breed". In fact, if I specifically meant a different dog that was similar, I might try to mark it as "einen gleichen" (litt. "a same one" - replacing the determinate "den" with the undeterminate "einen"), or use a different construction, such as "einen ähnlichen" ("a similar one") or "auch einen Husky"("also a husky").

Inversely, if someone said to me "Ich habe denselben Apfel" ("I have this (same) apple"), I'd think that they meant that they have a similar or identical one at home, but not that it supposed to be the exact same physical object.

(Also note that without researching point 1, I would have written "denselben" as "den selben".)

3. Apparently, Swiss German has reduplication system involving finite-infinitive verb sequences. Wikipedia explains it pretty well so I'll leave the link instead, but it was odd for me as I found out about it, because the reduplication ends up in places where the German lects I'm aware of would put some kind of adposition, and the reduplications look very similar to them in several of the examples given. From the Wikipedia page, for example:

Swiss- Er chunnt jetzt cho ässe
Gloss- He comes now come eat-INF
St.Ger.- Er kommt jetzt Ø essen
Eng.- He’s coming to eat now.

But in Standard German, you could add "zu" (equivalent to the "to" in the English translation), or in Swabian German, you would quite frequently say "zum" (also "to") in the "Ø" spot, creating...

Swabian- Er kommt jetzt zum essen

(n.b. I'm ignoring Swabian orthography outside of the "zum", here.)
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Nel Fie
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Re: Today I learned ...

Post by Nel Fie »

I just learned the technical term for a concept that's been in my head for a while now. It's called "collocative substitution" and describes how you can switch out certain words for basically anything because a broader context (syntactic, semantic, pragmatic or otherwise) basically fills in the intended meaning - or at least allows others to make strong assumptions about what is meant.
The discovery was made via this blogpost, which also provides some English examples: LINK
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