Monthly Archives: February 2011

You could run franchises at railway stations

Is there any finer food than cold roast potatoes? Of course not. You could set up stalls selling them. Called Boxing Day.

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I get the impression palindromes may be significantly easier in German

See http://www.taz.de/1/wahrheit/artikel/1/die-paprika-des-fakirs/.

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Metaphors we don’t get funded by

Calling something a winter, like the AI winter in the 1980s, implies that it will come around again. When, I wonder, is the next AI winter due? And will it be caused by Semantic Web hype? The only winter this … Continue reading

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Another language with /ɬ/

I’m sure someone told me when I was quite young that it was just Welsh that had /ɬ/. Then I read about Zulu. Then I discovered that Icelandic has a word-final /ɬ/. Today I see that Liangshan Yi, which takes … Continue reading

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雎鳩

Read as michigo in Japanese where it means “osprey”. But do ospreys ever go 關關 (guan1guan1)? They have a high-pitched peeping quite inappropriate to a bird of prey. Matt No-Sword translates 雎鳩 as “robot waterfowl”, which you can imagine saying … Continue reading

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Beer words are geographical not genetic

BEER: Faeroese, English, French, Dutch, German, Italian, Greek, Bulgarian, Romanian. ALE: Icelandic, Norwegian, Swedish, Danish, Finnish, Estonian, Latvian, Lithuanian. CERVEZA: Welsh, (Basque), Spanish, Catalan. GARAGARDO: Basque LEANN: Gaelic, Irish. PIVO: Polish, Czech, Slovak, Slovene, Serbocroat, Russian. SÖR: Hungarian. This isn’t … Continue reading

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Native speaker incompetence

On sentence-initial interrogative particles, I said: This is unusual among Indo-European languages in Europe, Latvian being another exception. forgetting the example I knew fine from my native Lothian Region (as it was at the time), “eh”. I don’t recall seeing … Continue reading

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Sentence initial interrogative particle

I’ve only just noticed that Catalan has a sentence-initial interrogative particle, que. This is unusual among Indo-European languages in Europe, Latvian being another exception. In the Latvian case I’d assumed it was due to a Livonian substrate, like Estonian kas. … Continue reading

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