linguistic roots


NativLang has an interesting series of videos on the history of writing. This video is about the (partial) development of vowels in Arabic, Hebrew, and other Semitic languages. (One reason that vowels aren’t as necessary in Semitic languages is because of their unique system of triconsonantal roots.)

“Horse” and “Car”

The English word horse derives from the Proto-Germanic *hrussą, with metathesis of the /r/ and /u/.  This, in turn, derives from the Proto-Indo-European *ḱr̥s-ós, a nominal derivative of *ḱers- “to run”.

In Proto-Celtic, this became *karros, with the meaning “wagon”.  Through Gaulish, this produced the Latin carrus, which, via Norman French, produced the English word car

Another derivative of this PIE root was the verb form *ḱr̥s-é-ti, which produced the Latin currere “to run”, which is the source of the English words courier and current.

Surprisingly, cart is from a completely different root, despite having a similar sound and meaning to carCart derives from Old Norse kartr (wagon, cart), ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *gretH “to tie”.  “Cradle” and “crate” are also from the same root.

riju-v  asked:

So, I heard you're the new ambassador for the Netherlands! I'm glad because I've had this burning question for a while and now there's someone to ask it to. How similar, would you say, are Dutch (the language) and English?

I got a two-fold answer to this! 

  • Out of common Germanic languages, it is probably the closest to English.
  • It is not quite so similar that an English person would be able to guess at or follow a Dutch conversation (e.g. like how a Dutch person might be able to have a vague idea of what a German person talks about, even if they don’t fully understand). 

Dutch & English have pretty close linguistic roots! And this is reflected in some of the words and grammar. But when it comes to pronunciation the difference is just a bit too big for an English speaker to follow along easily. 
Some of my English speaking friends have commented on my Dutch by saying that “It sounds like I keep being on the edge of understanding something, like it should sound familiar, but I can’t actually understand anything.”


Something that is interesting to add is Frisian, the language spoken in Friesland (a province in the north of the Netherlands). The language may sound close to Dutch, but should be considered an entirely separate language. And as a separate language it is even closer to English than Dutch is!  

It is often even considered to be linguistically the closest language to English! How close? I’ll take a quote from this page

Pretty close! And it used to be much closer back in the days of Old English and Old Frisian, though these days the languages have diverged due to influences of Dutch on Frisian, and North Germanic/Romance language on English. [x]

I’m however, no linguist, and a little out my depth explaining too much, so if this sounds interesting I recommend checking out some of these pages: [x] [x] [x (including some info about West Flemish too, which I didn’t really go into]

I’d also like to invite the other Dutch Ambassador @phyripo​ to add to this if they’d like! Since I recall they study historical linguistics and they can probably elaborate a lot better than I can on this subject! 

- Various English words that come from Dutch [x] [x] [x]
- 90% of Dutch people can speak English! The world’s highest for countries that do not have English as an official language.  [x] [original report]
- The Dutch language loves stealing words or expressions from English and in-cooperating them into sentences [some examples]

Al-Muhaymin                          (المهيمن)

Al-Muhaymin (المهيمن) is the name of Allah SWT that means The Overseer, The Guardian, and The Witness

Al-Muhaymin (المهيمن) is:

  • The One who ensures well-being
  • The One who is ever watchful
  • The One who offers peace and security

“This Beautiful Divine Name necessitates the ability to fulfill people’s benefits from the view-points of knowledge and power.

He, All-High, knows what was, what is, what will be and what is not: if it were to be how it would be. He knows all secrets that no human being can ever see. He knows your secret and public things: things that you keep secret for yourself or things that you announce.”

(“Linguistically, the root of muhaymin also means to extend a wing, like a hen protecting her chicks.”)

And to Allah belong the best names, so invoke Him by them (7:180).

The Hebrew term for patience is savlanut. It shares a linguistic root with sevel, which means “suffering,” and sabal, which means “a porter.” What could these three words possibly share in common? The answer is that being patient means bearing the burden of your own suffering. You tell yourself, I can bear these feelings on my inner shoulders. Holding them aloft and not crumpling under their weight, you are patient.
—  Alan Morinis

I call myself a radfem 99% of the times to be understood by anti-feminist women and I despise this not bc I despise actual radfems but bc I feel like I’m lying and appropriating a term that isn’t actually mine to claim. Women like me, or Meghan Murphy or Julie Bindel are liberal feminists. Too fucking bad (for radfems and for us) the majority of those who believe themselves to be liberal feminists are actively trying to destroy everything feminism used to stand for. So I call myself a “radfem” bc being against male violance, rape, exploitation of women’s labor is what is considered radical nowdays. It’s not.

  • baby: mm- m- mm-
  • mom: mama? say mama!
  • baby: Morphology is the identification, analysis, and description of the structure of a given language's morphemes and other linguistic units, such as root words, affixes, parts of speech, intonations and stresses, or implied context. In contrast, morphological typology is the classification of languages according to their use of morphemes, while lexicology is the study of those words forming a language's wordstock.

anonymous asked:

What is the correct ways to use the words Hispanic and Latin?


 replied to your 



would you be able to make a little post about correctly using those terms? I get a bit confused!! :)

No problem, they’re actually very easy to understand.

First, Hispanic is an ethnicity, and latin@ is a very unreliable term when talking about race. Actually they both are.

The word Hispanic means “of or relating to Spain”. When you say “Hispanic”, you’re traditionally referring to “Spain and the areas that had Spanish colonization / Spanish influence”… and by influence, it typically means architecture, language, religion, and culture.

So, people use Hispanic to mean “someone who is descended from those touched by Spanish culture”.

Where that gets dicey is that it applies so widely. 

Hispanic includes all Spanish-speaking countries (INCLUDING SPAIN), as well as Haiti (partially because the Dominican Republic/Haiti are on the the Isle of Hispaniola / La Isla Española; lit. “Spanish island” where Columbus landed), the Philippines (again partially as a former colony), Guam (claimed by Spain in 1565), as well as parts of the modern day U.S. like California, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, Colorado, Texas (which were part of the Viceroyalty of New Spain), as well as Florida, and at one time, New Orleans.

Hispanic is considered an ethnicity because it talks about a group of people linked by a common cultural (and in some cases linguistic) background.

It is not dependent upon race; you can be a Spaniard and be “Hispanic”, you can be afrocuban@ and be “Hispanic”. Given that not even Spain is not 100% any race, it’s not a good enough term to use for racial discussions, but it is useful when talking about collective experiences or language. Hispanic is more a discussion of cultural roots, rather than racial ones.

As for latin@ it’s also not a good term for describing race or ethnicity because it also has a very broad usage.

The term “Latin America” came about due to French, Spanish, Portuguese explorers / conquerors who landed in the New World. The term meant that they were lands that were colonized by people sharing in the Romance Languages (French, Spanish, and Portuguese) which all derive from Latin.

Why it’s not a good term to use without knowing it is because latin@ can refer not only to the Spanish-speaking countries, but also Haiti (French), Brazil (Portuguese), Jamaica (British), the Lesser Antilles (Dutch/British/French etc), the Bahamas (British), the Virgin Islands (Danish/British), the Cayman Islands (British), Belize (British), Suriname (Dutch), and Guyana (Dutch/British)

It also refers to areas that fall under U.S. territories or contested areas like Puerto Rico or the Falklands / las Malvinas.

When you equate latin@ with inherently being Spanish-speaking, it’s not totally correct.

As a racial term, it’s not totally useful because Latin America has elements of every race in it: white, black, Asian, and of course, indigenous/Native.

So by definition, you could be Argentinian or Cuban and be latin@, just as easily as  you could be Haitian or Brazilian.

And especially given that some areas were used extensively in the slave trade of Africans or the Natives like Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Brazil… you can have varying levels of African roots, or indigenous roots like Peru or Mexico, or Asian roots like Peru, Ecuador, and Panama… as well as white roots from the descendants of white people from all over Europe.

The important thing is that you just acknowledge that no one term is all-inclusive. In other words, because there’s such a jumble of racial roots, using a term like latin@ can sort of lump everyone together and feel disingenuous when there is such a mix.

Both terms are used to help categorize people linked by culture and language, but should not be understood as a racial category in and of itself, where you can have people who are mulat@ or indígena or mestiz@ 

You can be latin@ and have more white roots, or be full of indigenous roots, or African roots. And since it all works out like a ven diagram, there can be some overlap, or there might not be much or any overlap.

Generally, because there is so much variation in terms of cultural roots, linguistic roots… not to mention the physical aspects (skin color, hair color, hair texture, eye color…) it’s not fair to use either one of those terms as a term for race because it’s a bit like talking about nationality; people might share a lot of genealogy or linguistic dialects/characteristics, but neither “Hispanic” nor “latin@” should be used indiscriminately, or to describe people as if everyone were in a monolithic and homogeneous group.

I hope that makes sense?

Dale, Mirkwood and Erebor - can we get some attention please?

At the moment I’m spending a lot of time writing negotiations between the Woodland Realm and the two (re)nascent powers of Erebor and Dale after the Battle of the Five Armies. It’s quite an interesting corner of Middle-Earth over the last decades of the Third Age, but it’s never again the focus of attention in the books, which is a shame. Compared to many of the other realms still in existence at the time, we get very little to go on where those three kingdoms are concerned. I’ve been trying to figure out what crumbs we get in canon so I can make guesses about what happened in the years between The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, but a lot of it are stabs in the dark. Still, it’s fun to look at what I can find, and try to extrapolate from there. Essentially I’m info-dumping here to keep my references and headcanon in place.

Keep reading

anonymous asked:

Hi! I don't have a Tumblr, but am subscribed to your RSS feed. :-) With regard to the "folks" vs. "folx" question: I first saw the "folx" term in the anarchist community around 12-15 years ago and have seen it commonly used there since. I would start there (U.S. and Western/Central Europe) if you want to search for linguistic roots. Good luck, and do share what you find!

Thanks for sharing! That’s super interesting to know - the spaces I first heard it in were queer spaces that definitely had overlap with local anarchist groups, so I wouldn’t be surprised by a connection there.

The Names of the Mother
Mary. She is also Devi, Parvati, Ma, Ma'at, Durga Ma, Amba Ma, A-ma, Matsu, Mother Mary, Pachamama, Modron,Terra Mater, Eorþan Mador, Yamaya, Maski, Tara, Fatima, and Tiamat. She is the forgotten consort of Yahweh, Asherah. Her oldest name is Ama. Called by many names she is mother, the divine feminine. She is first called and the oldest. It matters not the name you give her. She is mother love, creation, birth, inclusion, healing, compassion and kindness. Her name is even found in Om the sacred syllable. Say it out loud as you exhale. You say O ah ma. The Indo European linguistic root for “love” is also “ama”. Strangely universal this powerful syllable. Mother, Ama, Om,
The pronunciation of “gif”

Recently, I have read a post where people argued about the pronunciation of the word “gif”. However, there were many mistakes in their arguments, as most of them failed to look at linguistic backgrounds of English. The following post will discuss both pronunciations from a linguistic point of view.

Now the creator of gif actually stated that the g is pronounced soft /dʒ/ (source 1, source 2). Despite this, people have still went on to argue about its pronunciation. If you are looking for the “canon” pronunciation, then there is your answer. However, this answer is not linguistic. Below, I will take a look at some linguistic arguments.

First off, what root the word came from does not determine whether letters are pronounced hard or soft. Some people have argued that because the “g” came from the word “graphics”, and it should thus be pronounced hard. This is not a valid argument. Take for example, the word “physics”. The <c> in the word is a hard /k/, but is nevertheless /s/ in the word “physician”. However, roots of words do have an effect on how vowels are pronounced. For instance, the portmanteau of “lithe” and “slimy”, “slithy”, could be pronounced with a long i sound /aɪ/, despite the digraph <th> that comes after it. This is because of the lack of a single letter in the Latin alphabet that can represent this sound. In older texts, the sound would have been written with the letter “þ” or “ð”. There are other arguments for this, such as historical vowel length, but, without going off on a tangent too far, let us take a look at why the root of the word does not determine whether the letters are hard or soft.

In native English words, orthographic (written) <g> is always hard. Examples include the ones those who pronounce “gif” with a hard /g/ give: “give”, “get”, “geese”, etc. The softening of “g” is actually a Romance occurrence. You would find that “g” is pronounced soft before <i> and <e> in Romance languages like French, Spanish and Portuguese - that is, the same as the letter “j”, for the case of these 3 languages. As we can see from the native English words above, this didn’t really affect English. However, English has had many words of Latin/French origin. So much in fact, that some people think that English descended from Latin. It is important to be clear that English did not descend from Latin, and is not, by definition, a Romance language. However, as said, there are many words that are borrowed into English which are of Romance origin, and since the “soft g” is a Romance occurrence, it has entered into the English lexicon as well. So much, that anglophones may generalize it to words in general, and think of it as a general rule, thinking instead that hard g’s before <i> and <e> are exceptions. As some of you may know, I am a fan of Japanese chess - shogi. The <g> is pronounced hard there, but nevertheless, most of the anglophones have pronounced the word with a soft /dʒ/ when I showed them the word, until I corrected them. Therefore, to sum up the point here: g-softening is a Romance occurrence and does not apply to native English words. However, due to the number of Romance loanwords into English, g-softening appears in English a lot, and some people even generalize it as a rule.

So, would you pronounce “gif” with a hard of soft g? That probably depends on whether you want to give the word some Romance-feel of English, or whether you want to show the Germanic roots English has. Personal preference aside, which pronunciation you use, is up to you.

rittie  asked:

italy also refers to france as big brother. it's just a nickname. spain and romano are not biologically related lmfao.

Italy /does/ refer to France as big brother, yes, more than once. He doesn’t refer to anyone /else/ as big brother except Romano, Spain, and France. He doesn’t call Germany that, or Japan, he doesn’t call Hungary his sister even though they lived in the same house, etc. Thus, we can conclude that all three of them are his brothers. He calls them so even into adulthood, as seen by the scene when he is (mostly) grown up and goes to visit his big brother France (and learns some /interesting/ things). And while France does proclaim himself “big brother of all Europe”, he defends Italy despite picking on other people, which shows a strong sibling affection. So yes, Italy, France, Spain, and Romano are all brothers, which makes sense because Italian, French, and Spain all have the same linguistic roots.

anonymous asked:

I'm trying to create names for elves that weren't mentioned or named by Tolkien but I don't know where to start. Do you know of any sources that can help me?

There are actually a ton of “elvish name generators” online, though most of them aren’t what I’d consider reliable. But, a few resources that I think you’ll find helpful are:

  • The Elf Name Generator: Lets you narrow down your preferences quite a bit (for example, I wanted to find a name for a young female with “wintery” names, and still had dozens of results), and takes the linguistics pretty seriously (breaking down the linguistic roots of each name for you.) Seems to be limited to Sindarin, though.
  • Merin Essi ar Quenteli!’s Name Lists: This website actually has resources for creating names in several of Tolkien’s languages, including a few elvish languages. It both helps you construct names of your own (listing common prefixes/suffixes) and also - depending on the language - lists many “read-made” names by theme.
  • “Blogging into Mordor: Finding the Perfect Name for your Elf”: This article is written for LOTRO players looking to pick a realistic name for their elf characters. Especially helpful if you’d like to build the name yourself!

If anybody else has a good resource, be sure to add it as a reply, or in a reblog (please don’t send anything to my inbox, it’s so full that I will never get to your suggestion!)

On Singular “They” in The Art of Language Invention

As we get closer to the release of The Art of Language Invention, I wanted to share one small anecdote about the editing process.

When you publish a book, there are various phases of editing/reviewing the book undergoes after you submit your very first draft. At one stage fairly early on, the book is reviewed by a professional copyeditor who isn’t editing for content, but for word choice, punctuation, grammar, and style. It’s at this stage that most of my underlining was removed from the text (I guess they don’t do underlining anymore…?), and every instance of “afterwards” and “backwards” was changed to “afterward” and “backward” (how is that a thing?!). I swallowed my pride and accepted most of these changes.

In addition to these minor changes, though, every instance of singular “they” was changed either to “he” or “he or she”. That I wasn’t so happy with. I went back and forth on whether to say anything about it, but my wife thisallegra really encouraged me to say something, so I did. In an e-mail that also discussed other issues with the edits (there were a lot of copyediting issues that had to do with font choice and formatting), I wrote the following to the team I was corresponding with at Penguin Random House:

As a linguist and native English speaker, I have rolled my eyes at but nevertheless accepted many of the stylistic changes suggested in this copyedited manuscript (with my linguist’s hat on, though, there is simply no non-stylistic difference between “each other” and “one another”). One I feel I should fight for, though, is the inclusion of singular “they”. Where possible, it’s certainly acceptable to use plural nouns to license plural “they”, but aside from that, using either “he or she” or alternating pronouns is simply not an acceptable solution for the simple reason that “he or she” is not inclusive. “He or she” refers only to those who accept “he” or “she” as a personal pronoun, and there are many who do not. To the extent that we accept that there are those who would be put out by being referred to as either “he” or “she” (and I believe we must accept it), using “he or she” or alternating between “he” and “she” every other paragraph excludes those individuals, and that’s something I don’t wish to do—especially as a simple, acceptable, and inclusive solution exists.

With my linguist’s hat on, there is no possible argument opposing singular “they” that I would accept. Singular “they” is not new (it is at least five hundred years old), so there can be no claim that it is a modern innovation: it is not. If it’s tradition, then it’s a privileged tradition, and one that does not have its roots in linguistic fact, as is the case with false rules like “don’t split an infinitive”. It may sound off to some readers, but their numbers are dwindling. Before long it will be the norm in writing, as it already is in speech.

The use of plural pronouns in singular contexts is far from rare, cross-linguistically. Using a plural second or third person pronoun is one of the most common ways to create an honorific or formal second person singular pronoun. In French, vous continues to be both a standard second person plural pronoun and a second person singular formal pronoun. It still takes second person plural agreement, but it’s understood to be singular, and it’s accepted even in formal writing. The same phenomena is seen in Chichewa and countless other languages. We see a similar phenomenon in Spanish, where a third person singular pronoun usted is used as a form of formal second person singular address, despite the fact that it continues to take third person singular agreement.

These linguistic innovations are far from necessary (each language mentioned has a standard method for making reference to singular entities of all persons), but language is not merely utilitarian. These strategies and others like them have arisen simply as a way of showing respect to the person one is addressing or referencing. In effect, that is precisely why singular “they” exists. It is disrespectful to refer to a human as “it” (another gender-neutral option), but it’s also disrespectful to exclude any group when they ought not be excluded. As this is not only a book about language, but about the history of language and the very nuts and bolts that constitute a language, it seems like we have an opportunity to champion what should, in my mind, be a simple and uncontroversial shift, and I believe we should seize that opportunity.

Thus, I would like to keep all my original instances of singular “they”. Where they can be avoided by the use of plural nouns, that’s fine, but otherwise I think most of the changes proposed are unnecessary. If this is impossible, I’d like the opportunity to rewrite each of the relevant sentences to try to avoid the use of a pronoun altogether. It will probably be difficult, but it’s worth my time, as I want this book to accurately reflect who I am as a person.

I decided to share this bit of the e-mail with everyone for two reasons. The first is the outcome.

After I sent this e-mail off, there was no back-and-forth: They said this was a point of view they hadn’t considered before, and they accepted it entirely, and agreed to reinsert all of my singular “they”’s. I think this is a good illustrative example. Sometimes the powers that be do have an agenda and will not bend without a fight. Often, though, it may be the case that they just never heard a good reason for doing things differently—and when they do hear one, they may be just as happy to change. If that’s the case, all you need to do is communicate. :)

The second reason, though, is that in recording the audio book for The Art of Language Invention, I spotted an instance of “his” that did not get changed back. :( It was just an oversight on all our parts; it’ll be corrected in future printings. But I did double check my original MS, and, indeed, I had it with “their” originally. The relevant portion occurs on page 181 and reads as follows:

a worker (who, presumably, will be using his hands while doing the work in question)

Where it says “his” now it originally read “their”, and we just missed it when changing all the pronouns back. :( Sorry about that! Just wanted to let you know it was an honest-to-goodness error, and not intentional.

Eight days until The Art of Language Invention hits bookshelves and e-shelves! ~:D


On the etymology of Germany, Deutschland and its many other names.

By Roots and Routes: