Here in Finland, we have an alternative saying we use alongside “rest in peace”

“kepeät mullat”

it literally translates to “light soil”

we wish that in your post-mortem state, at least the soil on your coffin isn’t uncomfortably heavy


 Jae, sakiric!

That’s good morning in this week’s #WeeklyTongue: K’iche’ Mayan. 

K’iche’ is a Mayan language spoken by over 2 million people in Guatemala, around 300,000 of whom are monolingual. 

There are 5 main dialects of K’iche’. When it comes to pronunciation, some dialects still use the 10 vowel sound system of previous varieties of the language. However, other dialects use a 6 vowel sound system. Interesting, huh?

Verbs in K’iche’ can be quite complex, with both possible prefixes and suffixes to denote subject, aspect, mood, and status (for example, is the verb transitive or intransitive? Indicative or imperative?).

The traditional word order of the language is verb-object-subject, and despite language purists attempts to maintain this, the influence of Spanish (subject-verb-object) means that many speakers alternate between different word orders.

Want to start speaking K’iche’ Mayan?

Jae, sakiric - good morning

Sakiric, nan - good morning (to a woman)

Sakiric, tat - good morning (to a man)

A utz a wach? - How are you?

Utz ya, maltiox chawe. E ri awe, a utz a wach? - I’m doing well thanks. How are you?

Chwek chic - see you tomorrow

Ch’abej chic - speak later

Cawil awib -take care (informal)

Taking it further…

Some K’iche’ phrases:

Info about the grammar of K’iche’:

Dictionary, grammar, alphabet:

K’iche’ to English dictionary:


Do you speak K’iche’? We’re always open to new submissions of native speakers speaking their languages! Why not submit a video today?

Dammit, people, if you’re going to write a Canadian character, you can’t just throw “eh” in wherever. It’s not a verbal tic - it has a very specific semantic role.

In brief, “eh” does one of two things:

  • Turn an imperative into a request. e.g., “Pass me that wrench, eh?”
  • Turn a statement into a question. e.g., “Cold out there, eh?”

In the latter case, there are several situations where it’s commonly used:

  1. The speaker is not sure that the statement she’s just made is correct, and is asking the listener to confirm. e.g., “That’s about forty kilometers West of here, eh?”
  2. The speaker is checking that the listener is still interested and wishes for her to continue, but does not expect any specific response. e.g., “So then this freakin’ moose shows up, eh?”
  3. The speaker is being sarcastic. e.g., “You really thought that one through, eh?”

When used in this way, “eh” is roughly equivalent to appending “isn’t it?” (“doesn’t it?”, “didn’t you?”, etc.) to the end of a sentence; interestingly, it also functions very much like the Japanese “ne”, which has a nearly identical effect when appended to a statement.

Now you know.

for real though, internet english is STAGGERINGLY multi-modal. the problem with communicating via writing is that you lose certain dimensions of spoken conversation, like intonation, facial expression, body language, pauses and fillers etc, but there’s been so many linguistic innovations to maintain richness in communication, like

  • emojis/emoticons
  • use of capslock and purposefully creating/not fixing typos to convey excitement, or likewise not capitalizing anything
  • use of punctuation (or lack thereof) to indicate /emphasis/ or ~irony~ or apathy
  • reaction images and memes
  • use of familiar songs in tumblr text posts or vines etc
  • variational spellings like you/u or true/tru
  • bolding, italics, strikethrough, font size, line breaks, etc
  • (using parentheses to whisper)
  • tags as commentary, also the body of commonly used/commonly mocked hashtags

like i could go ON and ON about the things that internet language users have created to get around the difficulties of non-verbal communication, like ??? what other dialects can do all that and change that much in 30 years????

Cherokee language faces extinction

There are less than 250 native Cherokee speakers left. Just a few years ago, that number was at 500. The decline is happening so fast, it would be easy for Cherokee linguists to despair, but they haven’t. They won’t. Instead, they have been working tirelessly to reclaim the Cherokee language. Language and culture are one…

Cherokee language faces extinction was originally published on CisternYard Media

The signs as linguists
  • Aries:semiotician
  • Taurus:computational linguist
  • Gemini:phonetician
  • Cancer:morphologist
  • Leo:historical linguist
  • Virgo:acquisitionist
  • Libra:syntactician
  • Scorpio:field linguist
  • Sagittarius:semanticist
  • Capricorn:psycholinguist
  • Aquarius:sociolinguist
  • Pisces:phonologist
New rule! Anyone who objects to singular ‘they’ on the basis of logic or grammar has to avoid singular 'you’ as well. Thou'rt welcome.

Stan Carey, Twitter, 3rd Feb 2015  


Every time a new round of “they is not singular” nonsense comes around I’m reminded of this excellent suggestion from Stan Carey. You can also read recent and, excellent discussions of the never-dying peeve from John McIntyre, Anne Curzan and Ben Zimmer.

The signs as untranslatable words

Aries: Fernweh (German) - To feel homesick for a place you’ve never been to.
Taurus: Shlimazl (Yiddish) - A chronically unlucky person.
Gemini: Rire dans sa barbe (French) - To laugh into your beard quietly whilst thinking about something that happened in the past.
Cancer: Aware (Japanese) - The bittersweetness of a brief fading moment of transcendent beauty.
Leo: Gattara (Italian) - A woman, often old and lonely who dedicates herself to stray cats.
Virgo: Won (Korean) - Reluctance on a person’s part to let go of an illusion or dream.
Libra: Wabi-Sabi (Japanese) - Accepting beauty in the natural cycle of growth and decay.
Scorpio: Backpfeifengesicht (German) - A face dearly in need of a fist.
Sagittarius: Age-otori (Japanese) - To look worse after a haircut.
Capricorn: Kjæreste (Norwegian) - Gender neutral term for boyfriend or girlfriend.
Aquarius: Saudade (Portuguese) - The feeling of longing for something or someone that you love and which is lost. 
Pisces: Mamihlapinatapei (Yagan) - A wordless yet meaningful look shared between two people who desire to initiate something but are both reluctant to start.