Morphological Typology (illustrations from SpecGram)

Descriptions adapted from The Lingua File

Analytic languages: also known as isolating languages because they’re composed of isolated, or free, morphemes. Free morphemes can be words on their own, such as cat or happy. Languages that are purely analytic in structure don’t use any prefixes or suffixes, ever. However, it’s rare to find a language that is purely analytic or synthetic since most languages have characteristics of both. Morphological typology is like a spectrum in which languages fit in somewhere from analytic to polysynthetic (a subtype of synthetic languages we’ll get to in a moment). Mandarin Chinese and Vietnamese are good examples of analytic languages. […] English, on the other hand, is one of the most analytic Indo-European languages, but is still usually classified as a synthetic language. […]

Types of synthetic language (i.e. languages that have prefixes/suffixes): 

Agglutinating Languages:With these languages, morphemes within words are usually clearly recognizable in a way that makes it easy to tell where the morpheme boundaries are. Their affixes usually only have a single meaning. Turkish,Korean, Hungarian, Japanese, and Finnish are all in this group.

Fusional Languages: Similar to agglutinating languages, except that the morpheme boundaries are much more difficult to discern. Affixes are often fused with the stems, and can have multiple meanings. A prime example of a fusional language is Spanish, especially when it comes to verbs. In the wordhablo ”I speak”, the -o morpheme tells us that we’re dealing with a subject that is singular, first person, and in the present tense. It’s difficult to find a morpheme that means “speak”, however, since habl- is not a morpheme. Fusional languages can be tricky!

Polysynthetic Languages: These languages are undoubtedly some of the most difficult to learn. They often have verbs that can express the entirety of a typical sentence in English, which they do by incorporating nouns into verbs forms. For example, the Sora language of India has one word that means “I will catch a tiger”. Many Native American languages are polysynthetic.

Okay, I’m doing the giveaway, but I thought I might as well do this, too, so here’s a Dropbox folder of most if not all of my current linguistics textbooks / resources in pdf format. I’ll update it as often as I can, but I thought some of you might find it useful - most of them are pretty good for protolinguists or first year linguists or for anyone with a passing interest in linguistics, really. If you have any issues downloading them / if this doesn’t work, let me know.

The books contained within are as follows (alphabetically by surname):

  • English Grammar by Roger Berry.
  • First Language Acquisition by Eve Clark.
  • A Dictionary of Linguistics and Phonetics by David Crystal.
  • Queerly Phrased: Language, Gender, and Sexuality by Kira Hall and Anne Livia.
  • What Is Sociolinguistics? by Van Herk.
  • An Introduction to Sociolinguistics by Janet Holmes.
  • Vowels and Consonants: An Introduction to the Sounds of Language by Peter Ladefoged.
  • How Languages are Learned by Patsy Lightbown and Nina Spada.
  • Language and Identities by Carmen Llamas and Dominic Watt.
  • Introducing Sociolinguistics by Miriam Meyerhoff.
  • An Introduction to the Philosophy of Language by Michael Morris.
  • The Language Instinct by Steven Pinker.
  • English Phonetics and Phonology by Peter Roach.
  • The Study of Language by George Yule.

Sometimes you forget that people don’t realize that b and p aren’t completely different letters

Someone was giving a short presentation in a speech class on Hangeul and I thought I would listen in so I could try to hear the pronunciation a bit better (like I know the value of each letter in theory but in practice I find the straight bar on the bottom and the inward pointing vertical bar (I think eu and eo/uh respectively?? idk transcription is weird) difficult to say and distinguish between each other. Anyways, this was a completely lay crowd, and even the presenter (who is very good at English but came more recently than others from Korea) had some trouble presenting the concepts. So when she was trying to explain the fact that you transcribe one letter as p and another as b, the b also sounds kinda more like a p (this is because the one transcribed as p is actually aspirated), the entire class was SOOO confused because how could p and b be alike??? 

and i just sat there trying to restrain myself from teaching them about wugs

hello everyone! my name’s mina and this blog is brand new; i’m right about to go into university to study cognitive science with a focus in linguistics and the ling community here seemed super informative and friendly!

i’m also learning french and would love to practice! looking to follow language/linguistics blogs c:

anonymous asked:

im interested in majoring in linguistics, but im not so sure, do you have any advice? Also, i'd love to hear why you chose this major too :)

Before you declare a major in anything, you should make sure you know you like it. Or if not like it, that you can do it. That’s primary. Next is the knowledge that you can always change your mind, and that it’s okay to do so. Finally, you should major in linguistics because it’s awesome and useful!

Check out allthingslinguistic's protolinguist series, the LSA’s page on what linguistics is and is used for, and LinguistList’s student portal. These resources should help you figure out if linguistics is something you want to do. Even if you don’t want to “become a linguist”, though, linguistics is great for careers in lots of fields (therapy, general ed, history, english, world languages, writing, sociology, anthropology, computer science, among others).

I got into linguistics in an unusual way. I have always been interested in language and science, but I didn’t know linguistics was a thing until high school choir class. We learned the International Phonetic Alphabet to learn to pronounce lyrics in other languages. It was at that point I learned that there was an entire field dedicated to the study of how humans use language to communicate. Initially, I was interested in sounds — how we produce, understand, and modulate them. That’s since morphed into an interest in how sound influences the way we understand sentence-length utterances that might have very complex or ambiguous structures.

These days, I haven’t been posting much because I’m trying to finish my dissertation soon and I’ve been applying to jobs and a whole lot of other stuff… but don’t worry! I am still here and still going to keep wuglife alive (especially after I’ve defended!!).

Happy holidays and a happy New Year to all you linguists, protolinguists, scientists and scholars!!!

What is language? 8 myths about language and linguistics

What is language?

Language is an arbitrary, conventionalized association between a symbol and a meaning: there’s no necessary connection between the meaning of a word and how it’s represented in language (spoken, signed, or written). This idea comes from Saussure.

If there was a necessary connection between symbol and meaning, we would expect there to be only one possible language. Even for domains where there’s a closer link, such as onomatopoeia and the first words that a baby speaks (often mama, baba, papa, dada since these are easy to articulate), there are still differences cross-linguistically. And for other words, such as dog, chien, perro, languages differ even more.

The conventionalization criterion distinguishes language from other, non-linguistic forms of communication, such as body language and gesture. Two monolingual speakers of English are equally likely to produce similar or dissimilar gestures in describing a given situation (such as a ball rolling down a hill) as a monolingual speaker of English and a monolingual speaker of another spoken language, but two speakers of ASL will produce signs to describe that situation in a way that are systematically similar to each other and different from another sign language such as BSL. 

What is grammar?

Keep reading

Resources: Linguistics

Theses aren’t all actually resources. I’m just going through my favorites folders and pasting the links. (I have a lot of favorites so I organized them into folders. There’s Ling, Interesting Things, and Python (the programming language). Within Ling, there’s Linguistics and Languages, and some pages that relate to both. Within Linguistics are just pages, but within Languages, I’ve got the folders: Multiple Langs, Español, Deutsch, Suomi, Magyar, Chinese, Other Langs (ones I only have one website for), and Scripts.)

This list will consist of that which lies within the Linguistics folder

Hey look it’s a picture!

Okay yeah here we go: and - Just to remind me to go through allthingslinguistic’s protolinguist tags every so often so I can absorb the knowledge - I HAVE TO MAKE SURE I SIGN UP ONCE POSSIBLE. It’s a national competition about linguistics - If you don’t know what this is, I’m so glad you do now. It’s kinda like The Onion for linguistics? - Just some flash cards about phonetics - I’ve heard that this is the program linguistics use for phonetics. I plan on checking it out when I actually understand phonetics XD - I think this is like a syllabus? Or something of that nature. It’s got information tho. Probably something better for proto-linguists. Actually all of this is better for proto-linguists. Except maybe SpecGram - Read the first paragraph; that explains it pretty well. - HOLY CATS IT’S PRETTY MUCH THE BEST EVER. It lets you compare languages internationally with grammar structures and phonetic things and such sorry I’m bad at explaining - Not really linguistics, but very cool nonetheless. It only uses one vowel per chapter, and has some other stuff at the end :D - Like WALS but for phonotactics - Seen lots of praise for this series - FREE INTRO TO LING BOOK? YES PLEASE - Linguistics programs in USA schools - Classic papers for proto-linguists - I discovered WikiBooks recently It’s really cool, and I like the way it’s formatted.

There’s Linguistics!

Next up: Languages (Yes, all of the stuff I’ve got there)

sunmuffin42 asked:

Hello! I wanted to take part in that quiz/survey thing for BLIP in Singapore that you posted about, and I saw it was only for those above 18. Why is that?

University projects involving human participants require the approval of an ethics body. When the activity involves listening to some recordings and clicking on some icons it may seem a bit silly that this is restricted to people over 18 - but ethics panels are usually cautious and working with ‘children and minors’ often requires a great deal more additional work on behalf of the researcher to demonstrate that the research won’t harm anyone, and parental consent is often required - which is obviously very hard on the internet.

I know this is seems unfair to protolinguists and junior psychologists - I mentioned your disappointment to the BLIP crew and they’re going to keep it in mind when building their next set of experiments. At the end of the day it’s up to the university ethics board!

We posted about the BLIP experiments here - a few of them are still running if anyone (over 18) wants to participate.

sooooooper psyched for naclo tomorrow! i dont even care that im not going to do v. well, im just excited for a chance to do linguistics puzzles for 3 hours nonstop on a *school*day* eeee

that is if i dont stare at the time limit, stare at my paper, stare at the geniuses around me, and melt into a puddle on the ground

So some people see other people get excited about stuff like linguistics and science and reading and geography, and people see these learning addicts and think to themselves “what. why. that’s super wweeeeird. like calm down about that thing that you like” and they think to themselves that learning addicts are kinda crazy.
but learning addicts are the best kind of people because they care so much about the things and they want /you/ to care about the thing too. and that’s the only reason they tell you anything about the thing. because learning addicts just want you to know how fucking cool it is.
i wish learning wasn’t weird in a young-person social community
because then everyone would feel okay with wanting to learn and nerding out and how cool would that be
so cool


It’s just so true.

This came up when I was talking about how I really enjoy watching Minute Physics episodes in Spanish because they’re just really cool and wow.

Finally an honest ABC book! ‘A is for Boat’ explores the capricious nature of English with a picture book of silent letters.

This is a really cute idea, and I’m impressed (and slightly horrified) that there are instances of every single letter in the English alphabet being silent. 

When I’d only read the title and not the link, I thought that the book might be an ASL alphabet book based on handshape, which would have been cool as well. And now I kind of want an IPA alphabet book, for the benefit of my hypothetical future children and other budding protolinguists: in addition to p is for “pizza” we could have ʃ is for “shoe” and æ is for “apple”. Seriously. This would be so great. 

Any other linguistically-interesting riffs on the traditional alphabet book? 

what’s the linguistic reason behind the either/either pronunciation? i’ve read that they’re considered to be in free variation, but is that completely true? for example, when saying “either one,” both /iðər/ and /aɪðər/ seem fairly randomly distributed, but when saying “me neither,” we would almost exclusively use /iðər/.

what’s the deal with that?