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Historical Linguistics / Re: Nicknames in Various Historical Cultures
« Last post by Nume on August 24, 2018, 07:42:28 PM »
OED did an article about the development of names throughout English history, including a section about pet forms of personal names.

The Oxford Handbook of Names and Naming might be a useful resource for you as well.
Semantics and Pragmatics / Re: Help me pick the right words
« Last post by Nume on August 24, 2018, 07:23:16 PM »
The middle ground for common and rare would probably be uncommon. I've seen that in games before. The middle ground between old and modern is a little bit trickier. Perhaps rather than old, you could call them relics and then the middle ground one could be antiques?
« Last post by Nume on August 24, 2018, 07:16:16 PM »
There have already been some great answers here, but what about "she condemned him to the bedroom"? Or maybe "she emigrated him to the bedroom"?
Phonetics and Phonology / Re: Keyboard Layout - Click Letters
« Last post by panini on August 24, 2018, 08:42:02 AM »
An alternative, which I use, is a character-composition utility like Allchars (free) or Accent Composer (cheap). These work on the principle of invoking the program by tapping a special key (assignable, such as f12 or right-ctrl) then two letters, so for example ŋ can be assigned to 'ng'. There being about 8464 possible entries, you can devise personal "meanings" to letters, for example ɹ='rr', ɯ='mr', ɟ='fr' (for rotated letters).

There are so many fancy characters that there isn't a single keyboard that would include all letters, and the problem that I found with keyboard approaches is that I often need for example t, T, θ, ŧ, ʈ, but I also want access to e.g. ctrl-alt-t to call up a frequent table-creating macro in Word.
Phonetics and Phonology / Re: Keyboard Layout - Click Letters
« Last post by Daniel on August 23, 2018, 06:35:09 PM »
I tried to make an IPA keyboard map myself a while ago, and I found that there were just too many symbols to make everything convenient. So try to come up with some logic that can be easily remembered. For example, maybe place the clicks as secondary characters on the numerals? (Since "!" is already there.)

In the end, I gave up because it was just too crowded to fit all of the symbols, and wasn't saving me time.

What I use to type IPA is this:

My goal in remapping the keyboard was to roughly follow that layout, not the original letters, which seems more confusing if you have a full set of IPA characters. If you're just adding a few for languages you use often, adding them to the existing layout makes a lot of sense. But if it's everything, you might want to start from scratch. One inconvenience I found, though, is that the keys are not in straight columns up and down, and it ended up being more an exercise in trying to fit a square peg into a round hole than actually making something productive (for myself).

In itself, what you've written above sounds fine: there's a pattern to it, so it's easy to remember, and you seem to mostly be mapping based on place of articulation, which makes sense.
Phonetics and Phonology / Keyboard Layout - Click Letters
« Last post by kiragecko on August 23, 2018, 04:53:24 PM »
Which keys would be most natural to associate click letters with?

I'm working on a keyboard that allows IPA transcription as well as transliteration for a variety of other languages. I do a lot of comparative and historical linguistics. None of the languages I work with use clicks, however, and I'm not very familiar with them.

I'm also interested in making it easy to type historical letters, like 'ʗ' and 'ʇ'

Right now, I'm using voiceless letters for IPA, and voiced/nasal letters for historical alternatives. Ex.
    p > ʘ
    m > ꬺ

    t > ǀ
    d > ʇ
    n > ȵ

    c > ǃ
    j > ʗ

    k > ǂ

    l > ǁ

Does this make sense? Or would something else be more natural?
Linguist's Lounge / Re: Where google fails, ask a linquist
« Last post by Daniel on August 20, 2018, 06:21:01 PM »
I'm not aware of any, and I wouldn't trust it if there was. Counting "words" is an incredibly complicated topic, because it's not clear how to define them. Chinese and similar isolating languages (with few or no affixes) probably have the fewest words, but they still combine to form complex phrases. English is somewhere in the middle. At the other extreme, there are languages with thousands of word forms (even hundreds of thousands for languages with many possibly combining  affixes), and even some languages which have recursive (repeating) morphology and therefore technically infinitely many word forms.

This means "how much vocabulary someone knows" is a tricky question for that reason, even in a single language, and much more so across languages when the rules of the game are different in the different languages. There's very little difference between Chinese, with many small words, including many grammatical particles, and a language with highly complex morphology with very long words even forming a whole sentence. In the end, on average, the parts are often just about the same, whether or not they make up "words".

Furthmore, studies or statistics purportedly measuring vocabulary size are almost always hopelessly biased toward "dictionary words", the sort of thing that would be found on an academic test. And that's simply not a representative way to measure how many words we know, because we know so many other things-- technical jargon and slang are really the same thing, just in different domains; and also consider how many proper names (people, places, brands, etc.) we know. And those things just aren't on the test. A reformulation of your question that might make sense would be to ask whether someone who knows more specifically relevant technical jargon is more productive in the workplace (for example, how many words to they know related to photocopiers?), but that seems superficial to me, at best. Regardless, anyone who needs a word for something either learns it (it's easy to learn a specific word or a specific set of words through usage, regardless of overall vocabulary size), or makes up a word or expression in place of it. We have many such tentative circumlocutions that we use every day when we don't have exact terms for things, and sometimes they become the standard term later anyway.

More abstractly, it is unclear whether we can even define "word" cross-linguistically in any meaningful way. See Haspelmath 2011: (draft:

To get around this, you might ask something else, like how many memorized units (whether independent words or affixes) a language has. But that gets into another problem: there are many good arguments for treating some phrases as memorized units too (idioms, as well as the foundational arguments for Construction Grammar). So that doesn't really solve it either.

There may be a useful way to operationalize this question, but it isn't very meaningful on the surface. And even if you found a correlation, there are more complex issues about ideas of linguistic complexity here: is it more efficient to have fewer forms, or to have more forms? It's a trade-off between speaker and listener, being more explicit or not. Complexity is complex, and a controversial topic at this time. However, you might be interested in some of the recent literature about sociolinguistic correlates of linguistic complexity, such as the idea that an influence of having many adult second language learners (as a result of intense contact) tends to simplify languages, so relatively small, relatively isolated languages tend to have more "complex" grammar, by some definition/metric of "complex". McWhorter, Trudgill and others have discussed these issues in detail.
Linguist's Lounge / Re: Where google fails, ask a linquist
« Last post by timf on August 20, 2018, 05:33:37 PM »
Another question—is there any studied/published literature on the correlation to general productivity (say, in the workplace) and the number of words in a language? Does having more words in a mother tongue make you more or less productive in a group?
English / Re: Derivatives in -ist
« Last post by vox on August 20, 2018, 05:00:08 PM »
Thank you Daniel !
English / Re: Derivatives in -ist
« Last post by Daniel on August 20, 2018, 04:45:13 AM »
1. Can all of them be both nouns and adjectives ?
My intuition is that the adjectival sense is more basic, and nouns are more natural if they've been established in conventional usage. But just thinking about this at the moment I can't come up with any examples that don't seem to function as nouns, so I'm not sure. It's also possible some nouns exist but other synonymous adjectives block the formation/usage of the correlated adjective, but again I can't think of examples.*

[*To me, 'communist' [adj.] feels like an adjectival counterpart to the identical noun, rather than the other way around, for example. That's the inverse of the situation I described for -ist in general. Not sure why. Maybe just frequency, and because something like "communist country" is ambiguous between a noun-noun compound and adj-noun phrase.]

2. Is it considered as a conversion A>N or N>A by morphologists ?
I can't answer in general, but this would depend on your analysis. Is the derivation from X>A (social>socialist) and also in parallel X>N (social>socialist)? Or is the derivation first from the root, then to the adjective, and then as a third step to the noun? If it's a secondary derivation, then yes this would presumably be considered conversion.

Note that "X" above could be an adjective (social-ist) or a noun (sex-ist) or just a bare root (commun-ist?). Many derivational affixes are restricted to combining with a certain word class, so maybe there are actually several -ist affixes that combine slightly differently with different word classes, and therefore might give slightly different results for your questions, although keep in mind that analogy could still hold their usage together in some ways (e.g., I don't imagine much of a functional difference between "communist" and "socialist" regardless of their slightly different origins morphologically).

3. Are there adjectival doublets in -ist and -istic that are perfectly synonymous ?
Perfect synonymy rarely exists given connotations, frequency of use, associations with particular speakers, etc. But these are pretty close. Still, one seems to be the default form for most examples I can think of. No pair of exact synonymy comes to mind, but it wouldn't surprise me if there are some in free variation (though again, possibly with some minor individual connotation differences or preferences, etc.).

This reminds me of the -ic/-ical pair, which for whatever reason seems easier to discuss at the moment. This applies especially to some linguistics terminology, so it's easy to come up with examples:
morphological / *?morphologic
syntactic / ?syntactical

I don't know that I've ever seen "morphologic" in real use, but "syntactical" comes up fairly often (I suspect most often from non-native speakers, but also some native speakers). Obviously in typical syntactic research there is no intended distinction between the two forms. So they are I guess 'perfectly synonymous'. However, to my ears 'syntactical' sounds off, and even though it has a clear and identical meaning, I much prefer 'syntactic'. That's entirely arbitrary, though, because 'morphological' also sounds better. Again, this could just be a question of frequency of use. Some other pairs are more flexible, I think.

Extending this a bit, something else that is interesting is how adverbs are formed from these adjectives: it's typically the long form that is used:
*syntacticly / syntactically
[However, pronunciation of those would be identical, so maybe that's only a spelling issue.]

*communistly / communistically
*socialistly / socialistically
(But: sexistly, racistly)

Yet I see a subtle distinction in meaning: the ending -istic (along with -istically) has an "aboutness" sense that isn't found with just -ist. And that also applies to -ical ("aboutness"), vs. -ic (more general).

"Syntactical" sounds to me like it should mean something like "of or relating to meta-analysis of syntax", or something like that. "This is a syntactical paper". "Syntactic" just means "related to syntax", etc. It's almost like "-ical" has a hint of being a double derivation. Maybe that's just an iconic property of being a longer form (and that matches my intuition about why "syntactical" sounds wrong-- it's just longer, and not needed, because the shorter form sounds fine-- blocking).

There may also be a few cases where nouns and adjectives are contrastive:
impressionist: noun meaning 'impressionism artist; or just one who makes impressions'; or adjective meaning 'related to impressionism; or just based on impressions'
impressionistic: (only) adjective meaning 'based on impressions'

Also perhaps related are the differences in meaning between 'sexist' and 'socialist' -- two very different kinds of ideas there!

Edit: while browsing for unrelated reasons, I just came across a potentially relevant paper about -ic/-ical, by Gries here:
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