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Language-specific analysis / Re: Hungarian and Slovak language border
« Last post by panini on August 25, 2018, 09:05:27 AM »
Pidgins don't actually arise that way, instead, they depend on repeated but intermittent short-term contact between two groups. For instance, Chinook Jargon arose from casual trade contact between various tribes of the Northwest, where there wasn't enough long-term contact for one side to learn the other's language.

It is expected that there could be substantial influence between Hungarian and Slovak, so that a Hungarianized dialect of Slovak could develop. Countering this, though, are normative pressures to conform to the standard language. In fact, the situation there is so complex that I question the possibility of getting an accurate answer. There are legal and social pressures for Hungarians in Slovakia to Slovakify, and countervailing social pressures to Hungarify. (And vice versa in Hungary, though to a lesser extent as I understand, since there are many fewer Slovaks in Hungary and they are more dispersed). The only reliable research method would be to surreptitiously record conversations between known individuals, and observe the behavior of pure Hungarian-on-Hungarian interactions, compared to Hungarian-on-Slovak interactions. (Fluent bilingual people switch languages quickly when a monolingual or marginally bilingual person joins – may to include the person, maybe to exclude them).

The hypothesis that one would want to test is that Hungarians in Slovakia all speak "regular Hungarian", but may increase Slovak features when a Slovak speaker is added to the conversation. There are very many outcomes possible from this grand experiment. The problem is that there is a lot of personal knowledge stuff that has to be controlled for, such as whether Sally hates Hungarians or not, whether Sally is hated by the Hungarians, how fluent Sally is in Hungarian, etc.

If one were a linguist growing up in the Hungaro-Slovak region, one might specific properties of the local Hungarian that can be attributed to Slovak influence (or the other way), and then perhaps devise a very subtle method for measuring that feature. The other problem is, though, that there is no such thing as "regular Hungarian", so one would need to compare a suspected feature with what is found in relevant dialects in Hungary. Northern dialects of Hungarian seem to be quite understudied.

It would be really interesting to know all of this, I just don't see any way that the experiment could actually be conducted.

Language-specific analysis / Hungarian and Slovak language border
« Last post by Okram123xF on August 25, 2018, 06:58:32 AM »
I was watching a documentary on the hungarian population in Slovakia. At one point in the documentary,they interviewed a lady from the village of Ipeľské Predmostie. When they asked her a question about the relationship between hungarians and slovaks,she answered by saying that they're absolutely friendly and the hungarians and slovaks living there speak both languages. This got me thinking:is there a sort of pidgin,formed by the mix of the slovak and hungarian languages?How do these different ethnic groups communicate with one another in daily life?And also,if anyone knows about influences of the hungarian language in the slovak speech near the border,a clarification would be highly appreciated. Thanks!
Linguist's Lounge / The Voiceless Voice
« Last post by Nume on August 24, 2018, 07:50:47 PM »
I've been studying language development so I was beyond excited when I came across an upcoming book, The Voiceless Voice, written by a language development student, Alexandra Casavant. She's specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of language disorders, and these themes are covered throughout this collection of short stories. They're fictional stories that are meant to help empower those who have yet to find their voice. At the same time, they're also supposed to help instruct others to understand the struggles of those who are struggling to find their voice.
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.
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