Skip to main content

Posts

Latin did not die; it evolved and it is still very much alive.

A common belief among people is that Latin has ceased to exist centuries ago, or, in other words, Latin died. But, is Latin really dead? And, as language nerds, do we believe this without first considering the facts? So, in this article of today, you are going to see that Latin is not dead; Latin is still alive and kicking! But how is that? Read on! 
While Classical Latin is undoubtedly a dead, though not an extinct, language; some residue of this Classical Latin, called Ecclesiastical Latin, still roams our society as we speak, you can find it in such things as the Pope’s Twitter account. But this is not the kind of Latins I wanna talk about here. I want to talk about the one which has around 800 million speakers worldwide today; Modern Latin.
Modern Latin is what came to be known as Romance Languages, manifested in Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese, Romanian, Catalan, etc. which can be regarded as dialects of Latin. Have at the following Romance Language family tree for a second…
Recent posts

Words that people use that don't exist.

Ever wonder if all the words people use are words that actually exist? By exist we mean they are recognized and included in English dictionaries. Well, some of the words that people confidently use on a day-to-day basis do not exist. Some say that the use of these words highlights a crucial language feature (i.e. change), while other language snobs disagree and scoff when they hear someone use them. Let's find these words out.   1. Irregardless.  This word has long been used in place of regardless. Adding the irr- will only reverse the meaning.  Merriam-Webster comments that 'there is no such word'. It's a word that has been wandering around since the 1900s and is still far from being widely accepted.
2. Firstly  secondly, thirdly...ordinal numbers act as both adjectives and adverbs. Why would people take the unnecessary step to add an -ly? They are only being redundant.Although it is widely used, grammarians consider the usage of firstly inferior to that of first. Bu…

List of the 7 fastest spoken languages in the world.

As native speakers, we all have assumptions about the particular speed of languages other than our own. And most of the time, our assumptions are correct. Empirically speaking, linguists measure the speed of languages by how many syllables are articulated per second or per minute. Of course, we don't have data from all the languages of the world to have a definitive list, but here is what we know so far, according to a study that was conducted by Pellegrino, Coupé, and Marco: 1. Japanese:  Japanese is the fastest recorded language. It has a rate of 7.84 syllables per second.  2. Spanish: Spanish is right behind Japanese and is nearly as fast with a rate of 7.82 syllables per second.  3. French  French lags just a little far behind with a rate of 7.18 syllables per second.  4. Italian Italian is relatively slower than Spanish and French with a rate of  6.99 syllables per second.  5. English  English is among the slower languages with a rate of 6.19 syllables per second.  6. German…

10 words that do not mean what you think they mean.

Words can be deceiving sometimes, especially that the English language, or any language for that matter, is always evolving. There are words that confuse the logic out of our nerdy heads because we thought they mean something but in fact, they mean a completely different thing. So here is a list of some of the words that do not mean what you think they mean.
Bemused  If you think bemused means the same thing as amused, you're absolutely wrong. And if you are someone who is reading this for the first time, you might be confused. And that's exactly what bemused means: confused.
DisinterestedDisinterested does not mean uninterested, at all. So, if you find a movie to be boring and a waste of your time, you are uninterested, not disinterested. Disinterested means that you don't have any stake in the outcome because you're not invested in something. The two words are used interchangeably a lot these days that they have become synonymous, but it is a distinction that style …

The most embarrassing mistakes people have made while speaking a second language.

One of the moments that stick with us as language learners are the mistakes we make while we try to speak a second language. It's undeniable that you can't speak a language without making mistakes here and there, and that's how we learn after all. But, sometimes we make some really embarrassing mistakes that haunt us for the rest of our lives. It is for this reason that you are reading this article. Because we've asked our followers at The Language Nerds about the embarrassing mistakes they have made while speaking a second language and they provided responses that will make your day. Have a great read 😋! Tom I was speaking Spanish on the phone. I asked the caller how things were going. He said, ''Muy Bien, gracias a Dios.'' I thought it was strange and said ''Adios,'' back and hung up.  Martijn  I'm currently living in Brazil. they speak Portuguese here. In Portuguese pâu means "bread' and pau means "dick". This…

The one word that exists in all human languages, according to research.

Our languages are incredibly diverse and it is highly unlikely to find a word or a handful of words that sound the same in all languages. Except that there is a word that is shared by all human languages,  according to research. Surprise, surprise the word is 'huh'.  Weird, huh! Well, it turns out that this is probably a universal word. 
Let's explain first how this word works in more detail. Consider the following made-up conversation:
A: We decided to move to New York. B: Where? A: To New York.
Speaker A makes a statement, and Speaker B follows up on that by asking the question “Where?” which targets only a portion of the original statement, i.e., it is possible to infer that Speaker B had no trouble comprehending the message that they decided to move somewhere, but s/he presumably missed the final word. So, s/he requested a repetition of this information by asking “where?” and Speaker A supplied this information in his/her next turn. And this is what is termed by conversati…

5 Words that sound the same in almost every language.

Words really don't have any logic to them. You can't just work out the meaning of words based on the sounds that make them up. That's because words are arbitrary.  So if you don't speak Chinese, you can't possibly figure out the words for, say, "breakfast" or "fridge". Different people agree to give different combinations of sounds different meanings. Considering that people are scattered around the globe and speak different mutually unintelligible languages, it is unlikely that they would all have the same words for the same thing. However, there are some select words that sound pretty much the same across so many languages. They flit across language barriers either through trade, the internet or because people just like the sound of them. Here are some of them: CoffeeAfrikaans: koffie | Albanian: kafe | Arabic: قهوة (qahua) | French: Café | Azerbaijani: qəhvə | Basque: kafea | Belarussian: кава (kava) | Bengali: কফি (kaphi) | Bosnian: kafa | B…

FOXP2: The grammar gene.

Is there a grammar/language gene? This is an interesting question that linguistics finally started to tap into. While the correlation between our genes and our physical traits such as height, skin, eye color, etc. is very clearly undeniable and easy to understand, the correlation between genes and language is a little less obvious and disturbing. There is, in fact, tangible evidence in favor of the gene-language correlation that hints to the fact that such correlation may exist. 
Now what is this evidence and what do studies actually show? A team of British scientists, led by Simon Fisher, could isolate a gene that is believed to be involved in the development of speech and language. This gene, dubbed FOXP2, was found to cause serious language breakdowns when mutated.  We do have a case for this mutation in a British family called KE that suffers from an inherited language disorder that is believed to be attributed to the FOXP2 gene. The disorder is characterized by unintelligible sp…