Linguistic pet peeves

A forum for discussing linguistics or just languages in general.
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Re: Linguistic pet peeves

Post by clawgrip » Tue 20 Dec 2016, 00:40

I hear it's much worse with Indian languages.
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Re: Linguistic pet peeves

Post by qwed117 » Tue 20 Dec 2016, 00:43

clawgrip wrote:I hear it's much worse with Indian languages.
You get stuff like "why can't tamil just go back to being hindi".

They have such a strange love-hate relationship with science.
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Re: Linguistic pet peeves

Post by GrandPiano » Tue 20 Dec 2016, 04:39

HinGambleGoth wrote:
GrandPiano wrote: How do we know how accurate our current reconstructions are without going back in time and hearing the language?
But our language never changed, only our neighbours who corrupted our language with foregin intermingling and lazy pronounciation! They used to talk so you could understand, like us!

This gets unbearable whenever you discuss big language families like germanic or romance.

"I wish danes could go back to speaking like swedish", or "Portuguese is slurred spanish".
Oh, well that's different. I was thinking about the reconstructed phonologies of languages like Latin and Sanskrit.
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Re: Linguistic pet peeves

Post by HinGambleGoth » Tue 20 Dec 2016, 10:39

GrandPiano wrote: Oh, well that's different. I was thinking about the reconstructed phonologies of languages like Latin and Sanskrit.
Well they are related issues. For instance whenever early modern english is brought up people say "sounds irish, sheakespeare was english" and so on, as if RP is eternal, this also applies to the whole colonial english debate, "americans speak a lazy form of BE" or "GenAm is 18th century english"

Besides the often mystified latin and sanskrit that are seen as essentially PIE by most people you have modern greek speakers that find the reconstructed pronounciation based on spoken language more than 2000 years ago "wrong" since it is "their language" and that only greek can pronounce it.
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Re: Linguistic pet peeves

Post by Axiem » Tue 20 Dec 2016, 17:28

GrandPiano wrote: How do we know how accurate our current reconstructions are without going back in time and hearing the language?
Ultimately, we don't. We just give it our best guess based on what we know about linguistics, and what we can piece together based on what people wrote at the time. For example, common misspellings give us an indication of what words people thought sounded the same.
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Re: Linguistic pet peeves

Post by Iyionaku » Tue 20 Dec 2016, 18:00

What bug me most is that people always seem to think they know better - even if they clearly don't.

I am studying information technology and we have one comillitone who is pretty professional in technical terms, and everyone knows that he gladly engages himself with it in his downtime. If there is a discussion about something technical - server technologies, IT security etc. - and he offers his opinion/knowledge, the discussion stops because everyone recognizes and accepts that he just knows better.

All the same, people know that I spend much of my free time with linguistics. However when there is any linguistic discussion about certain - sometimes emotionally charged - topics like Gendered language, language families, correlations etc. And I tell them my knowledge and everything that is responded is something like: "Well, that is how you see it, but I have a different opinion..."

THIS IS NOT A F***ING OPINION! YOU ARE WRONG! JUST WRONG!

...that's what I'd really like to say, but I usually leave it.

For example, reconstruction as you all have discussed. This is equally bad in Germany, where people tend to claim that Dutch is just a weird mix of German, English and French.

You can tell people on and on that Dutch is just another standardized version of the same dialect continuum (as German is too), but on the very next day they will state their own "opinion" again. :roll: :roll: :roll:
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Re: Linguistic pet peeves

Post by GrandPiano » Tue 20 Dec 2016, 20:21

Iyionaku wrote:I am studying information technology and we have one comillitone who is pretty professional in technical terms, and everyone knows that he gladly engages himself with it in his downtime.
What is a comillitone?
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Re: Linguistic pet peeves

Post by Ahzoh » Tue 20 Dec 2016, 21:27

GrandPiano wrote:
Iyionaku wrote:I am studying information technology and we have one comillitone who is pretty professional in technical terms, and everyone knows that he gladly engages himself with it in his downtime.
What is a comillitone?
A comrade or brother-at-arms
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Re: Linguistic pet peeves

Post by Iyionaku » Tue 20 Dec 2016, 22:47

Ahzoh wrote: A comrade or brother-at-arms
Although that makes sense (etymologically): It's a fellow student. I've assumed that "commilitone" (German "Kommilitone") was an internationalism, what proved wrong.
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Re: Linguistic pet peeves

Post by Ahzoh » Tue 20 Dec 2016, 23:11

Iyionaku wrote:
Ahzoh wrote: A comrade or brother-at-arms
Although that makes sense (etymologically): It's a fellow student. I've assumed that "commilitone" (German "Kommilitone") was an internationalism, what proved wrong.
I was looking at the Italian meaning.
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Re: Linguistic pet peeves

Post by Iyionaku » Wed 21 Dec 2016, 08:06

Ahzoh wrote:
Iyionaku wrote:
Ahzoh wrote: A comrade or brother-at-arms
Although that makes sense (etymologically): It's a fellow student. I've assumed that "commilitone" (German "Kommilitone") was an internationalism, what proved wrong.
I was looking at the Italian meaning.
Something for the false friends section.
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Re: Linguistic pet peeves

Post by Qxentio » Thu 22 Dec 2016, 13:12

Iyionaku wrote:What bug me most is that people always seem to think they know better - even if they clearly don't.
That is a general problem with the humanities. With "hard" sciences and technology, it is usually generally accepted that some people are expert on the subjects and others don't know anything. But everyone and their dog think they can be hobby psychologists, sociologists, linguists and whatever.
Iyionaku wrote:You can tell people on and on that Dutch is just another standardized version of the same dialect continuum (as German is too), but on the very next day they will state their own "opinion" again. :roll: :roll: :roll:
But Standard German is an artificial language based on a written compromise of different High German dialects which over time became more and more of a spoken language whose phonology is based on both the written standard and spoken Eastphalian Low German. I don't know anything about Dutch, but isn't it more of an actual dialect that turned into a standard language?
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Re: Linguistic pet peeves

Post by HinGambleGoth » Thu 22 Dec 2016, 15:51

Qxentio wrote: But Standard German is an artificial language based on a written compromise of different High German dialects which over time became more and more of a spoken language whose phonology is based on both the written standard and spoken Eastphalian Low German.
This is very interesting, it has bothered me ever since i got interested in germanic phliology. People often confuse Standard german with its strong plattdeutsch substrate with genuine high german dialects. A good example of this is substrate is the aspirated voiceless stops, this is not found in genuine Hochdeutsch like Austrian and Swiss.
Qxentio wrote: I don't know anything about Dutch, but isn't it more of an actual dialect that turned into a standard language?
From what I can gather, most european standard languages, such as french, danish and english are based on the educated sociolect around the captial. Likwise, Standard dutch is seemingly derived from the Holland dialect.

Other languages, like German, Norweigan, Italian and Swedish are different.
Standard swedish "riksvenska" is in theory derived from Sveamål, but in practice it differs considerably from traditional Stockholm and Central swedish dialects. It pronounces final -t, lacks the "thick l" and does not merge long ä and e, lacks neuter/feminine final -a articles and more.
It isn't as artificial as Standard german, but it is more or less a kind of dialectal koiné very heavily influenced by the spelling.
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Re: Linguistic pet peeves

Post by Iyionaku » Thu 22 Dec 2016, 16:37

Qxentio wrote: But Standard German is an artificial language based on a written compromise of different High German dialects which over time became more and more of a spoken language whose phonology is based on both the written standard and spoken Eastphalian Low German. I don't know anything about Dutch, but isn't it more of an actual dialect that turned into a standard language?
Quite accurate, yes.

There is the Continental West Germanic Dialect Continuum (Why is there no common abbreviation for that monster? [O.o] ). It involves certain High German, Low German and Low Saxonian dialects, but there is no language border between them, (in theory) every village could understand the people from the next one if there wouldn't be any states or standardizations. (Where, in opposition, there is a clear border between CWG and Danish, for example).

While Standard German is based on (afaik) the Prussian pronunctiation of the Saxonian (High German) dialect and therefore made Low German (a very important lingua franca in earlier times) to no more than a vernacular language, Standard Dutch is based on a north sea dialect (most likely one from Holland, but I don't know for sure).
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Re: Linguistic pet peeves

Post by GrandPiano » Thu 22 Dec 2016, 18:14

HinGambleGoth wrote:From what I can gather, most european standard languages, such as french, danish and english are based on the educated sociolect around the captial. Likwise, Standard dutch is seemingly derived from the Holland dialect.
Is this mainly a European thing? Standard Chinese is based heavily on the Beijing dialect (although there are some differences), so I thought it was a more common thing worldwide for the standard variety of a language to be based on the dialect spoken in the capital.

Come to think of it, I don't think I've ever read anything about the Washington D.C. dialect of English. Is the dialect spoken there similar to "Standard American English" (if such a thing exists), or is it more similar to the dialects of surrounding states?
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Re: Linguistic pet peeves

Post by Avo » Thu 22 Dec 2016, 18:21

Why does everyone always seem to forget Central German? That's one of my linguistic pet peeves. Even Germans tend overlook Central German(y) all the time (the fact that in everyday use, mitteldeutsch usually only refers to the states of Thuringia, Saxony-Anhalt and Saxony doesn't help). Modern Standard German lacks key characteristics of High German like the completion of the High German consonant shift because it's based on Central German.

The more or less standardized form of Middle High German was indeed based on High German (more precicely Swabian if I remember correctly). Under Emperor Maximilian I., a Habsburg, the court language still very close to MHG was reformed and then based largely on the emperor's native Austro-Bavarian. At the same time, numerous more locally confined court languages emerged, most notably the Central German Saxonian court language.
Martin Luther himself was from modern-day Saxony-Anhalt and as such highly familiar with the Saxonian court language, and his Bible translation together with the spread of the Reformation also helped the spread of said variety. Now since Germany's Low German speaking area was largely Evangelic, they used the Luther German variety. Dominance over the German lands shifted to Northern Germany over the centuries and I'd say at least by the time of the German unification, when Prussia pushed Austria and the Habsburgs out, their Saxonian German-based Central German Standard German with Low German-ish pronunciation was sealed as Germany's Standard German.

Some minor but perhaps interesting side notes:
1. Modern-day Saxonian dialects are highly marked and, with their uvulars and abundant inventories of central vowels, are vastly different from Standard German.
2. The isoglosses dividing High and Low German areas run from West to East, but in a southwestern to northeastern direction. The divide runs just south of Berlin and even Prussia had so-called Low and High Prussian dialects.
3. The divide between High and Central German is pretty far south and you can find unshifted *p (Appel, Pund rather than Apfel, Pfund) all over the states of Hesse and Rhineland-Palatinate and a lot of Central German dialects in the Rhineland look extremely Low German but have shifted their *t (there's even some border dialects that have unshifted *t except in the "marker words" das, was and Wasser, apparently).

tl; dr: Standard German isn't exactly High German in nature; Grouping Central German into High German offends me ( [;)] ). This post is way longer than I intended it to be and I'll stop here before I get carried away even more.
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Re: Linguistic pet peeves

Post by Axiem » Fri 23 Dec 2016, 05:57

GrandPiano wrote:Come to think of it, I don't think I've ever read anything about the Washington D.C. dialect of English. Is the dialect spoken there similar to "Standard American English" (if such a thing exists), or is it more similar to the dialects of surrounding states?
Kind of. What I have been told (by people who may or may not actually know what they're talking about, not to mention Wikipedia) is that the dialect of English taught to newscasters etc. is closest to Midwestern American English (conveniently, the dialect those people speak).

My general perception is the same, that the majority of people in movies and TV speak my dialect (at least in accent; word choice occasionally strikes me as different, though). I'm not really sure what the dialect of D.C. is, but my best guess'd be more northeastern, like the stereotypical New Yahk accent; I wouldn't expect a southern accent. In movies and TV, characters "from D.C." or even "from New York" seem to speak with my accent.
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Re: Linguistic pet peeves

Post by LinguoFranco » Fri 23 Dec 2016, 17:16

One of my pet peeves (a rather trivial one) is that it bugs me how Northerners say coffee, saying it as "cwoffee", where did the W come from?

In the South, I hate that they call shopping carts "buggies".

Aside from some word choices and pronunciation, I don't really have many linguistic pet peeves.
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Re: Linguistic pet peeves

Post by GrandPiano » Fri 23 Dec 2016, 21:07

LinguoFranco wrote:One of my pet peeves (a rather trivial one) is that it bugs me how Northerners say coffee, saying it as "cwoffee", where did the W come from?
American Northerners? As an Ohioan, I have never heard anyone say "cwoffee".
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Re: Linguistic pet peeves

Post by Sglod » Fri 23 Dec 2016, 21:34

American Northerners? As an Ohioan, I have never heard anyone say "cwoffee".
I think they meant the New York-y accent. I don't know if people actually talk like that, but TV and film says they do...
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