Japanese has several different words for giving and receiving. Which word is used depends on various factors: whether the giver is the speaker or is another personwhether the other person has higher status than the speakerwhether the speaker views the action as giving or as receiving In the rest of this post, I use speaker…… Continue reading Giving and receiving in Japanese
Recent stays with our grandchildren showed us how the youngest 2 are getting on with acquiring language. 13 months The youngest is 13 months old. He started to produce recognisable words a couple of months ago. From the 4 days we spent with him, I would guess that he can produce around 10 to 20…… Continue reading Early words
I launched Language Miscellany at end of April 2021. In that first year, I produced over 170 posts. That number is slightly inflated by 39 daily posts chronicling my Scandinavian Challenge last year. https://languagemiscellany.com/2021/09/scandinavian-challenge-how-did-it-go/ Navigating the site The easiest way to navigate the site is to use the tags. I tag each post. You can…… Continue reading Happy birthday, Language Miscellany!
We’ve all had that feeling that we’ve gone too far with search-and-replace when editing a document quickly. A contributor to Language Log found a great example, blending overhastiness with naked defence of your own commercial interests. For the Nook edition of War and Peace, the sub-editor decided, quite understandably, that they shouldn’t plug Nook’s competitor,…… Continue reading Search and destroy
According to a quiz I read recently, the 6th language to be designated in India as a ‘classical language’ is Odia. I had never heard of Odia, so I wanted to find out more. The Language Odia belongs, with Bengali and Assamese to the Madaghan sub-family of Indo-Aryan (Klaiman, 1990). Indo-Aryan is itself part of…… Continue reading Odia, a classical language in India
On a train from Paris to Lausanne in 2018, we came across the world’s most inconsiderately named rail junction. The train crew told some Chinese tourists they would need to change at Frasnes. (The first ‘s’ is silent.) They kept thinking they were being told to change in France.
At the beginning of March, the British press was full of stories about a new academic study. According to those stories, the study shows that teaching children grammar in school doesn’t make them write better. It turns out that the study didn’t exactly show that. I discuss below: what the press releases said the study…… Continue reading Teaching English grammar in school doesn’t improve children’s writing. Really?
In an earlier post, I explained 3 features of the passive construction, focusing on English. This post summarises how 2 Bantu languages (Swahili and Chichewa) implement those 3 features. It also mentions the stative, a construction that is somewhat similar. Background: Bantu languages The Bantu group of languages has many members, spoken in the southern…… Continue reading The passive in 2 Bantu languages
I’ve spent much of the last 28 years writing or editing documents for a readership that includes many readers who didn’t learn English from birth. In this post, I give some tips on writing more clearly to help readers with English as a second language. General advice on writing plain English is not enough to…… Continue reading Writing English to help second-language readers
I have just started reading German and English Academic Usage and Academic Translation (2021), by Dirk Siepmann. This starts with an exercise of translating a short passage of German academic text. It is only one paragraph, though quite a long one: Seit Mitte der 1980er Jahre hat Michel Espagne sukzessive das Themenfeld des interkulturellen Transfers…… Continue reading German and English Academic Usage and academic translation