Happy birthday, Language Miscellany!

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 click on the tags to find other posts carrying the same tag. As an example, here is where you will get if you click on the tag Fun. Fun Archives – Language Miscellany

Tags used so far

There is a tag cloud near the foot of both the Home page and the Blog page. It shows that I have used the following 45 tags most often, out of 190 tags in total:

Topics (36 tags)

  • Acquisition L1; Adjective; Adverb; Alphabet; Article; Auxiliary; Change; Conjunction; Consonant; Course; Fun; Learning L2; Menu; Mistranslation; Modal; Morphology; Negation; News; Number; Passive; Phonology; Possessive; Preposition; Pronoun; Pronunciation; Punctuation Sound change; Spelling; Tense: past; Tense: perfect; Textbook; Translation: poetry; Word order; Writing; Editing; Usage

5 tags resulting mainly from the Scandinavian Challenge

  • Scandinavian; Danish; Norwegian; Swedish; Challenge: Scandinavian

Other languages (4 tags)

  • French; German; Italian; Mandarin

Other languages (and language families) I have tagged in posts include:

  • Slavonic (and individual Slavonic languages: Russian; Polish; Bulgarian; Bosnian/Croatian/Montenegrin/Serbian; Czech)
  • Hungarian; Finnish; Japanese; Welsh; Spanish; Portuguese; Cantonese; Vietnamese; Dutch; Romanian; Celtic; Irish; Bantu; Indo-Aryan; Dravidian; Lëtzebuergesch
  • English: US; English: less known
    I don’t have a general tag for English. Giving too many posts that tag wouldn’t help people navigate the site.

Some posts to dip in to

Here are links to posts on a variety of languages and topics. Most of the posts are generalist, but a few are slightly more technical:

  1. Writing English to help second-language readers
    Advice on writing in English in a way that second-language readers can read more easily
  2. Top writing tip
    My number 1 writing tip
  3. Perfect tense: lifetime effects
    Some subtle effects caused by changes in word order
  4. Great English Vowel Shift
    Major changes in the vowel system of early modern English
  5. How many sounds are there in English?
    The first of two posts on the English sound system. This one covers consonants.
  6. Does English really have case?
    English no longer has much of its old system of grammatical cases—and maybe none at all.
  7. I want a brink
    One of several posts on young children acquiring English
  8. New words of 1986
    Looks back at some words documented as having become common in English in 1986
  9. ‘must not’ in English and German
    Differences between English and German in how negation interacts with English ‘must’ and German ‘müssen’
  10. Is Russian difficult for English speakers?
    Some things in Russian are difficult, but the language is not quite as hard as its reputation suggests.
  11. Words showing their history
    The structure of some Japanese (and Vietnamese) words depends on whether they came from Chinese
  12. How many syllables are there in a Haiku?
    In Japanese, the ‘mora’ is more important than the syllable.
  13. Mandarin sibilants
    Some Mandarin sibilant sounds are difficult for English speakers to distinguish.
  14. How many cases are there in Hungarian and Finnish?
    These 2 languages have many grammatical cases https://languagemiscellany.com/2022/03/how-many-cases-are-there-in-hungarian-and-finnish/
  15. The passive in 2 Bantu languages
    Summarises how the passive works in Swahili and Chichewa.
    Links to earlier post explaining how the passive works in English.
  16. Anglicised Germany
    Links to a map that translates German place names into funny English versions https://languagemiscellany.com/2021/08/anglicised-germany/
  17. What are retrospective breaches?
    London’s Metropolitan Police confused everyone by suddenly inventing the idea of ‘retrospective breaches’
    One of several posts commenting on topical news stories
  18. Leaning out of windows
    Do different language versions of signs tell us about cultural differences?
  19. Tha and others
    One of several posts capturing mistranslations on restaurant menus.
    For obvious reasons, I haven’t been able to indulge that hobby in the last 3 years.
  20. More about Gingko
    On the history of the name of the Gingko tree
    Link to my translation of Goethe’s poem about these trees.

Tips on using the site

  • You can sign up to alerts from the Home page and also from the Contact page.
  • You can comment on a post using a box after the post.
    I welcome comments.
    There is already a small hard core of regular commentators. (Thank you to all of them!) I would love to see more people commenting.
  • Both the Home page and Blog page list the 5 most recent comments.
  • The Home page and Blog page both also display a list of the 5 most popular posts. I don’t know what determines how ‘popular’ a post is!

I’m trying to write about everything that fascinates me about English, other languages and language in general. That’s a lot of things, so I’m only just beginning to scratch the surface.

If you like language as much as I do, please keep coming back to this blog.

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