Search found 654 matches

by Makri
Wed Dec 04, 2013 7:26 am UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1298: "It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood!"
Replies: 71
Views: 17545

Re: 1298: "It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood!"

Size encodes size. I'm honestly a bit dumbfounded by how confusing some people are by this. Explanation: circles with visibly different diameters are dark. It might be within the 1-2 times the earth's radius rule, although without measuring, I would guess that some of the dark circles have more tha...
by Makri
Mon Dec 02, 2013 2:55 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1298: "It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood!"
Replies: 71
Views: 17545

Re: 1298: "It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood!"

I'm still confused. Planets vary according to colour, darkness, and size. Colour encodes the kind of star they orbit, and darkness presumably encodes whether it's earth-sized. Then what does size encode?
by Makri
Mon Oct 22, 2012 12:29 pm UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: Effectively writing Long sentences in English
Replies: 36
Views: 12911

Re: Effectively writing Long sentences in English

Sentence length per se is not what makes parsing difficult. There are two things that count: number of levels of embedding, and the issue of anaphora resolution. The italic sentence in the starting post of this thread is therefore a very bad test, because it contains an unresolved anaphora: I find i...
by Makri
Sun Sep 23, 2012 5:42 pm UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: Words common to different languages with different meanings
Replies: 69
Views: 32743

Re: Words common to different languages with different meani

Well, at least it is in certain varieties of German. (I distinguish them, though, 'six' being /zeks/ and 'sex' being /seks/, as far as I can tell.) side side (bond) lait (milk) lait (laws) These words are very different, though, they just happen to be written the same; so I don't think they quite co...
by Makri
Mon Sep 03, 2012 11:24 am UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: Sprechen Sie Deutsch bitte! [German practice]
Replies: 878
Views: 248124

Re: Sprechen Sie Deutsch bitte! [German practice]

Übrigens eine Bemerkung zu Monikas "*lacht*": Normalerweise schreibt man hier auf Deutsch eigentlich *lach*, ohne jegliche Endungen. Diese Form wird dann scherzhaft manchmal "Erikativ" genannt. Nachdem ich zwei Semester in Wien studiert habe, habe ich aber ein bisschen ein österr...
by Makri
Mon Jun 25, 2012 7:10 pm UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: Nonsensical English...
Replies: 131
Views: 35259

Re: Nonsensical English...

I found the example for this in my own tagline. "Confuse with X" means both a tool ("you are trying to confuse me with your tricks") and a direct object ("you must have confused me with somebody else") And where's the ambiguity? Generally, all your rebuttals come down ...
by Makri
Mon Jun 25, 2012 12:13 pm UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: English as She Is Spoke [English practice]
Replies: 338
Views: 147677

Re: English as She Is Spoke [English practice]

The Kipling quote, however, is special in that it is from a poem where "more deadly" is necessary for metric reasons because "deadlier" wouldn't work. And the grammar of poems if famously different. The question, therefore, is how it sounds to speakers: is it recognizably strange...
by Makri
Sun Jun 24, 2012 5:59 pm UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: Nonsensical English...
Replies: 131
Views: 35259

Re: Nonsensical English...

Sure, when you have a full sentence, which is not always so. "Cheese sticks" could be a short answer to "what happened in there?", and it could be both sticks made of cheese, and the stickiness of cheese. Not in spoken English - the two phrases are stressed differently. "He...
by Makri
Sun Jun 24, 2012 1:43 pm UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: English as She Is Spoke [English practice]
Replies: 338
Views: 147677

Re: English as She Is Spoke [English practice]

So I can imagine that also the use of "+er/more" for forming the comparative of the middle-length adjectives is used in whatever way sounds nicest to the speaker


You know, that's a tautology. ;)
by Makri
Sun Jun 24, 2012 1:11 pm UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: Nonsensical English...
Replies: 131
Views: 35259

Re: Nonsensical English...

I'm fighting ambiguity at work several times a week. During any team meeting there comes at least one case when some on the team take a term in one meaning and others in another, and it usually takes a few minutes of crosstalk ("me about apples, he about cucumbers") until the misunderstan...
by Makri
Sun Jun 24, 2012 11:50 am UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: Nonsensical English...
Replies: 131
Views: 35259

Re: Nonsensical English...

The only way in which you cannot be sure of this is the way in which Bayesian philosophers tell you never to assign probability 1 to anything. ;)
by Makri
Sun Jun 24, 2012 10:44 am UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: Nonsensical English...
Replies: 131
Views: 35259

Re: Nonsensical English...

Does it make you more intelligent, or does it irritate your eyes? The things that do one don't do the other, and I have a conception about what kinds of things do which. So there's really no problem there. Is "wedding band" the orchestra that plays on weddings or the ring? Rings don't mak...
by Makri
Sun Jun 24, 2012 7:41 am UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: Nonsensical English...
Replies: 131
Views: 35259

Re: Nonsensical English...

Also, some examples on the list ignore stress patterns, and complaining about the ambiguity of compounds is just silly because N+N compounds are ambiguous in all languages that have them. And saying that "not all" is ambiguous between "no" and "some but not all not" is ...
by Makri
Fri Jun 22, 2012 6:20 pm UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: When a language dies, so what?
Replies: 67
Views: 16122

Re: When a language dies, so what?

It goes further than that: something that can be expressed in one language can be expressed in all languages (assuming the vocabulary is available, and words are easy to get). I've spoken to lots of people who would disagree with this, so I don't think it's completely trivial. You know, you're righ...
by Makri
Fri Jun 22, 2012 5:49 pm UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: When a language dies, so what?
Replies: 67
Views: 16122

Re: When a language dies, so what?

But it's empty beyond the statement that every language can adopt new lexical items. Not really a claim worth making, is it? ;)
by Makri
Fri Jun 22, 2012 5:21 pm UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: When a language dies, so what?
Replies: 67
Views: 16122

Re: When a language dies, so what?

Now, Geoff Pullum reportsthat Warlpiri has no native number system and that its speakers borrow the English numbers. This would seem to suggest that, unless the native system was completely forgotten during Western settling (which seems unlikely even if the English system did become widely adopted ...
by Makri
Fri Jun 22, 2012 3:31 pm UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: When a language dies, so what?
Replies: 67
Views: 16122

Re: When a language dies, so what?

If you want a more challenging exercise, argue the point without reference to the annoyance that is Pirahã. :wink:
by Makri
Fri Jun 22, 2012 9:50 am UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: Mimimum number of words for a language
Replies: 47
Views: 13970

Re: Mimimum number of words for a language

Did you know that German has no word for "sorry"? As in, you bump into someone, and say "sorry", but if you bumped into someone whom you know understands only German, and wanted to express the same sentiment, you'd say something like "Es tut mir leid" or "Ich bitt...
by Makri
Fri Jun 22, 2012 8:32 am UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: When a language dies, so what?
Replies: 67
Views: 16122

Re: When a language dies, so what?

English present tense sentences where it's unclear whether the statement is generic (that's presumably what you mean by time-free, and it's not actually time-free: you can have past generics) or properly present. I don't even have that problem in German, where there is no obligatory distinction betw...
by Makri
Thu Jun 21, 2012 4:46 pm UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: Nonsensical English...
Replies: 131
Views: 35259

Re: Nonsensical English...

"this is the life" is actually not that absurd. It sounds like "this is the life [that one would want]" to me. And for some reason, "this is the life [that one would hate]" seems more absurd. I don't know why, though.
by Makri
Thu Jun 21, 2012 2:12 pm UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: English as She Is Spoke [English practice]
Replies: 338
Views: 147677

Re: English as She Is Spoke [English practice]

As for how both can co-exist, it's because, despite having syntax determined by word order rather than morphology, English still has some constructions with fairly free word order; this is one of those occasions. The "need" in "needn't" has a different syntax from the one in &qu...
by Makri
Thu Jun 21, 2012 1:03 pm UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: English as She Is Spoke [English practice]
Replies: 338
Views: 147677

Re: English as She Is Spoke [English practice]

"may not" at least doesn't have a contraction that's widely used in contemporary English. If it does have one, it must be a dialectal form. "mustn't" seems pretty commonplace to me. "needn't" + plain infinitive is also perfectly normal and at least sufficiently formal t...
by Makri
Thu Jun 21, 2012 10:10 am UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: How would you pronounce "Sub-Mariner"?
Replies: 42
Views: 14500

Re: How would you pronounce "Sub-Mariner"?

I had dialects with flapping in mind, hence the "may".
by Makri
Wed Jun 20, 2012 5:50 pm UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: How would you pronounce "Sub-Mariner"?
Replies: 42
Views: 14500

Re: How would you pronounce "Sub-Mariner"?

But speakers of English are quite aware that the t in "butter" may not be the same sound as the t in "but", aren't they? So that's not allophony, either?
by Makri
Wed Jun 20, 2012 1:10 pm UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: Yes, it's.
Replies: 7
Views: 3790

Re: Yes, it's.

Sure. And the rule that sentence-final auxiliaries are stressed is actually not general, but really rigid.
by Makri
Wed Jun 20, 2012 1:08 pm UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: How would you pronounce "Sub-Mariner"?
Replies: 42
Views: 14500

Re: How would you pronounce "Sub-Mariner"?

This is trivial to demonstrate. If I (for example) were to swap the pronunciations of /i/ and /ɑ/; /ɛ/ and /u/, and /æ/ and /ɔ/ as well as doing similar bizarre swaps for consonants, my speech would be unintelligible. On the other hand, people with the pin/pen merger have a different set of phoneme...
by Makri
Wed Jun 20, 2012 10:19 am UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: Yes, it's.
Replies: 7
Views: 3790

Re: Yes, it's.

As a general rule, we stress verbs when they come at the end of a clause. As a very general rule. There is a class of verbs that is arguably unstressed by default (with stress on the subject instead). That's why "the sun róse" is strange in a neutral context like "At 6 o'clock, the s...
by Makri
Wed Jun 20, 2012 10:05 am UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: How would you pronounce "Sub-Mariner"?
Replies: 42
Views: 14500

Re: How would you pronounce "Sub-Mariner"?

Different phones for the same phonemes may make someone hard to understand, but generally, have different phonemes but pronounced similarly does not provide an impediment to understanding. Not sure about this... But there's got to be studies about it! No, you're right actually; fur/furry is not an ...
by Makri
Wed Jun 20, 2012 5:16 am UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: How would you pronounce "Sub-Mariner"?
Replies: 42
Views: 14500

Re: How would you pronounce "Sub-Mariner"?

Whilst /ɜ/ (as I describe it) may have come from /ər/ before rhoticism died in RP, now it is very much a single unified phoneme and, most of the RP-speakers I know would associate the digraph <er> not with the two sounds of a schwa and r, but with one sound. Sure, sounds . But a phoneme is not a so...
by Makri
Tue Jun 19, 2012 7:46 pm UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: How would you pronounce "Sub-Mariner"?
Replies: 42
Views: 14500

Re: How would you pronounce "Sub-Mariner"?

But there's the minimal pair of curt/cut which in RP (being non-rhotic) shows a distinction between [ɜ] and [ɐ]. Well, yes, but that pair is on the phonetic level. Are you arguing that "curt" is /kɜt/ - without an /r/ on even the phonemic level - and "cut" is /kɐt/? I'd just say...
by Makri
Tue Jun 19, 2012 5:50 pm UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: How would you pronounce "Sub-Mariner"?
Replies: 42
Views: 14500

Re: How would you pronounce "Sub-Mariner"?

Actually, I'd go so far as to say that [ɜ], [ɐ] and [ə] are all allophones of /ə/. The first under stress preceding /r/, the second under stress followed by everything else, and the third unstressed. Or you could say that [ɜ:] just is /ər/ under stress. Or something to that effect, depending on the ...
by Makri
Tue Jun 19, 2012 4:18 pm UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: How would you pronounce "Sub-Mariner"?
Replies: 42
Views: 14500

Re: How would you pronounce "Sub-Mariner"?

As a speaker of a language where in the standard, /ə/ is pronounced [ə], while in the dialect, it's pronounced [ɐ], I can't say I think the two are so far apart that they couldn't cound as stressed and unstressed allophones.
by Makri
Tue Jun 19, 2012 12:41 pm UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: How would you pronounce "Sub-Mariner"?
Replies: 42
Views: 14500

Re: How would you pronounce "Sub-Mariner"?

Certainly they do/can have [ə] allophones, but this due to standard vowel reduction processes in English rather than actual allophony or so I would contend. Well, what are these standard vowel reduction processes, if not a certain kind of allophony? I think one of the reasons conflating [ʌ] and [ə]...
by Makri
Tue Jun 19, 2012 8:07 am UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: How would you pronounce "Sub-Mariner"?
Replies: 42
Views: 14500

Re: How would you pronounce "Sub-Mariner"?

I hadn't realised about pronunciation guides conflating them. That's really very poor on their writers' parts given all the different phonemes which can reduce to a schwa when unstressed. That depends on your theoretical stance. There's disagreement on how abstract English phonology should be made....
by Makri
Tue Jun 19, 2012 6:38 am UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: Yes, it's.
Replies: 7
Views: 3790

Re: Yes, it's.

Because the proper intonation for "yes, it is" is to stress "is". You can't stress "'s", so you can't contract.
by Makri
Mon Jun 18, 2012 5:43 pm UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: When a language dies, so what?
Replies: 67
Views: 16122

Re: When a language dies, so what?

Alternative explanations: They didn't actually want to learn it. (Everett isn't your most trusted source among linguists.) Or there is a critical period for learning to count. Or they all have dyscalculia. Or something I haven't just thought of off the top of my head. Yes, it's totally a puzzling fa...
by Makri
Mon Jun 18, 2012 11:51 am UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: When a language dies, so what?
Replies: 67
Views: 16122

Re: When a language dies, so what?

That argument has an awful lot of dubious premises...
by Makri
Sat Jun 16, 2012 3:23 pm UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: Would a "Mozart Effect" for languages work?
Replies: 8
Views: 5922

Re: Would a "Mozart Effect" for languages work?

No, it would not help, because it's an established fact that the ability to distinguish different sounds is something that is present in infants, but is lost as language acquisition proceeds.
by Makri
Sun Jun 03, 2012 5:39 pm UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: Internal/external vs. intra/inter
Replies: 3
Views: 4987

Re: Internal/external vs. intra/inter

How are "internal" and "between" complete opposites? "interstellar" doesn't mean "outside of stars", it means "between stars". The connection you're looking for is probably this: if you take all stars together and mark the space that is delineated by...
by Makri
Fri Jun 01, 2012 8:42 am UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: Words you choose to mispronounce
Replies: 242
Views: 90538

Re: Words you choose to mispronounce

I have doubts the phrase "exactly as it is spelled" is meaningful in the context of English words.

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