What would you like to see on this blog?

This blog has been online for nearly four months, which is apparently the average life of a website, and I’ve been wondering whether you have any ideas or suggestions for what you’d like to see here. I haven’t run out of ideas myself, but thought asking you would be a good plan.

If any of you would like to post something here, for example details of your language learning advantures, language-related news items, stories, poems, songs, etc., please contact me at the usual address.

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11 Responses to What would you like to see on this blog?

  1. I look at linguistics as a tool for studying the human soul. I’m interested in what studying languages and writing systems reveals about human nature.

    I’d be interested, for example, to read about a language that contains no curses. Rather than being a saintly society, I suspect that they’d be brutal and violent. But you see where I’m going with this.

    Anyhow, that’s my two cents worth.

  2. This is just a small tidbit, but I always like those weird linguistic accidents that occur like the reversal of “liaison” and “affair” when the words went from French to English.

    I just found a really strange one…and this one is either wild coincidence or something even major dictionaries haven’t connected the dots on.

    I’m sure you’ve heard the term “gazillion.” Well, I was recently looking up how to say “thank you” in Arabic, and ran into this transliteration of “thank you very much”:

    “shokran Gazillan”

    http://muttaqun.com/arabic/english2arabic.html

    At which I did a double take: “Does that say ‘Thanks a gazillion??’”

    So I looked up “gazillion” in the Oxford, Webster, and Dictionary.com, and none of them acknowledged any Arabic roots to the term.

    Still, you’ve got the fact that the Arabs gave us a number of math terms…”sifr” and “al-jabr” being a few of the more obvious ones. Was this an accident or some Arabic-speaker’s sense of humor? It would be interesting to find out where the first instance occurred…

  3. TJ says:

    Minstrel>> In fact a more exact transliteration would be: Shukran Jazeelan, with J and not G. In Arabic it is written as: شكرا جزيلا
    Jazeelan comes actually from “Jazeel” and Jazeel means so much. Actually for me, myself, I never hear much in standard arabic unless with “shukran.”
    I can say for example: Jazeel Al-Ni`am, which means “so much a favor” or “so much of favors.”

    There are some words that came into english by Arabic, and there are some of them are in fact transported from Greek into Arabic then into English. I heard for example that the word “cable” is originally from the arabic word “HHabl” حبل which mainly means “rope.” Also there is “Camel” which I think comes from the word “Jamal” جمل which is the Arabic for “camel.”
    To find even more and more about arabic terms used in english or in general in european languages you can just check out the names of the stars and some of the constilltions, like Aldebran, Famelhout (I hope I spelled that right). There are names of constillations that were translated from Greek into Arabic, like Orion which is translated in Arabic as “the ironic man.” Alchemy is another source, but the name of Alchemy itself is in fact an amalgamation of greek and arabic terms as I heard!
    If dictionaries are up to trace back the words and their origins, english would be built up on words that are counted by the hands!!!

  4. I don’t really have any new ideas for the blog, but I did want to say that I’ve really enjoyed reading it. Linguistic diversity is so interesting, and I always like to read about such. I also like the word-of-the-day, and also the quizzes, though I doubt I’ll ever be able to solve one! I do have my own language blog which I write in Spanish for practise (though I doubt very many people read it!), http://www.benjaminbruce.us/voces .

  5. Noted and logged–it may be that the author of that site was not that familiar with the Latin alphabet. Thank you for the correction.

    Arabic words that have entered other languages are extremely interesting to me because Spanish has so many of them. I had a Spanish teacher who was also fluent in Arabic, who had a book of words Spain borrowed from Arabic–and that thing was HUGE. Does anyone know what this book might be I would LOVE to get my hands on one! If I can connect Arabic words to Spanish that would be great for getting past the vocabulary barrier!

  6. Simon says:

    Minstrel – this site might be of interest to you:
    http://www.spanishpronto.com/spanishpronto/arabicglossary.html

  7. Very cool…thanks! :-)

  8. Sam says:

    I always enjoy reading and hearing about other people’s language learning experiences.

    Are there any personality characteristics or mental characteristics that people who speak (or would like to speak) many languages share in common? For example, are such people more likely to have musical talent or a greater curiosity about the world? Or are there any common influences that such people share?

    I have spent much of my life thinking I was the only one who was fascinated by languages, and it’s wonderful to realize I’m not the only one. In fact, many posters are much more advanced than I am, and it gives me encouragement to go on learning.

  9. Adam says:

    I’d like this blog to continue as is. I think you are doing a great job, Simon!

  10. Arianne Slaager says:

    What I would like to see, is some sort of well-known “foreign” word list, and their translations in other languages, if there are any. Usually these will be names or things used in kitchens, but it seems to me like they also will have a specific meaning in the native language.

    Few examples: Al Jazeera, the news station; Teriyaki, the sauce.

    Just a thought, but might be interesting.

  11. New Zealand Coffee Lover says:

    more amharic and italian.