Omniglot News (05/06/22)

Here’s the latest news from the world of Omniglot.

This week there are new language pages about:

  • Dhatki (धाटकी / ڍاٽڪي), a Western Rajasthani language spoken in southern Pakistan and northeasten India.
  • Penobscot (pαnawαhpskewi), an Eastern Abenaki language spoken Penobscot County in Maine in the USA.
  • Moose Cree (ᐃᓕᓖᒧᐧᐃᓐ / ililîmowin), a central Algonquian language spoken Moose Factory Island in Ontario, Canada.

There are a new numbers pages in: Penobscot and Moose Cree, and in Kutchi (કચ્છી), an Indo-Aryan language spoken in Gujarat in India and Sindh in Pakistan.

There’s a new constructed script called Pangeul, which is an alternative way to write Esperanto and French devised by Paoli Mbongo and inspired by the Korean Hangeul alphabet.

Sample text in the Pangeul alphabet in Esperanto

There’s an Omniglot blog posts called Pepper and Salt, which is about words that always or usually go together in a particular order, also known to linguists as binomials. Such as salt and pepper in English, which is usually peper en zout (pepper and salt) in Dutch. There’s also a post about words for Moose in Cree languages, and the usual Language Quiz. See if you can guess what language this is:

Here’s a clue: this language is spoken in the far north.

The mystery language in last week’s language quiz was Khorchin Mongolian (ᠬᠣᠷᠴᠢᠨ), a variety of Mongolian spoken in the Hinggan League in the east of the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region in the north of China.

There are new Celtiadur posts are about words for Tin and Metal and related things in Celtic languages.

In the Adventure in Etymology we’re looking into the origins of the word circus.

Here’s a little song called Ffaldiral that I wrote yesterday in Welsh and English. It’s based on the Welsh word canu, which means to sing, and can mean various other things.

For more Omniglot News see:
https://www.omniglot.com/news/
https://twitter.com/Omniglossia
https://www.facebook.com/groups/omniglot/
https://www.facebook.com/Omniglot-100430558332117

You can also listen to this podcast on: Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music, Stitcher, TuneIn, Podchaser, PlayerFM or podtail.

If you would like to support this podcast, you can make a donation via PayPal or Patreon, or contribute to Omniglot in other ways.

The Fastest Way to Learn Korean with KoreanClass101

Omniglot News (20/02/22)

Here are the latest developments on the Omniglot websites.

This week there are new language pages about:

  • Tawbuid (Batangan / Bangon), a South Mangyan language spoken in the centre of Mindoro Island in the Mimaropa region of the Philippines.
  • Ambala (Ayta Ambala), a Sambalic language spoken in the Central Luzon region of the Philippines.
  • Hatang Kayi, a Central Philippine language spoken in the provinces of Quezon and Rizal on the island of Luzon in the Philippines.

There’s a new adapated script: Greek Arabic (Αλ-γ̲αραπυιιατȣ λ-ιωνάνυιιαχ̌), a way to write Arabic with the Greek alphabet devised by Mohammad Shakeb Baig.

There are new numbers pages in:

  • Andi (къIaваннаб мицци), a Northeast Caucasian language spoken in Dagestan in the Russian Federation.
  • Kodava, (ಕೊಡವ ತಕ್ಕು), a Dravidian language spoken in Karnataka state in southern India.
  • Aheri Gondi, a South-Central Dravidian language spoken in the Indian states of Maharashtra and Telangan.

There’s a new article about Ancient language and extra-Indo-European language in Britain.

I wrote a new song – a lullaby called Lillilu, which is a Scots word for lullaby, inspired by this video by misspunnypennie on TikTok.

On the Omniglot blog we have a post about words for lullabys, a post about the Norfolk dialect word gadwaddick, which means to go on a pleasure trip or jaunt, or to gad about, and a new Language Quiz

The mystery language in last week’s language quiz was Dovahzul, or the Dragon Language, a constructed language that appears in some of the Elder Scrolls series of video games. The recording was from an original song called Vokul Fen Mah (Evil Will Fall) by Malukah, a wonderful singer-songwriter from Mexico.

Another version of this song with Malukah and Peter Hollens:

There are Celtiadur posts about words for smiths and walls and related things in Celtic languages.

The Adventure in Etymology this week tries to see the wood for the trees by looking into the origins of the word wood.

For more Omniglot News see:
https://www.omniglot.com/news/
https://twitter.com/Omniglossia
https://www.facebook.com/groups/omniglot/
https://www.facebook.com/Omniglot-100430558332117

You can also listen to this podcast on: Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music, Stitcher, TuneIn, Podchaser, PlayerFM or podtail.

If you would like to support this podcast, you can make a donation via PayPal or Patreon, or contribute to Omniglot in other ways.

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Omniglot News (23/01/22)

Here are details of the latest developments on Omniglot websites and blogs.

The new languages on Omniglot this week are:

  • Lambya (Ichilambya), a Bantu language spoken in Malawi, Tanzania and Zambia.
  • Chakhar (ᠴᠠᠬᠠᠷ), a variety of Mongolian spoken in the central region of Inner Mongolia in northern China.
  • Barin (ᠪᠠᠭᠠᠷᠢᠨ), a variety of Mongolian spoken in the southeast of Inner Mongolia in northern China.
  • Nusu, a Loloish language spoken in southern China and northern Myanmar/Burma.

There’s a new numbers page in: Tsakonian (τσακώνικα), a variety of Greek spoken in the Tsakonian region of the Peloponnese in Greece.

On the Omniglot blog this week there’s a post about druids or Oak Knowers, a post about Playing Around which looks at ways to say ‘to play’ in English, Portuguese and Welsh, and the usual Language Quiz.

The mystery language in last week’s language quiz was Lambya (Ichilambya), a Bantu language spoken in Malawi, Tanzania and Zambia.

On the Celtiadur this week there’s a post about words for knowledge and related things in Celtic languages.

In the Adventure in Etymology we find out how the word dust is related to words such as dusk, dune and fume.

I wrote a new song about dust, which goes something like this:

I also made improvements to the Russian, Krymchak and Thai language pages, the Theban alphabet page, and the Ukrainian numbers page

For more Omniglot News see:
https://www.omniglot.com/news/
https://twitter.com/Omniglossia
https://www.facebook.com/groups/omniglot/
https://www.facebook.com/Omniglot-100430558332117

You can also listen to this podcast on: Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music, Stitcher, TuneIn, Podchaser, PlayerFM or podtail.

If you would like to support this podcast, you can make a donation via PayPal or Patreon, or contribute to Omniglot in other ways.

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Episode 50 – Solstice

As I recorded this episode 21st December, I decided to look at the meanings and origins of some seasonal words.

Solstice [ˈsɒl.stɪs/ˈsɑl.stɪs] – from Old French solstice (solstice), from the Latin sōlstitium ((summer) solstice), from sōl (sun) and sistō (to stand still) [source].

Winter solstice

Sāturnālia [ˈsɒl.stɪs/ˈsɑl.stɪs] – an ancient Roman holiday honouring Saturn, the Roman of fertility and agriculture. It began on 17th December and was originally a one-day celebration. That was extended to three days during the 2nd century BC, and later extended to seven days [source].

During this time work stopped, and businesses, schools and courts were closed. Slaves were given time off and were served by their masters. People wore colourful clothes, decorated their houses with green branches and other things, gave each other gifts, and spent time with their families and friends eating, drinking, singing, making music, gambling and generally having a good time [source].

In Germanic-speaking cultures Yule originally lasted for whole of December and January. After the arrival of Christianity, the 12 days of Christmas became the main focus of the celebrations. The word yule comes from the Middle English yol (Yuletide, Christmas), from the Old English ġēol/ġeōl (Yuletide, Christmas midwinter) [source].

December is the 12th month of the year, but in the Roman calendar it was the tenth month, and the word December comes from the Latin decem (10) [source].

In Irish December is Mí na Nollag, or literally “the month of Christmas” [source]. In Scottish Gaelic it is an Dùbhlachd, which means “the darkening” [source]. In Welsh December is Rhagfyr, which means the “foreshortening”, referring to the short days [source].

Theme tune

Friday Afternoon / Prynhawn Dydd Gwener

If you would like to support this podcast, you can make a donation via PayPal or Patreon, or contribute to Omniglot in other ways.

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Omniglot News (12/12/21)

The new language pages on Omniglot this week are:

  • Poqomam (Qaq’oral), a Mayan language spoken mainly in the Jalapa Department in southern Guatemala.
  • Tektitek (B’a’aj), a Mayan language spoken mainly in the department of Huehuetenango in western Guatemala.
  • Uspantek (Uspanteko), a Mayan language spoken mainly in the department of Quiché in western Guatemala.

There are new numbers pages in the following languages (all of which are Mayan): Q’eqchi’, Q’anjob’al, Sakapultek, Yucatec Maya, Tektitek and Awakatek.

There’s a new page with a collection of Penny Pinching idioms and sayings in various languages that mean someone is stingy, tight or careful with their money.

On the Omniglot blog we find out when a chair is not a chair in a post entitled Soapy Chairs, and there’s the usual Language Quiz.

The mystery language in last week’s language quiz was Paha, a Kra language spoken in Wenshan Prefecture in Yunnan Province in southern China.

The Celtiadur post this week is about words for Grace and Favour in Celtic languages.

In the Adventure in Etymology this week we’re telling tales about the origins of the word tale.

I also made improvements to the Yucatec Maya and Awakatek language pages.

In other news, I made a little video of a tune I wrote a few years ago called The Whistling Windows / Y Ffenstri Sïo, which you can find on Instagram, TikTok and YouTube:

For more Omniglot News see:
https://www.omniglot.com/news/
https://twitter.com/Omniglossia
https://www.facebook.com/groups/omniglot/
https://www.facebook.com/Omniglot-100430558332117

You can also listen to this podcast on: Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music, Stitcher, TuneIn, Podchaser, PlayerFM or podtail.

If you would like to support this podcast, you can make a donation via PayPal or Patreon, or contribute to Omniglot in other ways.

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Episode 49 – Linguistic Correctness

In this episode I talk about linguistic correctness. That is, the idea that there are correct ways to speak and write languages that conform to grammatical standards and conventions (“rules”), and that anything else is wrong.

There are three kinds of grammatical rules or conventions:

  1. Rules that everybody follows. For example in English, articles and adjectives precede nouns – you say the word and not word the, and a long word, not a word long.
  2. Rules that distinguish the standard varieties of a language from other varieties. For example, in standard English you might say ‘I don’t have any money’, while in some varieties you might say ‘I ain’t got no money’.
  3. Rules that are written in grammar books and which many people believe you should follow. For example, in English infinitives should never be split, sentences should never end with a prepostion, and you should never use a double negative. Many of these were just pet peeves and preferences of 18th century writers.

Then there are spelling and punctuation conventions, such as the use of commas, semi-colons and apostrophes.

I discussed what grammar is and where it comes from in Episode 16 and talk about the origins of some linguistic pet peeves in Episode 16

Further reading
What Is ‘Correct’ Language?
The Notion of Correctness
Definition and Examples of Correctness in Language

Theme tune

Friday Afternoon / Prynhawn Dydd Gwener

If you would like to support this podcast, you can make a donation via PayPal or Patreon, or contribute to Omniglot in other ways.

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Omniglot News (14/11/21)

There’s a new constructed script on Omniglot this week called Abbekosima, which can be used to write English and Russian, and was inspired by the Japanese, Chinese and Korean scripts.

Sample text in Abbekosima in Russian

There are new language pages in:

  • East Frisian (Ōstfräisk), or East Frisian Low Saxon, a mixture of Eastlauwers Frisian, Low German, Dutch and French that is spoken in northern Germany.
  • Moloko (Ma Mǝloko), a Chadic language spoken in the Far North Province of Cameroon.
  • Wanetsi (وڼېڅي), an Eastern Iranian language spoken in southwest Pakistan.
  • Sukuma (Kɪsukuma), a northeast Bantu language spoken in northern Tanzania.
  • Migaama (mìgáàmá), an East Chadic language spoken in central Chad.

There’s also a new numbers page in: Migaama.

There’s a new phrases page in: Tamasheq (Tafaghist), a Berber language spoken in parts of Mali and Burkina Faso.

The Celtiadur post this week is about words for words, calls and cries in Celtic languages.

This week on the Omniglot blog there’s a post about IndyLan, a EU-funded project to promote and teach languages such as Scots, Scottish Gaelic, Cornish, Northern Saami, Basque and Galician. There’s a post called Misdirection about directional words such as upward, downward and awkward – read it to find out which direction awkward is, and the usual Language Quiz

The mystery language in last week’s language quiz was Blang (Pu Lang), a Palaungic language spoken in southern China, and northern Myanmar / Burma and northern Thailand.

This week’s Adventure in Etymology looks at the origins of the word nogging, which should not be confused with noggin, although they might be related.

I also made improvements to the Marwari language page.

Last week I wrote a blog post inspired by the Welsh idiom Mae e’n cadw draenog yn ei boced, which means that he is careful with his money, or literally “he keeps a hedgehog in his pocket”. This inspired me to write a new song this week called Pocket Hedgehogs. You can also hear this on Instagram, TikTok and YouTube:

For more Omniglot News see:
https://www.omniglot.com/news/
https://twitter.com/Omniglossia
https://www.facebook.com/groups/omniglot/
https://www.facebook.com/Omniglot-100430558332117

You can also listen to this podcast on: Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music, Stitcher, TuneIn, Podchaser, PlayerFM or podtail.

If you would like to support this podcast, you can make a donation via PayPal or Patreon, or contribute to Omniglot in other ways.

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Episode 48 – Gamification

In this episode I talk about the gamification of language learning, and specifically how gamification is used in language learning apps like Duolingo.

What is Gamification?
According to Wikipedia, “Gamification is the strategic attempt to enhance systems, services, organizations, and activities in order to create similar experiences to those experienced when playing games in order to motivate and engage users.”

Theme tune

Friday Afternoon / Prynhawn Dydd Gwener

If you would like to support this podcast, you can make a donation via PayPal or Patreon, or contribute to Omniglot in other ways.

Find out more about StoryLearning [affiliate link]

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Omniglot News (03/08/21)

There are three new languages on Omniglot this week:

  • Kusunda (मिहाक / कुसान्डा), a language isolate spoken in the southern Rolpa District of Lumbini province in west-central Nepal.
  • Kodeoha, a Celebic language spoken in Southeast Sulawesi province of Indonesia.
  • Bungku, a Celebic language spoken in the provinces of Central Sulawesi and Southeast Sulawesi in Indonesia.

There’s new constructed script on Omniglot this week called Aketal, an abugida invented by Kazimír Bodnár as an alternative way to write English.

There are new pages of phrases and numbers in Norfuk, an English and Taihitian-based creole language spoken on Norfolk Island in the Pacific, near Australia.

On the Omniglot blog this week there’s a post called Water Wagons, which looks into the origins of the phrase ‘to be on the wagon’, and the Language Quiz.

Last week’s mystery language was (Mambwe-)Lungu (ichiRungu), a Bantu language spoken at the southern end of Lake Tanganyika in Tanzania and Zambia.

In this week’s Celtiadur post you can find connections between circle-related words in Celtic languages, and the English word irrigate.

As quite a bit of wet stuff has been falling out of the sky this week, the Adventure in Etymology looks into the origins of the word rain.

I finally got round to making a new episode of the Radio Omniglot podcast, which looks at the history and use of Emoji (🖼️✍️).

I wrote a new song this week called Music in the Air, which you can also find on SoundCloud, Tiktok and YouTube:

For more Omniglot News see:
https://www.omniglot.com/news/
https://twitter.com/Omniglossia
https://www.facebook.com/groups/omniglot/
https://www.facebook.com/Omniglot-100430558332117

You can also listen to this podcast on: Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, TuneIn, Podchaser, PlayerFM or podtail.

If you would like to support this podcast, you can make a donation via PayPal or Patreon, or contribute to Omniglot in other ways.

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Episode 47 – Emoji (🖼️✍️)

Today we are looking at the origins and use of emoji, those little symbols that appear
in text messages, emails and other electronic communications.

An emoji is a pictogram, logogram, ideogram or smiley used in electronic messages and web pages. Emoji are used to fill in emotional cues otherwise missing from typed conversations. They include facial expressions, common objects, places and types of weather and animals [source].

The word emoji comes from the Japanese word 絵文字 (emoji), which is also written えもじ or エモジ, and means emoji, pictorial symbol, pictograph or pictogram, or literally “picture writing” [source].

Emoji first appeared in 1997 on a Japanese mobile phone made by J-Phone called the SkyWalker DP-211SW, which included 90 black and white emoji. It didn’t sell well and the emoji were rarely used.

A set of 176 colour emoji were created in 1999 by Shigetaka Kurita (栗田穣崇), who was inspired by manga (漫画) comics, which use symbols known as manpu (漫符) to represent emotions, actions, etc. They appeared on the i-mode pager developed by NTT DoCoMo. The emoji became popular in Japan and other companies starting add similar symbols to their mobile systems.

Between 2007 and 2010, the Unicode Consortium and other standarization bodies in the USA, Europe and Japan discussed and eventually agreed on a set of 722 emoji. These were included in the version 6.0 of Unicode, which was released in 2010. More emoji have been added since then, and they have become popular worldwide.

In 2014 the founder of Emojipedia, Jeremy Bruge, declared 17th July as World Emoji Day [source].

In 2015 the face with tears of joy emoji 😂was named Word of the Year by the Oxford Dictionaries [source].

There have been several musicals based on emoji in Los Angeles and New York, and The Emoji Movie was released in 2017 [source]..

According to a 2017 study at the University of Michigan that analysed emoji use in over 1.2 billion messages, the most widely used emoji are the face with tears of joy (😂), the red heart (❤️) and the smiling face with heart eyes (😍). People in Australia, France and Czechia are more likely to use happy emoji, while these in Mexico, Colombia, Chile and Argentina prefer more negative emoji.

The emojitracker site shows realtime emoji use on Twitter. As I’m writing this, the face with tears of joy (😂) appears in the top spot, followed by the red heart (❤️), the loudly crying face (😭), the smiling face with heart eyes (😍), and the recycling symbol (♻️).

The appearance of emoji vary between different operating systems, and the way they’re interpreted can vary from person to person. Some have developed particular meanings in specific contexts or places. Some are culturally specific, such as the white flower emoji (💮), which is used by teachers in Japan when their students have done well. It is also used to indicate love, happiness and beauty on special occasions such as Valentine’s Day. If you include emoji in a message, the person or people receiving it might not get the same meaning from them as you intended.

The novel Moby Dick has been ‘translated’ into emoji to become Emoji Dick or 🐳 (spouting whale), and a few other stories have been written in emoji. Whether readers understand them or not is another matter. Judging by the comments on one of them, most don’t. [source].

If you would like to support this podcast, you can make a donation via PayPal or Patreon, or contribute to Omniglot in other ways.

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