Search found 136 matches

by Supergrunch
Sat Aug 28, 2010 5:20 am UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: If you had to do a project...
Replies: 27
Views: 4061

Re: If you had to do a project...

I would do it on the fact that many people believe that there exist some sort of absolute rules for how language should work, independent of native speaker usage or intuition.
by Supergrunch
Mon Dec 14, 2009 5:58 pm UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: Japanese: 5 vowels or 4?
Replies: 16
Views: 3553

Re: Japanese: 5 vowels or 4?

I think ZLVT's point is that "ye" doesn't have a character now. Whether it did or didn't in the past doesn't matter. Yep, this is pretty much the case, unless you're looking at one proposed older system being replaced by a newer one, as in the 4 vowel → 5 vowel thing above, in which case ...
by Supergrunch
Mon Dec 14, 2009 6:06 am UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: Japanese: 5 vowels or 4?
Replies: 16
Views: 3553

Re: Japanese: 5 vowels or 4?

as it doesn't seem likely that the whole phonology of the language rearranged itself to a 5 vowel system when forms like /še če ǰe/ were innovated. Why not? How did these /še če ǰe/ arise, anyway? Just curious... Just because a fairly massive change to the phonology like that would likely require f...
by Supergrunch
Sat Dec 12, 2009 4:59 am UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: Japanese: 5 vowels or 4?
Replies: 16
Views: 3553

Re: Japanese: 5 vowels or 4?

First off, I should note that using Japanese orthography confuses things a bit, as it kind of already has its own conception of phonology that it works on, that bears a resemblance to the actual phonology of the language but is not accurate in all respects, especially if you're going to make proposa...
by Supergrunch
Mon Nov 23, 2009 6:15 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Good example of monomeric protein.
Replies: 9
Views: 4117

Re: Good example of monomeric protein.

I thought I'd be able to think of loads, but it turned out to be surprisingly hard and I had to google/wiki around a bit until I found transferrin. Not sure about classic examples, however.
by Supergrunch
Sun Nov 08, 2009 10:30 pm UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: Is Language Bound By The Incompleteness Theorem?
Replies: 41
Views: 7837

Re: Is Language Bound By The Incompleteness Theorem?

From now on I will consider a language to be a set (finite or infinite) of sentences, each finite in length and constructed out of a finite set of elements. isn't about natural languages; it's about formal languages. Natural languages (the kind we speak) are recursive and are capable of generating ...
by Supergrunch
Fri Jun 12, 2009 11:06 pm UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: Millionth English word...or just hype?
Replies: 6
Views: 1466

Re: Millionth English word...or just hype?

My first essay as a linguistics student was to explain why the global language monitor is nonsense. They (or maybe he, as it only seems to be run by one guy) are basically the laughing stock of linguists.
by Supergrunch
Mon Mar 16, 2009 2:46 pm UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: Memorizing Kanji/Kana
Replies: 9
Views: 2692

Re: Memorizing Kanji/Kana

I hear the only real way to learn kanji is just to grit your teeth and go through them all, obviously using as many memory techniques as are helpful. I say "hear" because I've yet to have the time or motivation to do this, and instead just rely on the few hundred I've picked up at random. ...
by Supergrunch
Mon Mar 16, 2009 2:43 pm UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: literal translations
Replies: 35
Views: 3321

Re: literal translations

I don't think this kind of approach would be very helpful, as it's by definition using one language as a crutch to help learn another, which never tends to be terribly efficient. It's far better to to try and "think" in the new language as quickly as possible, and then learn the new idioms...
by Supergrunch
Mon Mar 09, 2009 11:19 am UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: Is this a sentence fragment
Replies: 19
Views: 4408

Re: Is this a sentence fragment

"That don't show up" is considered to be a clausal phrase in much grammatical theory, which is embedded within the complex noun phrase "substitute teachers that don't show up." There's no problem with doing this - I judge your sentence to be very definitely grammatical.
by Supergrunch
Fri Feb 27, 2009 8:34 pm UTC
Forum: Logic Puzzles
Topic: A new formulation of the blue eyes puzzle
Replies: 3
Views: 1865

Re: A new formulation of the blue eyes puzzle

It seems to me you're missing a guru. Nah, the phagocyte is the guru, unless I made some horrible mistake - the fact that only Gram positive cells respond to its signals mean it effectively says "I see someone who is Gram positive." I can't see any reason for the guru to need to be the sa...
by Supergrunch
Fri Feb 27, 2009 12:53 pm UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: Techniques to learning a different language?
Replies: 5
Views: 1291

Re: Techniques to learning a different language?

X-bar theory is a putatively universal way of representing hierarchical structure within sentences. It's actually quite simple, but there doesn't seem to be anywhere online that explains it very clearly. The basic idea is that all grammatical categories (i.e. nouns, verbs, prepositions etc.) have th...
by Supergrunch
Fri Feb 27, 2009 9:18 am UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: Why Don't Verbs Conjugate with the Object?
Replies: 102
Views: 15130

Re: Why Don't Verbs Conjugate with the Object?

How is there no subject in an imperative sentence? In a sentence like, say, "Shut up and play the guitar", the subject is implicitly "you". Yes, the argument is more whether that implicit agent is part of the syntax in terms of a covert subject, or just interpreted by pragmatics...
by Supergrunch
Fri Feb 27, 2009 9:10 am UTC
Forum: Logic Puzzles
Topic: A new formulation of the blue eyes puzzle
Replies: 3
Views: 1865

A new formulation of the blue eyes puzzle

When I was telling someone else about the blue eyes puzzle (which I'm a massive fan of, and have spent ages analysing), I thought of another relatively different way of formulating the question, in terms of a (very definitely imaginary) microbiology problem. I'm not sure where (if anywhere here) is ...
by Supergrunch
Fri Feb 27, 2009 4:18 am UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: Why Don't Verbs Conjugate with the Object?
Replies: 102
Views: 15130

Re: Why Don't Verbs Conjugate with the Object?

Passives btw are nowhere near subjectless, they have a clearly defined subject, even if it's usually patientive. Subject, at least in languages like English, has to be defined syntactically (since there is no unifying semantic or pragmatic definition, at most one covering prototypical cases which m...
by Supergrunch
Thu Feb 26, 2009 6:13 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Organic Vegetables
Replies: 73
Views: 4600

Re: Organic Vegetables

I have a friend who isn't much of a sciencey person, but is very into vegetarianism and natural living, and like many such people, thinks there is some kind of dichotomy between natural (read: good) and artificial (read: bad). I once tried to explain to her that this is far too much of a simplifica...
by Supergrunch
Wed Feb 25, 2009 7:14 pm UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: Learned/learnt, burned/burnt
Replies: 24
Views: 3776

Re: Learned/learnt, burned/burnt

So I brought this up in syntax class - my lecturer thinks learnt and learned (or whatever) are probably in the same syntactic category, but have slight semantic differences, which vary regionally. Which seems fairly reasonable, I suppose.
by Supergrunch
Mon Feb 23, 2009 7:14 am UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Organic Vegetables
Replies: 73
Views: 4600

Re: Organic Vegetables

I have a friend who isn't much of a sciencey person, but is very into vegetarianism and natural living, and like many such people, thinks there is some kind of dichotomy between natural (read: good) and artificial (read: bad). I once tried to explain to her that this is far too much of a simplificat...
by Supergrunch
Sun Feb 22, 2009 12:20 pm UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: Learned/learnt, burned/burnt
Replies: 24
Views: 3776

Re: Learned/learnt, burned/burnt

if "soothing" is how you calm a crying baby then would be very weird to pronounce it as anything other than "sooth'd" [because this th is voiced] Yes, but "burn" and "learn" and "spell" also all end in voiced consonants, so by the same pattern by wh...
by Supergrunch
Sat Feb 21, 2009 4:36 pm UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: Learned/learnt, burned/burnt
Replies: 24
Views: 3776

Re: Learned/learnt, burned/burnt

And OED confirms it's a BrE/AmE thing, with learnt being the form preferred in the UK. But I see both all the time, so its presumably only a rough preference. That link is not the OED, it's a OUP site. The OED actually says nothing about the geographic distribution of the forms. Here's what the OED...
by Supergrunch
Sat Feb 21, 2009 7:26 am UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: Isn't it ironic?
Replies: 17
Views: 3521

Re: Isn't it ironic?

What is more ironic than a song called "Ironic" that is ironic because it isn't ironic? Yo Dawg meme in 3... 2... 1... Yo dawg, I wrote you a song called Irony that isn't actually ironic, so it can ironically be describing purported irony without being ironic. Hmm, I'm sure someone can co...
by Supergrunch
Sat Feb 21, 2009 7:13 am UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: Learned/learnt, burned/burnt
Replies: 24
Views: 3776

Re: Learned/learnt, burned/burnt

There's also the problem that this isn't really a question about spelling. How so? I took it to be a question of the correct spelling of the past participle of certain verbs, like "learn", "burn", and indeed "spell" itself, which I've also seen both as "spelled&qu...
by Supergrunch
Wed Feb 18, 2009 8:09 am UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: speaking in tongues (what should I learn immersively?)
Replies: 30
Views: 3406

Re: speaking in tongues (what should I learn immersively?)

Well I somewhat naiively started learning Japanese a few years ago because I thought it would have interesting grammar, and now I'm midway through a linguistics degree, I'm rather pleased to see that I was right. Both the phonology and the syntax are fascinating, and the grammar is also great fun to...
by Supergrunch
Wed Feb 18, 2009 4:42 am UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: To "that" or not to "that"
Replies: 32
Views: 3321

Re: To "that" or not to "that"

Note, however, that the constructions behave differently with respect to 'extraction-phenomena', that is you can ask 1) Who do you believe exists? but not 2) Who do you believe that exists? At least that's what they teach you in Germany ;) Yes, that causes all sorts of complexities relating to extr...
by Supergrunch
Tue Feb 17, 2009 7:24 pm UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: To "that" or not to "that"
Replies: 32
Views: 3321

Re: To "that" or not to "that"

It's optional, both versions are grammatical.
by Supergrunch
Mon Feb 16, 2009 2:49 am UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: "Thread"
Replies: 24
Views: 2009

Re: "Thread"

Doesn't it partly derive from the idiom "thread of conversation," which pretty much describes what a thread entails? (i.e. a particular theme and/or a linked part of a conversation; the discourse is metaphorically treated as a fabric consisting of multiple threads) I suppose it's also to d...
by Supergrunch
Thu Feb 12, 2009 3:54 am UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: What's your favorite element? and the one you hate the most?
Replies: 98
Views: 10154

Re: What's your favorite element? and the one you hate the most?

I remember hearing that as a result of relativistic effects, francium is actually less reactive with water than caesium is, so you can tell them that. Makes sense I suppose, what with it being in the right period for that kind of thing. Anyway there are of course many more atoms of caesium in the wo...
by Supergrunch
Mon Feb 09, 2009 4:52 am UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: Cryptic Crossworlds. An introduction.
Replies: 15
Views: 2610

Re: Crossworld solvers' thread

Ended wrote:
Spoiler:
1. Cash crop [I don't understand the cryptic part of the definition for this one, i.e., the stuff before the hyphen.]

Spoiler:
Isn't it crash cop, with r (end of pear) being "put back" to cop, making cash crop? Doesn't quite work though.

Anyway, I like the GCSE clue.
by Supergrunch
Fri Feb 06, 2009 9:43 pm UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: Cryptic Crossworlds. An introduction.
Replies: 15
Views: 2610

Re: Cryptic Crossworlds. An introduction.

I love these, but am useless at solving them. My favourite clue (not made up by me) is:

Tickets required for loud disapproval of Royal skating display. (7,6)
Spoiler:
Booking office.
by Supergrunch
Wed Feb 04, 2009 3:05 am UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: Diagramming sentences
Replies: 11
Views: 3182

Re: Diagramming sentences

@supergrunch: I fear this is a little off-topic but I think that in your tree, the DP "volunteers" should be base-generated within the VP - it is, as you pointed out, a passive-construction and the corresponding active-sentence is something like "We need volunteers to help torture su...
by Supergrunch
Mon Feb 02, 2009 6:11 pm UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: 日本語 (Japanese Practice)
Replies: 552
Views: 199212

Re: 日本語 (Japanese Practice)

gibberishtwist wrote:So...does wa make it formal and that's it?

No, wa marks the topic, and should usually be there, but you can drop it and other particles in informal situations. Note that if the topic is obvious, then you don't need the wa-marked phrase at all, and including it makes the sentence more emphatic.
by Supergrunch
Mon Feb 02, 2009 2:23 pm UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: 日本語 (Japanese Practice)
Replies: 552
Views: 199212

Re: 日本語 (Japanese Practice)

I don't know if this has been asked already (I searched but couldn't find it, so I think I'm safe), but what's the difference between watashi and watashi-wa? The only difference I've been able to see (In movies and anime) is that watashi seems to be used for internal dialogue, while watashi-wa seem...
by Supergrunch
Mon Feb 02, 2009 1:55 pm UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: Diagramming sentences
Replies: 11
Views: 3182

Re: Diagramming sentences

Well, the main difference is that one reading has torture surviours as a noun phrase, whereas the other has torture as a verb and survivors as a noun, but as people have pointed out, there are other subtleties that your kind of sentence diagram may not be able to show. I don't know how Kellogg-Reed ...
by Supergrunch
Wed Dec 03, 2008 6:05 pm UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: None of these ___ true
Replies: 42
Views: 6209

Re: None of these ___ true

There's a summary of the whole Stephen Fry thing here.

Anyway, I've never heard anyone seriously treat "none" as singular, and "are" definitely appeals to my native speaker intuitions.
by Supergrunch
Thu Aug 07, 2008 8:20 pm UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: -0.5
Replies: 48
Views: 6051

Re: -0.5

Normally, I would pronounce it "negative zero point five." However, the fact that you are asking reminds me of a math teacher I had once who would insist that I pronounce it, "negative zero and five tenths." He would shudder if we ever said 'point'. I dunno why. Why not "ne...
by Supergrunch
Thu Aug 07, 2008 7:31 pm UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: -0.5
Replies: 48
Views: 6051

Re: -0.5

Normally, I would pronounce it "negative zero point five." However, the fact that you are asking reminds me of a math teacher I had once who would insist that I pronounce it, "negative zero and five tenths." He would shudder if we ever said 'point'. I dunno why. Why not "ne...
by Supergrunch
Thu Aug 07, 2008 2:08 pm UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: -0.5
Replies: 48
Views: 6051

Re: -0.5

naught = [nαt] nought = [???] I pronounce them the same, to (sorry, but I am the suck at working with the phonetic alphabet) rhyme with thought, bought, taught, caught, etc... /angell Oops, got my IPA wrong anyways because I use neither. They're both [noːt], though not is [nɔt] (In American. [nɔːt]...
by Supergrunch
Wed Aug 06, 2008 5:28 pm UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: A small topic not undedicated to Double Negatives
Replies: 71
Views: 9346

Re: A small topic dedicated to Double Negatives

rational thinker Actually, a rational thinker might be more likely to conclude that the "double negative" in some kinds of English is actually negative concord, where the negation spreads across multiple words. This is common in many languages. Hence why I was about to post "Je ne su...
by Supergrunch
Wed Aug 06, 2008 3:05 pm UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: Linguistics Olympiad questions
Replies: 2
Views: 1333

Linguistics Olympiad questions

This was posted on Language Log the other day, and I thought some of you might find it fun to try. It took me about three hours to complete, and was great fun, though pretty damn hard. The questions seem to be roughly arranged in order of difficulty, though personally I found part D the hardest. (a...
by Supergrunch
Mon Aug 04, 2008 5:56 pm UTC
Forum: Language/Linguistics
Topic: Question regarding the Japanese language
Replies: 6
Views: 1607

Re: Question regarding the Japanese language

The Japanese writing system is pretty insane, often said to be the most complex in the world, partly because it uses four scripts at once. These are hiragana (the simple curly ones), katakana (the simple boxy ones), kanji (the complex ones stolen from Chinese, though sometimes a little different), a...

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