Oh! I actually know the answer to this one! American newspaper ads charged by the letter, so a lot of people would eliminate unnecessary letters like the second L in “cancelled” or the U in “colour”. Some of these spelling changes were used so often that they stuck, and now Americans just spell some words differently.
In summary: Americans spell things weird because capitalism
So one of our new vocabulary words is “malus”, meaning “bad”, and I asked my students if they could think of any English derivatives, telling them that just about any English word that begins with M-A-L is going to mean something “bad”.
I’m expecting stuff like: malice, malcontent, malnourished, or even malware or Maleficent.
Instead I get this one girl in the back of the room say “male” with the most dead-eyed expression.
This has the same energy as two years ago when another student said she remembered “vir” meant “man” because “it looks like virus, and men are a virus”.
One of my Latin students, whenever I’d ask if they wanted a couple extra minutes to review before a test, would always say, “No, we die like men.” And so finally I asked her why it was always ‘like men’. She said, “We die like men, unprepared and useless.”
when i was really little, my babysitter only spoke spanish with me so i became bilingual but i never knew when i was speaking spanish or english. one time i told my mom i wanted an avocado & she understood but then when i said the same thing to my babysitter later that day, she burst into tears with laughter because i was saying “quiero abogado” which means “i want a lawyer.”
imagine a two year old repeatedly saying “i want a lawyer!” as an adult laughs at her.
Reminding me of also funny story: So my piano teacher of many years when I was a kid had a baby when I was in my teens. This little girl was super bright, and also bilingual in Mandarin and English from her first word.
I do not speak Mandarin. At all.
One day as I’m waiting for my mom to pick me up after the lesson, Baby Girl is playing in the kitchen and hears me sneeze! And she runs over and says, “You need [incomprehensible]?”
Now here’s the thing: I knew she was not speaking Mandarin. I don’t speak it, but my aunt and uncle both do, and a close family friend’s family growing up would code-switch quite comfortably around us. I was old enough and it was sufficiently different from English that because there was no formal teaching, I never derived anything from it? But I was very familiar with how it sounds to an uncomprehending ear.
What she said did not sound like Mandarin at all. It sounded like gibberish. Like English baby gibberish.
As I clearly didn’t understand, Baby Girl repeats, “You need [gibberish]!” and then, when I still don’t understand, she stamps her foot and makes Angry Noise at me, which attracts her mother’s attention.
Bewildered, I relate what’s going on. Her mother covers her face and says, “She wants to know if you want a kleenex.”
And then my piano teacher explained that Baby Girl had figured out that some people didn’t speak English and some people didn’t speak Mandarin and she needed to confine herself to one language around them.
But sometimes, as is very natural especially for quite young children, she’d run up against realizing she didn’t know the word for something – and sometimes she knew the word in one language, but not in the other!
And it seemed intuitive to her that the way to fix this was to say the word from the other language … with the right accent.
So what she’d been doing was taking the word for “tissue” or “kleenex” in Mandarin and saying it like an Anglophone would: no tone-change and different vowel shapes and all. And it made Baby Girl VERY FRUSTRATED when this did not solve the problem, and at that point she seemed to believe that the adults around her were being stupid on purpose.
children are amazing
This post was inspired by years and years of watching movies, series, and fanfics royally and hilariously fuck up the use of names in the Russian language, coming to the point where, if I see another pair of best buddies call each other by full name, I will shoot something, I swear to God.
There are 3 ways people in Russia address each other, and they denote different levels of formality, and the relationship between the speakers. You should know this stuff if you wanna write anything that includes Russian people talking to each other, because if you get it wrong, it will be, alternatively, hilarious or cringe-worthy. I have seen soo much of this in fanfic it’s not funny anymore. So read up y’all!
1. Name + Patronymic.
A patronym, or patronymic, is a component of a surname based on the given name of one’s father, grandfather or an even earlier male ancestor. (thank you, Wikipedia!) A patronymic is not a middle name. Russian people don’t have middle names, period. But we all have patronymics!
Used towards: your teacher, your big boss, a senior citizen with whom you don’t have a close relationship (say, your classmate’s grandma), your doctor, any kind of professor or scholar when you address them formally, a client when you’re in the service industry/work with people (not always, but very often).
Example: Ivan Petrovich, Sergey Vladimirovich, Anna Anatolyevna, Maria Sergeevna, etc
getting thorny in the linguistics fandom
That also goes for using ß as an aesthetic B.
On my old server, there was a character named ßillyßadass.
This never failed to make me laugh, because that letter is not pronounced like B. It is a sharp S.
That guy named himself SsillySsadass.
Also to people who you Σ as an aesthetic E
that’s an S too, Σo maybe check next time
Д as an aesthetic A? Дon’t be a
И as an aesthetic N? don’t be sillи.
П as another aesthetic N? stoп it.
У as an aesthetic Y? ty bad.
as an aesthetic W? nope. it’s “sh” and “shch”!
Я as an aesthetic R? surprise! it’s “ya”.
ah yes, that classic horror film SNYEYAPOVUL DIAYAIES
Language tumblr, teach me more
if you’re american and coming to australia, I’m gonna go ahead and say that you should be 100 percent way more worried about being king hit by a dude named “dane” in a bintang singlet than any fucking spiders that exist here
what does this say in english
“Good sir, if you are a resident of the United States of America and coming to visit the sunny land of Australia, allow me to inform you that you should be rather more concerned about being sucker punched by a gentleman named ‘Dane’ who is likely to be seen wearing a wifebeater with a beer company logo on it than by any of the dangerous spiders that exist on this lovely continent”.
ok so what does it say in american
“You’re more likely to get sucker punched/cold-cocked by an asshole than you are to be bitten by a spider”.
Well rattle my spoons, that don’t make a lick of sense. Wot in tarnation does this hootenanny say?
“If ya mosey on by Australia, you best be fixin’ to get to some fisticuffs more’n checkin fer spiders.”
This is a Rosetta Stone for a single language
Ancient moon priestesses were called virgins. ‘Virgin’ meant not married, not belonging to a man – a woman who was ‘one-in-herself’. The very word derives from a Latin root meaning strength, force, skill; and was later applied to men: virle. Ishtar, Diana, Astarte, Isis were all all called virgin, which did not refer to sexual chastity, but sexual independence. And all great culture heroes of the past, mythic or historic, were said to be born of virgin mothers: Marduk, Gilgamesh, Buddha, Osiris, Dionysus, Genghis Khan, Jesus – they were all affirmed as sons of the Great Mother, of the Original One, their worldly power deriving from her. When the Hebrews used the word, and in the original Aramaic, it meant ‘maiden’ or ‘young woman’, with no connotations to sexual chastity. But later Christian translators could not conceive of the ‘Virgin Mary’ as a woman of independent sexuality, needless to say; they distorted the meaning into sexually pure, chaste, never touched. —Monica Sjoo
Casual reminder that “virgin” in the modern/Christian sense of the word is literally a complete bullshit, made-up social construct, arbitrarily given a negative connotation.
My top three feminist exploitations of male-default language:
1. “Valar morghulis. All men must die.” “Yes, but we are not men.” – Daenerys, Game of Thrones
2. “No man can kill me!” “I am no man!!!!” – Eowyn, LotR: Return of the King
3. “God creates dinosaurs. God destroys dinosaurs. God creates man. Man destroys God. Man creates dinosaurs.” “Dinosaurs eat man. Woman inherits the earth.” – Dr. Ellie Sattler, Jurassic Park
4. “That’s No Man’s Land. That means no man can cross it”
“No, but it’s what I’m going to do” – Diana Prince, Wonder Woman