Lippy Linguist

Anki – Turning Chinese character-learning from a mountain into a molehill

Guest Work Nov 28, 2017

Guest post by Louise Stevenson, Linguistics, History and Chinese language student at the University of Waikato Those who study Mandarin Chinese are familiar with the question, “But isn’t that one of the hardest languages to learn?” Usually, I like to challenge this question by pointing out how wonderfully straightforward the grammar is – no case-marking, no articles, and no inflection … Read More

Evolution actually – A tale of two disciplines

Andreea Calude Nov 09, 2017

I wrote a recent post which touched on adopting approaches from other disciplines, specifically biology, and applying them to language data. It started a long time ago, that we realised language, as abstract and elusive as it might seem, can be thought of (and even more, modelled) in a similar vein to biological phenomena – people credit Darwin with … Read More

Kia ora: how Māori borrowings shape New Zealand English

Andreea Calude Sep 29, 2017

New Zealand English is one of the youngest dialects of English. It exhibits a number of unique features and the use of words from the indigenous Māori language is probably the most salient and easily recognisable one. In our latest research, we found that the process by which Māori words are most frequently borrowed resembles the Darwinian concept of … Read More

Puzzling over politeness

Andreea Calude Aug 20, 2017

As a parent of young children, I feel the weight of responsibility on my shoulders in regulating how our children speak – particularly when we are in public, but also during family get-togethers. Are they sufficiently polite? Do they remember to say “please” and “thank you”? Do they say “sorry”? The rules for such behaviours are assumed to be uniform, … Read More

Worlds of Words

Andreea Calude Aug 07, 2017

Ever since the Great Eskimo Vocabulary Hoax, we may have all moved on a little from the “language X has Y words for Z”. It has indeed turned out that all those words for snow were actually based on a mere handful of roots (basic core words) that then acquired various bits of words (morphemes) to make what looked … Read More

2