Topic: Languages

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🔗 E-Prime: English without the verb 'to be'

🔗 Linguistics 🔗 Linguistics/Applied Linguistics 🔗 Languages 🔗 Constructed languages 🔗 English Language

E-Prime (short for English-Prime or English Prime, sometimes denoted É or E′) is a version of the English language that excludes all forms of the verb to be, including all conjugations, contractions and archaic forms.

Some scholars advocate using E-Prime as a device to clarify thinking and strengthen writing. A number of other scholars have criticized E-Prime's utility.

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🔗 Antarctic English

🔗 Linguistics 🔗 Antarctica 🔗 Languages 🔗 English Language

Antarctic English is a variety of the English language spoken by people living on the continent of Antarctica and within the subantarctic islands.: vii  Spoken primarily by scientists and workers in the Antarctic tourism industry, it consists of various unique words and is spoken with a unique accent. During the 19th and 20th centuries, Antarctic English was influenced by Spanish-speaking South Americans and Northern European explorers who introduced new words that continue to be used today.

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🔗 Attempto Controlled English

🔗 Computer science 🔗 Linguistics 🔗 Languages

Attempto Controlled English (ACE) is a controlled natural language, i.e. a subset of standard English with a restricted syntax and restricted semantics described by a small set of construction and interpretation rules. It has been under development at the University of Zurich since 1995. In 2013, ACE version 6.7 was announced.

ACE can serve as knowledge representation, specification, and query language, and is intended for professionals who want to use formal notations and formal methods, but may not be familiar with them. Though ACE appears perfectly natural – it can be read and understood by any speaker of English – it is in fact a formal language.

ACE and its related tools have been used in the fields of software specifications, theorem proving, text summaries, ontologies, rules, querying, medical documentation and planning.

Here are some simple examples:

  1. Every woman is a human.
  2. A woman is a human.
  3. A man tries-on a new tie. If the tie pleases his wife then the man buys it.

ACE construction rules require that each noun be introduced by a determiner (a, every, no, some, at least 5, ...). Regarding the list of examples above, ACE interpretation rules decide that (1) is interpreted as universally quantified, while (2) is interpreted as existentially quantified. Sentences like "Women are human" do not follow ACE syntax and are consequently not valid.

Interpretation rules resolve the anaphoric references in (3): the tie and it of the second sentence refer to a new tie of the first sentence, while his and the man of the second sentence refer to a man of the first sentence. Thus an ACE text is a coherent entity of anaphorically linked sentences.

The Attempto Parsing Engine (APE) translates ACE texts unambiguously into discourse representation structures (DRS) that use a variant of the language of first-order logic. A DRS can be further translated into other formal languages, for instance AceRules with various semantics, OWL, and SWRL. Translating an ACE text into (a fragment of) first-order logic allows users to reason about the text, for instance to verify, to validate, and to query it.

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🔗 Languages of India

🔗 India 🔗 Languages

Languages spoken in India belong to several language families, the major ones being the Indo-Aryan languages spoken by 78.05% of Indians and the Dravidian languages spoken by 19.64% of Indians. Languages spoken by the remaining 2.31% of the population belong to the Austroasiatic, Sino-Tibetan, Tai-Kadai and a few other minor language families and isolates. India (780) has the world's second highest number of languages, after Papua New Guinea (839).

Article 343 of the Indian constitution stated that the official language of the Union should become Hindi in Devanagari script instead of the extant English. Later, a constitutional amendment, The Official Languages Act, 1963, allowed for the continuation of English alongside Hindi in the Indian government indefinitely until legislation decides to change it. The form of numerals to be used for the official purposes of the Union are "the international form of Indian numerals", which are referred to as Arabic numerals in most English-speaking countries. Despite the misconceptions, Hindi is not the national language of India. The Constitution of India does not give any language the status of national language.

The Eighth Schedule of the Indian Constitution lists 22 languages, which have been referred to as scheduled languages and given recognition, status and official encouragement. In addition, the Government of India has awarded the distinction of classical language to Kannada, Malayalam, Odia, Sanskrit, Tamil and Telugu. Classical language status is given to languages which have a rich heritage and independent nature.

According to the Census of India of 2001, India has 122 major languages and 1599 other languages. However, figures from other sources vary, primarily due to differences in definition of the terms "language" and "dialect". The 2001 Census recorded 30 languages which were spoken by more than a million native speakers and 122 which were spoken by more than 10,000 people. Two contact languages have played an important role in the history of India: Persian and English. Persian was the court language during the Mughal period in India. It reigned as an administrative language for several centuries until the era of British colonisation. English continues to be an important language in India. It is used in higher education and in some areas of the Indian government. Hindi, the most commonly spoken language in India today, serves as the lingua franca across much of North and Central India. Bengali is the second most spoken and understood language in the country with a significant amount of speakers in Eastern and North- eastern regions. However, there have been concerns raised with Hindi being imposed in South India, most notably in the state of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. Maharashtra, West Bengal, Assam, Punjab and other non-Hindi regions have also started to voice concerns about Hindi.

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🔗 Verlan: French slang that inverses words

🔗 France 🔗 Languages

Verlan (French pronunciation: ​[vɛʁlɑ̃]), (verlan is the reverse of the expression "l'envers") is a type of argot in the French language, featuring inversion of syllables in a word, and is common in slang and youth language. It rests on a long French tradition of transposing syllables of individual words to create slang words. The name verlan itself is an example: it is derived from inverting the sounds of the syllables in l'envers ([lɑ̃vɛʁ], "the inverse", frequently used in the sense of "back-to-front").

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🔗 Bouba/Kiki Effect

🔗 Medicine 🔗 Languages 🔗 Medicine/Neurology

The bouba/kiki effect is a non-arbitrary mapping between speech sounds and the visual shape of objects. It was first documented by Wolfgang Köhler in 1929 using nonsense words. The effect has been observed in American university students, Tamil speakers in India, young children, and infants, and has also been shown to occur with familiar names. It is absent in individuals who are congenitally blind and reduced in autistic individuals. The effect was investigated using fMRI in 2018.

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🔗 The Basque-Icelandic Pidgin

🔗 Languages 🔗 Iceland

The Basque–Icelandic pidgin was a Basque-based pidgin spoken in Iceland in the 17th century. It consisted of Basque, Germanic and Romance words.

Basque whale hunters who sailed to the Icelandic Westfjords used the pidgin as a means of rudimentary communication with locals. It might have developed in Westfjords, where manuscripts were written in the language, but since it had influences from many other European languages, it is more likely that it was created elsewhere and brought to Iceland by Basque sailors. Basque entries are mixed with words from Dutch, English, French, German and Spanish. The Basque–Icelandic pidgin is thereby not a mixture between Basque and Icelandic, but between Basque and other languages. It was named from the fact that it was written down in Iceland and translated into Icelandic.

Only a few manuscripts have been found containing Basque–Icelandic glossary, and knowledge about the pidgin is limited.

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🔗 Ithkuil is an experimental constructed language. Nobody speaks it fluently

🔗 Languages 🔗 Constructed languages

Ithkuil is an experimental constructed language created by John Quijada. It is designed to express deeper levels of human cognition briefly yet overtly and clearly, particularly with regard to human categorization. It is a cross between an a priori philosophical and a logical language. It tries to minimize the vagueness and semantic ambiguity found in natural human languages. Ithkuil is notable for its grammatical complexity and extensive phoneme inventory, the latter being simplified in an upcoming redesign. The name "Ithkuil" is an anglicized form of Iţkuîl, which in the original form roughly means "hypothetical representation of a language". Quijada states he did not create Ithkuil to be auxiliary or used in everyday conversations. He wanted the language to be used for more elaborate and profound fields where more insightful thoughts are expected, such as philosophy, arts, science and politics.

Meaningful phrases or sentences can usually be expressed in Ithkuil with fewer linguistic units than in natural languages. For example, the two-word Ithkuil sentence "Tram-mļöi hhâsmařpţuktôx" can be translated into English as "On the contrary, I think it may turn out that this rugged mountain range trails off at some point". Quijada deems his creation as too complex to have developed naturally, seeing it as an exercise in exploring how languages could function. No person, including Quijada himself, is known to be able to speak Ithkuil fluently. It was featured in the Language Creation Conference's 6th Conlang Relay.

Four versions of the language have been publicized: the initial version in 2004, a simplified version called Ilaksh in 2007, the current version in 2011, and as of 2017, various revisions of a new version of the language, named Ithkuil IV. In 2004—and again in 2009 with Ilaksh—Ithkuil was featured in the Russian-language popular science and IT magazine Computerra. In 2008, David Peterson awarded it the Smiley Award. In 2013, Bartłomiej Kamiński codified the language to be able to quickly parse complicated sentences. Julien Tavernier and anonymous others have followed suit. Since July 2015, Quijada has released several Ithkuil songs in a prog rock style as part of the album Kaduatán, which translates to "Wayfarers". Recently, online communities for the language have developed in English, Russian, Mandarin, and Japanese.

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🔗 Tocharian Languages

🔗 China 🔗 Central Asia 🔗 Languages

The Tocharian (sometimes Tokharian) languages ( or ), also known as Arśi-Kuči, Agnean-Kuchean or Kuchean-Agnean, are an extinct branch of the Indo-European language family spoken by inhabitants of the Tarim Basin, the Tocharians. The languages are known from manuscripts dating from the 5th to the 8th century AD, which were found in oasis cities on the northern edge of the Tarim Basin (now part of Xinjiang in Northwest China) and the Lop Desert. The discovery of these languages in the early 20th century contradicted the formerly prevalent idea of an east–west division of the Indo-European language family as centum and satem languages, and prompted reinvigorated study of the Indo-European family. Scholars studying these manuscripts in the early 20th century identified their authors with the Tokharoi, a name used in ancient sources for people of Bactria (Tokharistan). Although this identification is now believed to be mistaken, "Tocharian" remains the usual term for these languages.

The discovered manuscripts record two closely related languages, called Tocharian A (also East Tocharian, Agnean or Turfanian) and Tocharian B (West Tocharian or Kuchean). The subject matter of the texts suggests that Tocharian A was more archaic and used as a Buddhist liturgical language, while Tocharian B was more actively spoken in the entire area from Turfan in the east to Tumshuq in the west. A body of loanwords and names found in Prakrit documents from the Lop Nor basin have been dubbed Tocharian C (Kroränian). A claimed find of ten Tocharian C texts written in Kharoṣṭhī script has been discredited.

The oldest extant manuscripts in Tocharian B are now dated to the 5th or even late 4th century AD, making Tocharian a language of Late Antiquity contemporary with Gothic, Classical Armenian, and Primitive Irish.

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🔗 Avoidance Speech

🔗 Australia 🔗 Languages 🔗 Australia/Indigenous peoples of Australia

Avoidance speech is a group of sociolinguistic phenomena in which a special restricted speech style must be used in the presence of or in reference to certain relatives. Avoidance speech is found in many Australian Aboriginal languages and Austronesian languages as well as some North American languages, Highland East Cushitic languages and Southern Bantu languages. Chinese naming taboo prohibits speaking and writing syllables or characters that appear in the names of esteemed people, such as emperors, parents, and ancestors.

Avoidance speech styles tend to have the same phonology and grammar as the standard language they are a part of. The lexicon, however, tends to be smaller than in normal speech since the styles are only used for limited communication.

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