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Wug Life

Sep 20 '14
Aug 27 '14
Aug 25 '14

Before we get to ergativity, unaccusitivity and other kinds of morphosyntactic funtimes…


Thanks so much to All Things Linguistic for setting up the Crowdsourced Linguistics project. We tend to prattle on about things we know, or find interesting, so it’s great to get an idea of what some people find bamboozling or tricky about language!

I offered to help explain the collected jargon of ergative, accusative, unaccusative and unergative. I still remember sitting in undergraduate classes and trying to get my head around ergativity, so for anyone trying to puzzle it out, I feel your pain.

Each Wikipedia page (linked above) explains the relevant phenomenon with as much detail as you’d find in an undergrad linguistics text book, but to make sense of it you have to start thinking about sentences like a linguist. For example, this is really a very elegant summary:


But only if you understand what the A, S and O stand for, and what that actually means for real language. I’ve given a short intro before (in this post), but I thought I’d write a post that goes right, right back to basics. Hopefully by time you’ve read this, the information on the various Wikipedia pages will be more accessible. Strap yourselves in, it’s going to be a long post by Superlinguo standards!

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Aug 21 '14

Anonymous asked:

This isn't a grammar question or anything, but could you do a master post on Spanish Internet slang? I feel like I'm trying to decipher Chinese when I read through some of my friends' spanish fb statuses haha it would be cool to have some sort of key to figure out all the random letters (like ñ?? Wtf does that stand for?)


Here are some Spanish text slang that might make it bit easier for you to understand your friends’ slang on Facebook, texting, or wherever it may be. I’m sure there might be some differences in some places for the slang. Hope this list helps

  • x - por
  • k - qué/que
  • q - qué/que
  • xq - por qué/porque
  • xk - por qué/porque
  • xfa- por favor
  • pf - por favor
  • bn/b - bien
  • 100pre- siempre
  • xo - pero
  • cdo - cuando
  • bb - bebé
  • pa - para
  • pa’l… - para el…
  • d - de
  • l - el
  • tk - te quiero
  • tkm - te quiero mucho
  • t - te
  • c -  sé/se
  • toy/stoy - estoy
  • tá/stá - está
  • tás/stás - estás
  • tb - tambien
  • dps - después
  • ktl/qtl - qué tal
  • cm -como
  • km - como
  • msj - mensaje
  • ad+ - además
  • asias - gracias
  • n - en
  • mña - mañana
  • a2 - adiós

Verbs/words that start with “h”, can drop the “h” for quicker writing like “hacer” and “haber”. Verbs with “e” can drop the “e” for quicker writing like in “estar” and “esperar”. Whenever a word contains a “qu”, it can be changed to a “k” like “te kiero” (Te quiero).

Hope this has helped a bit. Anyone else have anything they could contribute?

Aug 18 '14
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Jul 20 '14


Maori pronunciation! Here are a few words that I hope will help you guys understand what I am trying to say, unfortunately writing it out is never quite as good as hearing the real thing!

Wow, my accent has changed o.O

So this is an EXCELLENT time to talk about how IPA is a tool, but not a fact.

The IPA for the word “Maori” is usually written [mɑ:ɔri], which would often be pronounced by American speakers as “mah-oree” or “maow-ree”. As flatbear mentioned in a slightly earlier post, those pronunciations aren’t accurate! (And she knows, she is Maori!) But isn’t that what the IPA basically says?

The way I would write flatbear’s pronunciation of Maori in IPA is [mɔ:ʊ.ri]. Similar, but definitely not the same. Am I wrong? Are the other ways of transcribing it wrong? No. They aren’t wrong. Since everyone has a slightly different experience with language and speech sounds, we all have slightly different perceptions of speech sounds. The category I would call [ɔ] overlaps with, but is not identical to, the category other people would call [ɑ]. This means I will make mistakes in pronunciation when I read other people’s transcriptions, if our categories don’t line up.

What can you take away from this? Speech sound perception is gradient, and everyone hears things slightly differently. A more extreme example is when L1 Japanese speakers have a hard time hearing and pronouncing the difference between [l] and [ɹ] in English, or when English speakers have a hard time hearing and pronouncing the difference between ه [h] ح [ħ] in Arabic.

Whenever you see someone else’s transcriptions, beware! Just because they have written speech sounds down in IPA doesn’t mean that those sounds are exactly the ones you would write down. Transcription is a very subjective activity.