Er man ondere på dansk end på engelsk?

Google Trends er en interessant måde at spilde tid på. Et af deres eksempler på forsiden er “good, evil“, hvilket tydeligt viser, at man på engelsk søger oftere efter det gode end det onde. Men hvis man prøver at søge efter “gode, onde” (ikke “god, ond”, da god jo også er et ord på engelsk), kan man se, at det onde er meget mere efterspurgt.

Pirahã

There’s an article in The Independent today about the Pirahã language. It is claimed the language has no words for numbers, colours, tense and other abstract concepts. Not only that, but the speakers of the language are said to be unable to learn it. If it’s all true, it would be truly sensational, but it’s hard to know what to believe when all I’ve read is an article written by a non-linguist interviewing a field-worker of unknown pedigree. I hope I’ll find something more reliable soon.

Update: There’s a good article about the language in Wikipedia. It confirms that most of the outlandish claims are due to Daniel Everett and have yet to be confirmed independently.

Lixtal

Bertel gjorde i dk.kultur.sprog opmærksom på en boganmeldelse. Jeg
citerer:

De meget lave lixtal omkring 3-5 gør faktisk bøgerne svære, især for de læsere, der har svært ved læsningen. Dygtigere læsere kompenserer for bøgernes superforenklede sætninger og ordvalg og er i stand til at få meningen frem trods alt. Det var jo ikke lige det, der var hensigten.

Eleverne får stort set lige meget ud af de lidt sværere letlæsningsbøger og almindelige børnebøger, og forfatterens teori er, at det skyldes det langt mere talesprogsnære og forbundne sprog, som læsebearbejderne netop ikke har gjort et arbejde for at forenkle.

Yderst interessant!

Buikscots and Newscots

I just got an idea (well, actually, I’m sure I had the idea before, but I never did anything about it) how one might explain the Norwegian language situation to a speaker of English, using Alternate History.

Let’s imagine Scotland had regained her independence in the 19th century. And let’s ignore Gaelic for the moment. Because of the strong nationalist feelings unleashed back then, it’s very likely there would have been a strong urge to replace English with a national language, Scots.

This could be done in two ways.

One would be to recreate the Scots language by investigating the living dialects and picking the most conservative elements from each (using also the historical Scots language for comparison). This language would be very different from English, and it would probably be fairly close to the dialects of rural Aberdeenshire, I imagine.

The other way would be to adjust the written language to make it more similar to English as spoken by educated people in the cities, adjusting the orthography to make it look more Scottish and adding frequently used Scots words (such as wee and aye).

Most people would realise after a while that having two national languages (in addition to Gaelic, I suppose) would be somewhat overwhelming, so there would be attempts at unifying them. However, both groups would resent changing their own language, and the result would be a lot of variant forms in both language variants, without any unification happening.

Pupils would have to learn both variants in school, which they would hate, and Newscots would be seen as a dialect from rural Aberdeenshire, ridiculed by many people in the cities.