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September 27[edit]

Francisco Guerrero y Palomares[edit]

Should there be a "y" in our article on Francisco Guerrero y Palomares? It is found in older sources, but I've noticed newer sources using just "Francisco Guerrero Polamares". Does it matter? Viriditas (talk) 20:51, 27 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Read Spanish naming customs#The particle "y" (and). It is the same, it's a difference in formality or period. I think that the criterion in the English Wikipedia is to use the most usual name in the sources. Verify it is "Palomares" and not *"Polamares".
--Error (talk) 21:57, 27 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thanks. It is "Francisco Guerrero y Palomares". The source I cited contained a typo.[1] Viriditas (talk) 22:04, 27 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

September 28[edit]

A leading question[edit]

On a news site I've just seen, an article is headed "COVID-19 now leading cause of death in Australia". That piqued my interest so I read further, and I discovered it's not "the leading cause" but "a leading cause", being number 3.

Apart from the very ambiguous and probably misleading heading, how far down a list of things could something be and still be accurately described as "leading"? Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 00:20, 28 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Would that not mostly depend on the length of the list? Tenth out of one hundred might well be considered 'leading', tenth out of fifteen wouldn't. It might also depend on the individual values: if first, eighth and ninth out of the hundred were, say, 147, 123 qnd 119 (arbitrary numbers) and tenth was 27, it wouldn't really qualify even though in the ordinal top 10%. I doubt there's a rigid definition, it's a subjective judgement. {The poster formerly known as} (talk) 02:02, 28 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
This headline is one of countless prime examples of such abuse of language that literally make my brain explode.  --Lambiam 07:37, 28 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@JackofOz: As far down as is necessary for the publication's editor to achieve the desired sensationalism. Similar to "almost unique" and "identical apart from...". Bazza (talk) 08:13, 28 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
"One of the most..." 惑乱 Wakuran (talk) 11:14, 28 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
"One of the only..." -- Verbarson  talkedits 16:29, 28 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Wakuran: Indeed! [2] Bazza (talk) 08:15, 29 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]


  1. Is there any Romance language where name of letter Y is y, rather than i grec?
  2. Why does the Finnish word for chocolate, suklaa, not have /ʃ/ sound at the beginning, unlike most other languages' words for that thing? Suklaa has been borrowed from Swedish choklad, which has /ʃ/ sound in Finland Swedish. The Estonian equivalent, šokolaad, has /ʃ/ sound. It has been borrowed from German Schokolade. So, why Estonian retained /ʃ/ sound, but Finnish didn't?
  3. Are there any words in English where ⟨au⟩ is pronounced /aʊ̯/?
  4. Are there any words in English with onset /ks/, /ps/, /pt/, /kt/, /pn/, /wr/, /kn/ or /gn/?
  5. Are there any words in English with coda /mb/, /mn/ or /lm/?
  6. Is there any modern Indo-European language which has retained possessive dative construction inherited from Indo-European?
  7. Is there any Romance language with morphological passive voice?
  8. Why does the word geology in English not have hard G's, unlike in Finnish?
  9. Is there any Germanic language which is pro-drop language?
  10. Is there any Slavic language spoken in Orthodox country which can be written only with Latin alphabet?
  11. Are there any native words in Japanese which have geminate consonant after long vowel or N-kana? --40bus (talk) 11:38, 28 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Question 1[edit]

In Spanish it is ye or i griega. --Error (talk) 19:38, 28 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Question 2[edit]

2. Probably because Finns had trouble pronouncing that sound. 惑乱 Wakuran (talk) 11:47, 28 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

2 -- Maybe because š is considered a rather foreign sound in Finnish? AnonMoos (talk) 11:54, 28 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

But why Estonian then has /ʃ/ sound in this word? --40bus (talk) 14:39, 28 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The structure of this section is somewhat confusing, but Estonian seems to have had a lot higher influence from Middle Low German than Finnish, so the sound might not have been considered as foreign, or might have been imported as a frequent sound in loanwords, earlier. 惑乱 Wakuran (talk) 21:42, 28 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Question 3[edit]

3 – wikt:sauerkraut. To be fair, that's borrowed from German, but is has been used in English for 400 years. PiusImpavidus (talk) 19:26, 28 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Question 4[edit]

5 -- Categorically no with respect to [wr]. The other combinations might be attempted by a few speakers from time to time to imitate foreign languages (Greek, German), but are certainly not part of standard English. AnonMoos (talk) 11:54, 28 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

This is a reply to 4.  --Lambiam 17:17, 28 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Question 5[edit]

5 — /ɛlm/, /fɪlm/, /əʊlm/.  --Lambiam 17:22, 28 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
5 — bombe. Shells-shells (talk) 17:43, 28 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Somebody set up us the bombe! 惑乱 Wakuran

Question 8[edit]

8. I would assume that it was transmitted through French, geo- always has a soft G, as far as I know. 惑乱 Wakuran (talk) 11:47, 28 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

8 -- Because the g's were before [e] and [i] vowels in early Romance. The modern English pronunciation of the consonants is faithful to the medieval French pronunciation of them. AnonMoos (talk) 11:54, 28 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Question 9[edit]

9 -- As has been established in previous discussions here, the answer is "No" with respect to modern standard languages. AnonMoos (talk) 11:54, 28 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Question 10[edit]

I don't think so. I don't think the Orthodox church would stand for it. 2A00:23A8:4015:F501:212D:11FB:1385:13C5 (talk) 14:52, 28 September 2023 (UTC) I was going to say Polish until I read Cyrillization of Polish. --Error (talk) 19:42, 28 September 2023 (UTC) The examples in Pomak language are in the Latin alphabet. The Banat Bulgarian language has its own alphabet largely based on the Serbo-Croatian Gaj's Latin alphabet and preserves many features that are archaic in the language spoken in Bulgaria. Banat Bulgarian was codified as early as 1866 and is used in literature and the media, which distinguishes it from other Bulgarian dialects.[3]Reply[reply]

Czech language is a minority language in Romania.

Slovak language is a minority language in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus. --Error (talk) 20:34, 28 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Question 12[edit]

Are there any words in Finnish where primary stress is not on first syllable? --40bus (talk) 14:39, 28 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Isn't there a song, "Takin' It to the Streess"? ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 14:50, 28 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Are there any words in Finnish where primary stress is not on first syllable? --40bus (talk) 14:52, 28 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
[3]. 2A00:23A8:4015:F501:212D:11FB:1385:13C5 (talk) 15:01, 28 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Question 13[edit]

Do all Georgian nouns end in a vowel in nominative singular? Does Georgian forbid codas? --40bus (talk) 17:00, 28 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

In older Georgian, and in some dialects, words can end on a semivowel /i̯/, written . See Georgian scripts § Letters removed from the Georgian alphabet and in Wiktionary ბუძულაჲ.  --Lambiam 17:04, 29 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]


If I ask a person that speaks english to say made up gibberish, does it sound like an arabic persons gibberish? Also, do babies or toddlers babbling make sounds depending on the language people around them speak? Janlopi (talk) 21:16, 28 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

No, and Yes, I believe. Babies are attuned to rhythm. I had heard something about babies tending to pick up various types of sounds in rather fixed orders, discarding them quickly if they fail to get any response, such as using pharyngeal consonants outside an Arabic context. But now I can't find any good source for the claim... 惑乱 Wakuran (talk) 21:38, 28 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I've taken part in games where everybody was asked to speak gibberish. Some sounded Chinese, some vaguely Eastern European, some vaguely Spanish. I'm sure there were others. -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 21:59, 28 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
On a somewhat related note, does anyone know if/how scat singing varies depending on the native language(s) of the singer? (talk) 22:54, 28 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Although it might be somewhat different, the article on speaking in tongues (a.k.a. glossolalia) mentions it generally being made from sounds already known to the speaker. I imagine that, just like with glossolalia, when someone is told to speak gibberish, it would also be most easily done with sounds that the speaker is comfortable vocalizing. GalacticShoe (talk) 23:57, 28 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
In reverse, actors intending to sound like background speakers in crowd scenes (ie unscripted and incomprehensible speech) do not necessarily speak complete gibberish. See rhubarb. -- Verbarson  talkedits 11:41, 29 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
If you ask Adriano Celentano to make up gibberish, it sounds like American English and he may prefigure rap in the process. If you ask Charlie Chaplin, it sounds like French and Italian. --Error (talk) 15:09, 29 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It makes a difference whether someone designs a piece of gibberish to sound like spoken L and rehearses it so that they can fluently deliver it, or someone has to improvise for an impromptu delivery. If an improvising gibberer is not familiar with the sounds of L, it is unlikely they will produce speech that sounds like L to someone who knows that language.  --Lambiam 09:46, 30 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

October 1[edit]

Mid-Atlantic accents[edit]

One thing I had wondered about lately is that English has a Mid-Atlantic accent, which is somewhat of a smoothed out middle ground between two high-prestige varieties, and I wondered whether there'd be other langugaes that would have similar accents. I was mostly thinking of Spanish (European and Latin American) and Portuguese (European and Brazilian). French doesn't really seem to have any high-prestige varieties outside of Europe, and the differences between Parisian, Belgian and Swiss accents seem to be quite negligible. Arabic might not have any high-prestige native accents other than Egyptian Arabic, but Modern Standard Arabic seems to be more directly based on the Quranic language, anyway. 惑乱 Wakuran (talk) 22:14, 1 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Standard Spanish deals a bit with it and how Disney tried to establish an unmarked variety. However: Above all, certain grammatical structures are impossible to form in a neutral way, due to differences in the verb conjugations used (e.g. the use of the second-person familiar pronoun vos in Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, and Central American countries, while most other countries prefer tú, and most Colombians tend to use usted in the informal context—and all three pronouns require different verb conjugations). At least one of the three versions will always sound odd in any given Spanish-speaking country.
Italian language is not exactly Tuscan language, but I don't think there is more than one prestigious dialect.
Standard Basque is mostly Gipuzkoan but with some Northeastern spellings.
I think I read that Modern Hebrew has Ashkenazi consonants and Sephardic vowels.
From standard language:
In the 1930s, Standard Chinese was adopted, with its pronunciation based on the Beijing dialect, but with vocabulary also drawn from other Mandarin varieties and its syntax based on the written vernacular.[43]
In Brazil, actors and journalists usually adopt an unofficial, but de facto, spoken standard Portuguese, originally derived from the middle-class dialects of Rio de Janeiro and Brasília, but that now encompasses educated urban pronunciations from the different speech communities in the southeast. In that standard, ⟨s⟩ represents the phoneme /s/ when it appears at the end of a syllable (whereas in Rio de Janeiro this represents /ʃ/) and the rhotic consonant spelled ⟨r⟩ is pronounced [h] in the same situation (whereas in São Paulo this is usually an alveolar flap or trill).
Rumantsch Grischun is a unified form but the "real" Grison dialects are not very prestigious, I think.
I don't find clear examples in Pluricentric language or Dialect levelling.
--Error (talk) 23:17, 1 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

October 2[edit]

How common is inverting word order for questions cross-linguistically?[edit]

In some languages, asking a question sometimes inverts or at least shuffles the word order. For example, in “Where is the dragon,” the subject (the dragon) is moved to the end of the sentence. In “What did you do,” the object (what) is moved to the beginning, and the subject (you) is pushed backwards. In other languages, this doesn’t happen. For instance, in both Chinese and Japanese, the first example (“龙在哪里” and 「竜はどこですか」respectively) keeps the same word order it would for a declarative statement, and I know this is also true of the second example for Chinese. How common is this phenomenon, which kinds of languages generally do/don’t have it and under which circumstances, and why? Primal Groudon (talk) 02:11, 2 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

According to Verb–subject–object word order § Inversion to VSO, non-VSO languages that use VSO in questions include English and many other Germanic languages such as German and Dutch, as well as French, Finnish, Maká, and Emilian. These languages do not otherwise have specific common characteristics.  --Lambiam 07:34, 2 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Primal_Groudon -- According to "Introduction to Typology: The Unity and Diversity of Language" by Lindsay J. Whaley (p. 238), inverted word order in yes-no questions is concentrated in European languages. This is different from moving "wh"-words in content questions to the front of a sentence, which is more widespread. Chinese has "wh- in situ" -- i.e. not even wh- words are moved to the front of a question sentence -- which makes it extremely unlikely to show inverted word order in yes-no questions. AnonMoos (talk) 09:27, 2 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
We actually have a redirect for Wh in situ; it should redirect specifically to Wh-movement#Languages in which it is not present, but instead redirects to the article as a whole... AnonMoos (talk) 22:58, 2 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Another mention at In_situ#Linguistics... AnonMoos (talk) 22:59, 2 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
WALS doesn't seem to have a feature exactly corresponding to this question, but Feature 93A: Position of Interrogative Phrases in Content Questions and Feature 92A: Position of Polar Question Particles are related. --ColinFine (talk) 12:00, 2 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

October 3[edit]

What's the difference between an apical palato-alveolar (domed) consonant and a laminal retroflex consonant.[edit]

I cannot catch the idea of postalveolar consonants. An apical palato-alveolar (domed) consonant (such as the ones in English), since it has to be weakly palatalized, must have the front part of dorsal/laminal involved; while an laminal retroflex consonant (such as the ones on Polish), since one cannot bend one's tongue into a right angle, also will make one's front part of dorsal involved, thus slightly palatalized. Apical and domed sounds a bit paradoxical to me (the word "domed" sounds a bit like dorsal to me, leaving one's tongue tip curled below one's lower teeth), so is retroflex's absolutely not palatalized property and laminal.

How do one describe Taiwanese Mandarin's semi-postalveolars (zh-series) which lie somewhere between Beijing Mandarin's reportedly laminal retroflex consonants and dentialveolars (z-series), then? It is absolutely not palatalized (not tʃ) but sounds not as retroflex as typical ones. (talk) 20:56, 3 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • I also wonder if it is appropriate to differentiate subapical/apical/laminal difference of the retroflexes for all languages, as except for a few languages (such as Toda) most others rarely have subapical (af)fricates or laminal stops, and it seems languages (except for a few like Toda) generally allows a range of articulations without a most preferred one, such as Chinese and Polish (neither has stops) has been described as either apical or laminal according to different linguists, while languages South Asian subcontinent (generally without affricates) range from apical to subapical.
  • How is the Toda language's palatalized subapical trill /ɽrʲ/ even possible? Can one draw a tongue shape picture for clarification for that article? Can one really tongue bend one's tongue like an anisakis and then make a trill? (talk) 21:27, 3 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

October 4[edit]