Tagged With language

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The history of why 'Q' is almost always followed by 'U' is fascinating, and dates back to when the Normans invaded England in 1066.

Before that, English didn't even have a Q; it used "cw" to replicate the sound. After the invasion, though, the spelling of English was changed to match the French ways: "cw" was replaced with "qu."

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Video: If you've seen The Sopranos or met someone from Italy you know Italians love to talk with their hands. Contrary to popular belief, it's not just a collection of randomised arm flapping and emphatic gestures! Italians have a whole vocabulary of hand movements to quickly (or quietly) convey what they mean.

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Video: The lesson, as always, is that we're dumb. All of us. Even the smartest among us can't save us because we're all so dumb. Why? Because when we hear the wrong words, we don't bother to fix ourselves but instead adopt those wrong words into our language even though they're clearly wrong. It's great! Language is always changing... for the worse.

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Video: Why is a pineapple called a pineapple in English but is named anana in pretty much every other European language? Well, it's because English speakers saw the spiky fruit and thought of a pine cone and apple while other countries use the Tupi Guaraini (language used by natives in South America) word for pineapple, nana, which means excellent fruit. I mean, they're both kind of right!

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Video: Time travelling back into the past is almost always a bad idea. Everybody is racist, everything is dirty and you'll probably get some terrible disease and/or get stabbed with a sword that everyone is carrying but you. The world is generally dumber and worse off. And on top of that, you might not even be able to understand the English they're speaking.

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Video: It's because though English is a Germanic language (the grammar and core vocabulary comes from that), there are a lot of words that come from the Romance (Latin-based) languages too, which were leaked into English when French-speaking Normans ruled England. That explains why there are a lot of twin words that mean the same thing in the English language.

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Video: All animals all over the world sound the same. It's not like they speak different languages, they make the same noises even if they're different countries! But why is it that different languages think animals make different sounds? It's because we're giving names to the sounds that animals make in the construct of language, not totally mimicking what they're saying (different languages have different rules and some languages have more versatile phrasing). That's how a duck can quack in English, ga ga in Japanese, coin coin in French, kyra kyra in Russian and so on.