Silent letters and consonant pairs in Irish

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I’ve had a fascination with Gaeilge, the Irish language, for a long time. Its long words and complicated writing, which together allow for such fun things as fheicfeadh [ɛcətʲ]. Oh! And its consonant mutation, one of the coolest features I think a language can have. Initial consonants changing based on prepositions, adverbs, gender, tenses, and so on. It’s so amazing and interconnected! Add to that, Irish’s long literary history and the modern attempts to save the language from extinction, and I just can’t help but love the language.

But I’m not here to write about any of that. I’m here to write about the Irish consonants, more precisely, the leathana and caola pairs, the two categories that most Irish …

The Centre of Voice Studies at Aarhus University

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July 2022 saw the approval of a new research unit at Aarhus University – the Centre of Voice Studies. Why a centre of voice studies? Why now? And who’s behind it?

First, some note on the voice. The vast majority of human beings communicate with the use of sounds coming out of their bodies. Sounds produced by the vocal tract are particularly relevant. But sounds are far from limited to human communication. Vocal variation is everywhere around us, whether we communicate with human or non-human animals.

There is no doubt that the voice provides interlocutors with a plethora of meaningful information. This information is linked to our bodies as well as our cultures. Just from a single word, the hearer …

Reading other people’s letters for the good of science. What the ‘early years of phonology’ can teach us now

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In order to trace the history of ideas, we can turn to a number of resources. Sometimes, it is through a scholar’s public words: acknowledgements or references. The latter – in the form of footnotes (Grafton 1997) or indices (Duncan 2021) – have been argued to be where the true academic allegiances and challenges are set out and displayed. However, sometimes the networks of information exchange and influence can be searched for fruitfully in private documents. It is precisely such private documents which make up the resource used in the book From the early years of Phonology. The Roman Jakobson – Eli Fischer-Jørgensen correspondence 1949-1982, edited by Viggo Bank Jensen and Giuseppe D’Ottavi.

From the early years of Phonology

The introduction opens with the question …

Free Ukrainian! Special linguistic operation for the Ukraine: Free Ukranian-Danish-Ukrainian dictionary for displaced Ukrainians and their helpers.

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(див. український текст нижче)

When I visited an old friend, a farmer, in the countryside, he told me that he had given a safe haven in his farmhouse to a couple of Ukrainians who had fled the violence in their homecountry. The ladies and their families were very happy with their new place. In the meantime, they have moved on to Horsens and Hammel.

The challenge was, that my friend and the Ukrainians could not communicate with each other, because they had no language in common. The Ukrainians only spoke Ukrainian. It is an illusion that “everybody” speaks English. I estimate that one in 30 of the refugees speak some (some) English.

Then I thought: there is a task for …

Karl Verner, world-famous linguist – a former student at the Aarhus Cathedral School. Part 4


Lingoblog is celebrating the summer with a biography about the world-famous linguist Karl Verner in four parts. In case you missed the first three parts, follow the links here, here and here. Look forward to many more interesting posts after the summer break.

Professor in Copenhagen

When Karl Verner’s teacher, Professor Smith, died in 1881, Verner decided despite great hestitation to apply for a position at Copenhagen University as an associate professor in Slavic studies. From April 1888 he was appointed extraordinary professor. The same year he was – reluctantly – made part of The Royal Danish Society of Sciences, even though he had despised fancy company throughout his life. He preferred the company of the common people …

Karl Verner, world-famous linguist – a former student from Aarhus Cathedral School. Part 3


Lingoblog is celebrating the summer with a biography of the world-famous linguist Karl Verner in four parts. In case you missed the first two parts, you can follow this link and this link. Don’t forget to read the last part of the series next week.

Back to Aarhus – the location of the great discovery

After finishing his studies, Karl Verner had to return to his hometown Aarhus. There were no financial possibilities for him to stay in Copenhagen. In the Aarhusian carpenter home, Karl Verner had to manage with his family’s help. He earned a bit with bookkeeping and administration for the family store. But most of all, he spent his time on his own studies. In a …

Karl Verner, world-famous linguist – an former student of Aarhus Cathedral School. Part 2


Lingoblog is celebrating the summer with a biography of the world-famous linguist Karl Verner in four parts. In case you missed the first part of the series, you can follow this link. Read along next week where you can read more about Verner’s professional life.

Shortly after making his discovery, Verner shared it with Vilhelm Thomsen (1842-1927) who was an editor for a Danish scientific journal. A linguist himself, Thomsen later became an internationally highly regarded specialist within the field of Indo-European linguistics. He thought the discovery to be true and encouraged Verner to send a manuscript to a German journal so that the groundbreaking discovery could be distributed to a larger audience. Because of this, Karl Verner had …