Lang Belta: the Belter language from SYFY/Amazon’s The Expanse

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The Belter language, which in the TV show is referred to as Lang Belta, is a Creole language spoken by the Belter people in the The Expanse universe. A creole language can be characterized as a new language, based on the vocabulary of an existing language, but with an innovated grammatical system.

The Expanse takes place 200 years from now, in a future in which Earth has colonized the solar system. In this world, people emigrated to the Asteroid Belt from Earth looking for work, and now survive by scavenging materials in the Belt. In this contribution I will outline the construction and general characteristics of this very complex and interesting Creole and discuss some of its grammatical characteristics.

Did Denmark get a new dialect?

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When the Danish news agency Ritzau sent out the announcement: “Researcher: Denmark has a new dialect” on the morning of February 4th, my phone started ringing non-stop from 6:20 am. Several Danish news outlets, radio stations etc., including TV2 News, P1, P2, P3, P4, Radio Nova, Radio 4 and about 50 other media agencies, couldn’t find anything else to cover but the exact same story that everyone else wanted to cover. The news about this “new” dialect even reached Iceland.

The reason for all of this was a short interview in the Danish paper Kristeligt Dagblad where I explained that despite Danish dialects being used less and less, new dialects are simultaneously coming into existence. And that I …

Aphasia in West Greenlandic affects syntax but leaves morphology intact

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Many linguists are interested in linguistic deficits (i.e. aphasia) that arise after brain injury. By investigating them, we can potentially infer something about how language is organised in people without brain damage – both which components comprise language and where the different components are located in the brain. We hope to answer questions like: Is there a difference between grammar and lexicon? Are language comprehension and language production located in different brain areas? How do we access the meanings of words, and are words with similar meanings also close to each other in the brain? The problem with a lot of research on aphasia, however, is that it has primarily focused on European languages that are structurally very similar.

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This …