Featured Linguist!

Jost Gippert: Our Featured Linguist!

"Buenos dias", "buenas noches" -- this was the first words in a foreign language I heard in my life, as a three-year old boy growing up in developing post-war Western Germany, where the first gastarbeiters had arrived from Spain. Fascinated by the strange sounds, I tried to get to know some more languages, the only opportunity being TV courses of English and French -- there was no foreign language education for pre-teen school children in Germany yet in those days. Read more



Donate Now | Visit the Fund Drive Homepage

Amount Raised:

$34890

Still Needed:

$40110

Can anyone overtake Syntax in the Subfield Challenge ?

Grad School Challenge Leader: University of Washington


Publishing Partner: Cambridge University Press CUP Extra Publisher Login
amazon logo
More Info


New from Oxford University Press!

ad

What is English? And Why Should We Care?

By: Tim William Machan

To find some answers Tim Machan explores the language's present and past, and looks ahead to its futures among the one and a half billion people who speak it. His search is fascinating and important, for definitions of English have influenced education and law in many countries and helped shape the identities of those who live in them.


New from Cambridge University Press!

ad

Medical Writing in Early Modern English

Edited by Irma Taavitsainen and Paivi Pahta

This volume provides a new perspective on the evolution of the special language of medicine, based on the electronic corpus of Early Modern English Medical Texts, containing over two million words of medical writing from 1500 to 1700.


Query Details


Query Subject:   Pig Latin
Author:   Leena Kolehmainen
Submitter Email:  click here to access email

Query:   Dear Linguists,

we are doing research on the Finnish word

siansaksa
pig.GEN.German

meaning ‘Pig Latin’ or ‘gibberish’.

The Finnish word is polysemous meaning (a) ‘a secret language/a language game’ and (b) ‘nonsense / a not understandable language / words that are impossible to understand ’.

In order to better understand the Finnish word and its semantics we thought that it might be useful and interesting to take into account other languages and similar expressions in other languages, too.

We are very grateful to you if you can spare some time for our questions and share your thoughts and expertise with us. Naturally, we will provide a summary.

We are primarily interested in following aspects (but please do not hesitate to suggest us other perspectives, too):

- Are there studies on the etymology of the English word ? What is the primary/original semantic motivation between the components of the expression?

- Words and expressions in other languages meaning ‘Pig Latin’ or ‘gibberish’: Are there other languages in which names of animals are used to refer to human communicative practise? Is it a common tendency in the languages of the world to use names of animals in similar expressions?

- Is it a broader trend in the languages of world to use names of foreign languages in similar expressions (cf. ‘German’ in the Finnish word , in English )?

- The previous linguistic study on the Finnish word ’Pig Latin’ (published 1916) seems to suggest that the meaning ‘secret language/language game’ is the original one and that the meaning ‘nonsense’ has developed on later stages.
Is this semantic development a common tendency that has occured in other languages, too, and can you perhaps give us examples from other languages?

It would be very helpful if you could provide your examples (from languages other than English) with glosses. Please reply to Leena’s address.

With best regards,

Leena Kolehmainen (e-mail: leena.kolehmainen@helsinki.fi)*
and
Eija Jokinen (e-mail: eija.t.jokinen@uta.fi)**

* Dept. of German, U of Helsinki, Finland
** Dept. of German, U of Tampere, Finland
LL Issue: 15.901
Date posted: 08-Mar-2004



Back

Sums main page