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Tea if by sea, cha if by land: Why the world only has two words for tea
"With a few minor exceptions, there are really only two ways to say “tea” in the world. One is like the English term—té in Spanish and tee in Afrikaans are two examples. The other is some variation of cha, like chay in Hindi.

Both versions come from China. How they spread around the world offers a clear picture of how globalization worked before “globalization” was a term anybody used. The words that sound like “cha” spread across land, along the Silk Road. The “tea”-like phrasings spread over water, by Dutch traders bringing the novel leaves back to Europe."
history_of_trade  history_of_economics  linguistics  history_of_language  language 
2 days ago by hallucigenia
Softer, processed foods changed the way ancient humans spoke
Our research shows that labiodental sounds – such as "f" and "v," which are made by raising the bottom lip to the upper teeth – began to arise only after the transition to agriculture, between 10,000 and 4,000 years ago (depending on the world region).

While labiodentals are rather common today and appear in roughly half of the world's languages, we show that in the case of Indo-European languages, they've been innovated mainly since the Bronze Age.

All primates start with an overbite and overjet bite configuration – colloquially a scissors bite – both with their baby teeth and their permanent teeth. Then a traditional diet of tough foods naturally develops the scissors bite of a young individual into an edge-to-edge bite by adulthood.

The invention of food processing technologies – like milling and fermentation – that gained steam with the development of agriculture allowed people to move toward a softer diet. And those softer foods meant people retained the scissors bite well into adulthood. For example, the archaeological evidence shows adult skulls with the scissors bite as early as 4,300 years ago in what is today Pakistan.
linguistics  anthropology  history  food 
3 days ago by campylobacter
F's and V's Might Have Appeared After Agriculture - The Atlantic
If farming helped introduce f’s and v’s 12,000 years ago, it would challenge the principle that humans’ language abilities haven’t significantly changed since we first learned to speak.
linguistics  society  principle  farming  pronunciation  evolution 
3 days ago by vloux
Vowel but not consonant identity and the very informal English lexicon
Certain classes of obscenities have constraints not otherwise present in english, but present in other languages, suggesting some universal constraints?
language  english  linguistics  shitgibbons 
3 days ago by asteroza
Gemination - Wikipedia
As a historical restructuring at the phonemic level, word-internal long consonants degeminated in Western Romance languages: e.g. Spanish /ˈboka/ 'mouth' vs. Italian /ˈbokka/, which continue Latin geminate /kk/.
linguistics  phonetics 
5 days ago by jberkel
David Bowles – Medium
[via: Mexican X Part X: What the Hex a ‘Latinx’? ]

[some of the contents:

Mexican X Part I: Why Is México Pronounced Méjico?

Mexican X Part II: ¡Hijo de su Mexica Equis!

Mexican X Part III: Dude, Where’s My Xocolate?

Mexican X Part IV: You Say “Tomato,” I Say You’re Missing a Syllable, Bro!

Mexican X Part V: Rise of the Bruxa

Mexican X Part VI: And the Xicanos, Ese?

Mexican X Part VII: The Curse of Malinalxochitl

Mexican X Part VIII: ¿Qué Onda, Xavo?

Mexican X Part IX: True Chiefs and False Friends in Texas

Mexican X Part X: What the Hex a ‘Latinx’?

Mexican X Part XI: Rise of a New X

Mexican X Part XII: Xochihuah and Queer Aztecs

Mexican X-plainer: Tolkien, Sephardim, and Northern Mexican Spanish

Mexican X-plainer: Tacos, Not Tlahcos

Mexican X-plainer: Al-Andalus & the Flour Tortilla

Mexican X-plainer: Is “Cigarette” Mayan?

Mexican X-plainer: The Aztec Calendar(s)

Mexican X-Plainer: Mustachioed Racists?

Mexican X-plainer: Balls, Nuts & Avocados

Mexican X-plainer: Chiclets & Aztecs

Nahuatl, the Past, and the Future

Nahuatl’s Lack of Grammatical Gender

Feminist Nahuatl Lexicon, Part I

Anti-Trump Nahuatl Lexicon

Retranslating Nezahualcoyotl ]
davidbowles  x  latinx  mexico  language  spanish  nahuatl  español  2017  2018  2019  history  etymology  aztec  linguistics 
9 days ago by robertogreco

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