Translate Me!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

I Want You...In My Language Lair!

You have just entered The Language Lair! (you know, like a Batcave...only for this dorky linguist)

Right now, the song on endless loop in my head is "Help" by The Beatles. Of course, Silverstein did a cover, which you can check out on my Guilty Pleasures blog entry about cover songs.

Anyway, you can listen to The Beatles version to get you in the mood to read the rest of this entry if you'd like below!

You have not entered The Language Lair (a.k.a. El Laberinto de la Lingüista Loca) by accident.  'Twas fate that brought you here...or curiosity, or perhaps you thought this was a site to look at funny animal pictures or a hateful cat.

Happy now?

Okay, now that the formalities are out of the way...I need your help! You can help if you speak English, Catalan, Spanish, or any mix of these. (Easy, huh?)


Simple. Think of words with suffixes that you know in any of these languages. 
  • Example: "Nation" becomes "Nación" in Spanish and "Nació" in Catalan

I'm working on a paper about learners using their knowledge of word derivations and suffixes to guess what a word they need to use might be in the language they are trying to speak. 
  • Example: I need to say "priority" in Spanish. I know that many words in English that end in "-ity" and in "-idad" in Spanish, so I would hypothesize that "prioridad" is the word that I need. (Correct)

Now...what I am looking for are words that don't fit these general patterns.
  • Example: "rarity" in English --> "rareza" (Spanish) --> "raresa" (Catalan)
  • Example: "scarcity" in English --> "escasez" (Spanish) --> "escassetat" (Catalan)

Can you think of more words that don't fit the patterns (any suffix)? More words that are like those right above? Let me know in the comments below!

Running a Praat Script
If you like linguistics type things like this, check out What Should We Call Linguistics?

Okay, one more for good measure!

When I Figure Out the Difference Between Presupposition and Entailment
What Should We Call Linguistics?
Don't forget! Leave your comments about your own linguistic observations below. :)

To clarify:
There seem to be a lot of cases where people can generalize endings/suffixes in English to Spanish or nacionalidad/nacionalitat/nationality, same with words that end in -ogy/-ology, -gist, -omy, -ity, -ence, ent.....(or many of them). I want to see if people end up coming up with many instances where these patterns of the endings being the same across languages do not exist (happiness..the -ness ending here correlates with -idad(Sp) and -itat (Cat), but for sadness, the -ness ending correlates with -eza/-esa endings. I'm suggesting a strategy for students of these languages to make educated guesses on what words they don't know might be, based on the ending of the word in their L1....however, I want to find the exceptions in order to see if those follow a pattern too (like word origins maybe). I did lot of Google searches but apparently didn't use the right keywords to find many results.


  1. Illness - Enfermedad - Malaltia (or is it too much?)


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