The Linguistics of Pokémon

News of the release of Pokémon Go has been dominating social media and the mainstream media alike recently. Those born earlier than the 90s likely remember the phenomenon surrounding the Pokémon franchise in the late ’90s with the GameBoy games, TV show, trading card game that got loads of people obsessed with catching them all.…

Jabberwocky, or the poetry of function words

Reblogged from: http://mappingignorance.org/2013/12/13/jabberwocky-or-the-poetry-of-function-words/ Jabberwocky is the title of a famous poem by Lewis Carroll[1], a poem very much liked by linguists because it beautifully illustrates the crucial role that function words play in language. Function words are the little words no one pays much attention to, although they are the true keepers of grammar. In fact, language…

Part 4 – The birth of Judaism

In 586 BC (not 607 BC as the Jehovah’s Witnesses claim), the forces of the Babylonian Empire conquered Judah, destroying their country and carrying off a proportion of the Judahite population into exile. The captives consisted especially of the educated and upper-class, the nobility, priests and prophets as well as the Judahite royal family. King Tzidkiyahu’s (Zedekiah’s) children were killed in…

Part 2 – Hinduism and Zoroastrianism

The early Indo-European people lived on the Caucasian steppes since about 4500 BC but in the middle of the 3rd millenium,  with the domestication of the horse, some tribes began to move further afield until they reached what is now present-day Greece, the Balkans, Italy, Scandinavia and Germany. These people became the Europeans but the…