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.…

Languages of the Far East

I studied Japanese at higher further level at university and plan to start a Japanese language club in the next school that I teach in. I’ve been studying Japanese on and off for about 10 years now, so I’d like to give readers a bit of background on the languages of the far east. It is…

How to pronounce ‘ghoti’ and why

You may be wondering about the picture above and what it has to do with linguistics, and above all what it has to do with the word ‘ghoti’. According to Bernard Shaw, a famous linguist, the rules of English orthography (spelling) are so bizarre that they can allow ‘ghoti’ to be pronounced in a n…

Linguistic Anthropology

One of the most fascinating things I find about etymology is the way that words in the Indo-European languages can tell us information about the kind of religion, culture and civilisation that the Proto-Indo-European people had in the Bronze Age of about 4000 BC… 6000 years ago!!!… Linguists to ascertain whether a certain group of…

Borrowed but not returned

One of the great strengths of English as a global language has been its ability to borrow words from other languages. As a linguist, I have often described English as “German with French spelling and Scandinavian pronunciation”, but the case is even more complex than that. Before the 11th century, the vocabulary of Old English…

Using philology and etymology to investigate our language

I just thought it would be interesting to give a bit of background on philology (the study of ancient linguistic texts) historico-linguistics(the study of the history and development of languages) and etymology (the history of individual words). However, before we start, just for the laymen out there, here are some examples of certain phonological changes…