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Questions tagged [linguistics]

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8
votes
1answer
534 views

Is the use of X for unknown quantities taken from the Arabic word “shay”?

In this TED Talk, the speaker says that the use of X for unknown quantities was the result of Spanish people taking the Arabic word shay (meaning "thing"), which was used by Arabs to denote unknown ...
6
votes
1answer
906 views

Did Emil Krebs master 68 languages?

The German polyglot Emil Krebs allegedly mastered 68 languages. Which, frankly, I find unbelievable. Unfortunately, I cannot find any reliable and convincing source. Is there solid evidence that Emil ...
104
votes
8answers
28k views

Could people perceive the color blue in ancient times?

This article claims that no ancient language anywhere in the world had the word for "blue", that for instance Homer described the sea as "wine-dark", and that the color blue has only appeared more ...
11
votes
1answer
910 views

Do world's multilingual individuals outnumber monolingual ones?

In the Wikipedia article on multilingualism (the use of more than one language by an individual or community), I read that: Multilingual speakers outnumber monolingual speakers in the world's ...
21
votes
1answer
4k views

Have coma patients ever gained the ability to speak a foreign language fluently?

I read this article about a Croatian teenager waking from coma, speaking fluent German. She started learning German before the coma. I know of savants and few people showing special mental ...
12
votes
1answer
2k views

Do people lose their accent when they sing?

Several people have claimed that the singers accents are lost or reduced when they sing, or even that they tend to sing in an American accent. Here are some online discussions of the issue: Naked ...