Here is a map based on Ethnologue data which more or less shows country size based on the number of indigenous languages still spoken there. As you can see, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, Nigeria and Cameroon are blown way out of proportion, whereas countries like Korea and New Zealand almost disappear. It’s also nice to see Timor-Leste make an appearance on a global map, since it’s usually too small for anyone to notice.

I’d be interested to see a similar map for number of indigenous languages pre British/Spanish/Portuguese etc colonisation. Australia would be a lot bigger, as would the US, Canada, Argentina, Chile and others. This map isn’t just measuring linguistic diversity, but also how efficient colonisers were at wiping out languages (and people). Of course, since Ethnologue is mainly concerned with cataloging living languages, the data set isn’t as readily available.

Worldmapper actually has a whole series of language maps, showing where certain language speakers are throughout the world in the same way. Don’t look at it if you’re meant to be writing a paper or something - you could spend a lot of time there.

[As an aside, I’d like to point out (as usual) that Pacific central maps make much more sense just because there isn’t too much in the Atlantic Ocean. All these Euro-central maps end up chopping Pacific nations in half, which is really only obvious in this kind of map with poor Vanuatu. I mean, maybe we’d have to sever Greenland, but that somehow seems less mean.]

Anonymous said: i have no idea if you're still interested but with the "which English" quiz I (an Australian) got dialect: 1. New Zealand, 2. Welsh (UK), 3. Australian and languages: 1. English, 2. Swedish and 3. Chinese. :)

I sure am! I wonder why you got Welsh above Australian? Yet you still managed to get NZ first (as predicted). So you were definitely Australian sounding, they just always assume that to mean NZ, but you definitely had some quirks. Nice.

This kinda implies they are somehow distinguishing NZ and Australian in the quiz. I wonder how. So interesting!


in case anyone is interested, in order:

utility vehicle
bottle shop
bundaberg rum
cabernet sauvignon
methylated spirits
spaghetti bolognaise
garbage collector
boxed wine
poker machine
service station (gas station)
sick day
cigarette break
bottle of beer
can of beer
sweatpants/tracksuit pants

(Source: laracroftsbooty)

Linguistics Resources Masterpost


I’m posting this behind a Read-More so that any and all updates to this list will be available no matter how many reblogs it gets, or if you store it in your drafts for future reference, or if you queue it and it comes out in 3 weeks; so no matter what the latest updates will be there.

Thank you so much to everyone who helped out so far. Please feel free to make suggestions (whether it’s the organization of the resources, or additional resources).

Read More


Anonymous said: How did you know Linguistics was the right fit for you? I'm about to start studying it, but I'm nervous!

How exciting!

I didn’t know that linguistics was the right fit until I was well into it. I didn’t know what I wanted to do (and hadn’t even heard of linguistics), so I enrolled in a Bachelor of Arts. I took History and Maths, and I loved languages so I decided to do a major in Spanish too and I had an extra class to fill and Introduction to the Study of Language sounded the most interesting. And I found it interesting, but about halfway through the course I realised it was the intersection of all my interests (intensely analytical, but with historical and sociological elements and fundamentally about people) and that I was pretty good at it. And that was that. I just kept taking classes, and explored options for honours and fieldwork (basically I wanted an excuse to travel) and research assistantships and it all seemed to fall into place. Mostly though, the great thing is is that linguistics is such a big field there’s so many options for ‘the right fit’.

Like, if you’re a mathsy patterns person then syntax or phonology are great, and if you’re a sciency measurements type then phonetics is perfect, and if you’re a history buff then obviously historical linguistics and if you just love words then you can be a lexicographer and if social sciences and why people do what they do is what interests you then sociolinguistics or psycholinguistics depending on what you mean by why or if you want to apply your ling skills to practical situations then language documentation/translation/language teaching/speech pathology or therapy/language policy. And of course if you like to travel do fieldwork! Basically I think that anyone who loves language can find a good fit in linguistics.

Don’t be nervous! Some parts are harder than others, but you’ll work out what you like and what you’re best at and then you get to specialise. Plus my experience is that linguists are mostly just really enthusiastic people who get really excited when someone else is also interested. It really is one of the friendliest fields. And remember: you always have options, not just in what you study, but also in what you do with that study, so don’t ever feel trapped.

Good luck :)

I think it’s great that every year at ANU (do other unis do this too?) the resident phonetician gets stuck with reading out the names at all the graduation ceremonies. it makes the whole thing so much less cringeworthy, and it means you get a wink if you’re a ling student, and it’s just so nice that somewhere along the line someone was like ‘hey, maybe we should get someone whose job is sounds to pronounce all these sounds’.

Australian English - a Handy Guide, part 1

  • Pissed: either angry or drunk. Sometimes both.
  • Piss easy: extremely easy.
  • Pissed off: either in the context of being angry, or having left a place.
  • Piss Up: an event containing alcohol.
  • Pissing down: Raining heavily.
  • Pissed on: usually used to describe being rained on.
  • Piss around: dawdle or delay; procrastinate.
  • Pissing contest: attempting to prove one's abilities are better than someone else's, for no discernible gain.
  • Piss faced (see also 'shitfaced'): inebriated.
  • Pissy: either angry, or something very small.
  • Piss-poor/piss-weak: weak or disappointing.
  • Piss head: Alcoholic individual.
  • As an example: George and some other piss head got into a pissing contest, where George put in a piss poor effort and got pissed off because it started pissing down. He'd figured it would be piss easy to win, so he was pissy and spent the rest of the afternoon pissing around before deciding to piss off and avoid getting pissed on any further by the rain.

missionary positions: christian, modernist and postmodernist

surely one of the more awkward unintended article titles out there.

Linguistics websites?



What are some of your favorite free, easy-to-use websites that you use for your linguistic research, reference, language-learning or just something educational to play around with?

In a few days, once this post makes its rounds around the tumblinguist community, I’ll create a master reference list (split into categories). I have some already, but I’ll save those for now.

Here’s a short list (including some of the obvious ones):

And some good sites for a heap of free articles, and a lot of language descriptions etc:

(I’m sure some of the other SIL sites are good too, but these are the ones I’ve used most.)

And I forgot to add AUSTLANG to the last list. It’s an online database of Australian languages.