Another article for The Week! Actually, I wrote this a couple of weeks ago, but it took a while getting posted because they were busy with the thing I wrote my other piece this week about, which shall not be mentioned here.
Anyway, this piece is the necessary sequel to the “How to identify languages” piece. That one focused on the Latin alphabet. This one looks at all the other alphabets. (Well, most of them. The Cree and Cherokee syllabic alphabets were cut to save length. And I skipped a few others that you really are unlikely to bump into.) It even has tips on telling apart languages that use the Cyrillic alphabet – and ones that use Arabic script!
How to identify Asian, African, and Middle Eastern alphabets at a glance
Posted in The Week
Tagged alphabets, Amharic, Arabic, Armenian, Assamese, Belarusian, Bengali, Berber, Bulgarian, Burmese, Chinese, Cyrillic, Devanagari, Farsi, Ge'ez, Georgian, Greek, Gujarati, Gurmukhi, Hebrew, Hindi, identify, Japanese, Kannada, Khmer, Korean, Lao, Malayalam, Mongol, Mongolian, Odia, Punjabi, Russian, Sanskrit, Serbian, Sinhala, Tamil, Telugu, Thai, Tibetan, Tifinagh, Ukrainian, Urdu
We know how some people insist on using borrowed plurals (heck, one of my first articles for The Week, a couple of years ago, was on that). But here’s the thing: they just borrow the nominative plural and think they’re covered. That works fine with languages such as French and Italian, but it’s just a token effort when you come to a fully inflecting language such as Latin. If you want to insist on genii instead of geniuses because it’s truer to the Latin, you really ought to know that genii’s is, by the same token, just plain wrong. It should be geniorum. Find out this and much more in my latest:
Octopus, octopi… octopodem? A guide to humiliating grammar nerds with Latin inflections
(Am I being dead serious with this? …Really, what do you think?)
Posted in The Week
Tagged English grammar, English words, genii, geniuses, Greek, Latin, loan words, octopi, octopodes, octopuses, plurals, The Week