Page 3 - Language Facts

In many languages blue and green are considered to be different shades of the same color. In English, that color is referred to as 'grue'

According to Brent Berlin and Paul Kay's 1969 study 'Basic Color Terms: Their Universality and Evolution', distinct terms for brown, purple, pink, orange and grey will not emerge in a language until the language has made a distinction between green and blue.

Many languages, however, do not differentiate between certain colors on the visible spectrum and they therefore do not have separate terms for blue and green. Instead, they use one term to cover the description of both these colors. In English linguistic terms, this cover description is referred to as 'grue'.

For example, in Vietnamese the word to describe the color of both tree leaves and the sky is 'xanh'. To distinguish, they use xanh l cy ("leaf grue") for green and xanh dương ("ocean grue") for blue.

In the Thai language 'khiaw' means green, but when referring to the sky or the ocean, it means blue. In Chinese has 'qīng' can refer to green, blue and sometimes even black! The Korean 'pureuda' can mean either green or blue. Many African languages also utilize the same word to describe both colors.

But what is the color of water? Many will say blue, and some of us will say green. Color is sometimes in the eye of the beholder.


Russians have a word to describe a weekend long bender! Learn more

The word "Zapoi" (written in Russian as запой) refers to two or more days of continuous drunkenness, during which an individual withdraws from society.

The fact that Russia has a word for such a specific behavior is not surprising—drunk culture is widely prevalent throughout Russian society, and heavy drinking is generally a socially acceptable behavior.

According to a World Health Organization report in 2011, the annual per capita alcohol consumption in the country is 15.76 liters, the fourth highest in Europe.

In 2012, as an effort to combat alcoholism in the country, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev nearly doubled the price of vodka. Still, the problem persists throughout the country.


Ending a Sentence With a Preposition is Just Fine If You're Speaking English. Here's why

A preposition at the end of a sentence is also known as a stranded preposition. It is a grammatical myth that a sentence in English should never end in a preposition, and this rule originates from the Latin-obsessed 17th century. For the next two centuries teachers and grammarians very seriously tried to enforce it.

English is not Latin and the deferring of prepositions is part of English. If you wish to be a pro-Latin grammar elitist—maneuvering all prepositions to the end of a sentence—you might end up sounding like Yoda in Star Wars.

A well known witticism that illustrates this point very well, is: "This is the sort of English up with which I will not put!"


Some awesome lists!

"Helicopter" and "pterodactyl" have the same Greek root word! Do you know which?

Police use helicopters, but the etymology of helicopter has nothing to do with cops, but rather with fliers of the Jurassic period. It's helico – pter, from the Greek ἕλικος (elikos) 'spiral' + πτερόν (pteron) 'wing.'

The -pter in helicopter is the same as the –pter in pterodactyl. The prehistoric flying reptile is "wing-fingered." It gets it's name from πτερόν + dactyl, the combining form of δάκτυλος (dactylos) 'finger.


South Africans call traffic lights "robots"—You'll never guess why!

Every language and every country has it's own slang. There are even huge differences between each U.S. State. South Africa is no different: it has dozens of words used to describe people, places and things that other English-speaking nations do not have.

Some of these are poppie (a ditzy woman), snackwich (a grilled cheese sandwich), and tekkies/tackies (sneakers). Somewhat confusingly, they call traffic lights "robots." They of course call actual robots "robots" too.

The practice of calling traffic lights robots came about when they were first installed in South Africa. Then, they were called "robot policemen" and the name was shortened over time.



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