This is my primary blog. Chances are, if you're wondering who liked all that feminism/fandom/random stuff you posted, check out my personal blog, veritablevoyage (IV).

Now, then. This blog: Power, political language usage, language learning, multilingualism, sociolinguistics, frame narrative, language lols.

I speak English and French, and am in the process of improving my barely-functional Spanish, as well as my meager German. Basic Basque is now also on the list to learn (I'd really appreciate any resources for this, btw!).

Find me on Duolingo @ veritablevoyage!
“In German, when the phone rings, people respond with their surname. In French, they usually say “Allo?” In Italian, they say “Pronto”, meaning “Ready”. And in Japanese the equivalent of “Hello” is “Moshi moshi”.”
- A Little Book of Language by David Crystal, page 137. (via linguaphilioist)
Anonymous asked: is "l'esprit de l'escalier" a real thing?






no (spanish accent)



It’s an old metaphor which first appeared around 1780 (I don’t bullshit you when I say it’s old) and I guess someone saw it in a book at some point, went crazy because it’s oh so damn hipster, and now all cheezy francophiles use it as their motto. Truly, I’ve never used it, not a single time in my whole life. And I’m a Diderot fan. 

We were actually talking about this the other day in a class (my prof mentioned that a “Parthian shot” is the exact opposite of l’esprit de l’escalier. And I verified the meaning of l’esprit de l’escalier but then I realized, “I have never actually heard it used…. like ever. It’s just this phrase that people talk about.”




stromae talked about some real shit on his last album and i didnt even notice because it was in french.

*Tout le monde sait comment on fait des bébés mais personne sait comment on fait des papas!*

Mais t’es Hutu ou Tutsi ?
Flamand ou Wallon ?
Bras ballants ou bras longs ?
Finalement t’es raciste
Mais t’es blanc ou bien t’es marron ?

Le Clavier : The Keyboard

Here’s some info and vocab stuff about French keyboards. Attention! ‘French’ in this case means ‘from France’; the keyboard is different in other Francophone countries.

First, the keyboard isn’t QWERTY it’s AZERTY and that makes it a bit weird to use at the beginning (especially the A). Second, almost all the symbols are in a different place. Here, look:


This is mostly annoying for the comma, which is where the US M is located.

Third, you have to press shift+[symbol] to get any number and shift+; to get a period/full stop. Other symbols, too, but these are the most inconvenient.



&         une esperluette
#         un dièse
'          une apostrophe
-          un trait d’union
—        un tiret
_         un tiret bas, underscore
@        une arobase
(          les parenthèses (f)
%        un (signe) pour-cent
!          un point d’exclamation
/          une barre oblique
?         un point d’interrogation
*          un astérisque
\          une barre oblique inverse
.          un point
,          une virgule
:          un deux-points
;          un point-virgule

Giving a website: (yes I realize you will probably never need to say ‘http://’)


h t t p deux-points barre oblique barre oblique trois w point tumblr point com

Giving your email address:


a m a t e u r underscore l a n g u a g e r arobase mon trait d’union tumblr point com

Joke of the day.




An Englishman, a Frenchman, a Spaniard and a German are all standing watching a street performer do some excellent juggling. The juggler notices that the four gentlemen have a very poor view, so he stands up on a large wooden box and calls out, “Can you all see me now?”



Took me about ten minutes to finally understand this

stupidest/most awesome joke ever

“A British person would be likely to make [the Chinese sign language gesture for ‘father’] with the fingers relaxed [rather than tensed], and that would be noticed by a Chinese deaf person as a foreign accent.”
- A Little Book of Language by David Crystal, page 116. (via linguaphilioist)




I never realized it before but in french, “avocado” and “lawyer” are the same words

when I went to Montreal last summer, I had never seen the French word for avocado before

and I went to this smoothie place in some mall and…



hey language nerds! like and or reblog this if you post anything related to:

  • linguistics
  • foreign languages
  • research on dialects
  • interesting language articles/fun facts
  • basically anything pertaining to language

i want more linguistics/language blogs to follow




i love the whole idea of the tumblinguistics thing and like the little community going on here it’s awesome

“I remember working with a law school in which white men heavily dominated the faculty. They used lots of sports metaphors (doing an end run, Monday morning quarterbacking, and so on), with legal jargon thrown in for good measure. I suggested that this was not a particularly welcoming trait in their school, that in fact it was sexist, but they paid little attention. I made my point by speaking for about five minutes in dressmaking terms: putting a dart in here, a gusset there, cutting the budget on the bias so it would be more flexible, using a peplum to hide a course that might be controversial. The women in the room laughed; the men did not find it humorous….Language is power, make no mistake about it. It is used to include and exclude and to keep people and systems in their places.”
- Frances E. Kendall, Understanding White Privilege (via nadashannon)

Some English Words


prosaic (adj) - relating to prose, ordinary, commonplace

venerated (adj) - greatly respected, revered

vociferous (adj) - characterized by vehement opinions

erudite (adj) - having or showing great knowledge or learning

avuncular (adj) - kind and friendly

lissome (adj) - thin, supple, and graceful

acerbic (adj) - sharp and forthright

avuncular does mean ‘kind and friendly,’ but more accurately means ‘characteristic of an uncle, or resembling an uncle.’ It comes from the Latin root for ‘maternal uncle.’

Also, some more English words!

multifarious (adj) - having many different parts or components; numerous and varied

perfidy (n) - deliberate breech of faith or trust; treachery

ubiquitous (adj) - being everywhere at the same time; omnipresent

calumny (n) - slander; defamation

superfluous (adj) - more than required; unnecessary as a result of abundance

mellifluous (adj) - sweetly or smoothly flowing, as if with honey

predilection (n) - preference; partiality

insidious (adj) - stealthily deceitful or treacherous

abstemious (adj) - sparing or moderate in habit; characterized by abstinence 

supercilious (adj) - haughtily disdainful or contemptuous 

cogent (adj) - to the point; pertinent; convincing or believable as a result of clarity

“The world didn’t get worse, homie, your eyes just got wider.”
- fuckin deep ass top comment on youtube (via 7ns)


reading a foreign language: yeah
writing in a foreign language: ok
listening to a foreign language: wait
speaking in a foreign language: fuck

Basic Basque Vocab


I have a little, pretty much improvised speech to give tomorrow about language preservation in Spanish, and we have to have an “interactive element”. Rather than pictures or a silly survey, I decided to make a vocab list for Basque, which is one of the languages that I will be talking about. This is the list

Anonymous asked: What are some popular/commonly used idiomatic phrases in Spain?


I’m actually not a fan of open-ended questions like this. I feel like they force me to lump together many expressions, in a rush, without being able to get into the nuances or give enough examples.

That said, I am not letting you go empty handed! Here’s one as Spanish as it gets:

El que [se] fue a Sevilla, perdió su silla.
He who went to Seville, lost his chair.

It’s used in a situation where a person was absent so they lost their place or chance. Since it’s a very known idiom, you’ll frequently hear just the first half – and saying it in full might even sound childish.

For example, it can be used when you literally lost your seat:

– Hey, ¡yo estaba sentado ahí!
– ¡Ya no! El que se fue a Sevilla…
– Hey, I was sitting there!
– Not anymore! You lost your seat.

But of course there are some metaphorical uses:

Estaba hablando con un chico muy mono, y fui a por una copa, y cuando volví me encontré otra chica hablando con él. No tendría que haberme ido, la que se fue a Sevilla…
I was talking to a very cute guy, and then I went for a drink, and when I came back I found another girl talking to him. I shouldn’t have left, I lost my opportunity.

Now, since this is a woman speaking, I changed the gender of the sentence to the femenine. I would do the same if I was using it to refer to a girl friend. But this is not something that everybody does, so do not be surprised if people use the original masculine version even when talking about women.

Here’s another example:

– Ya he vuelto, ¿está la jefa en su despacho ya?
– Sí, pero ahora está reunida con Pablo.
– Joder, el que fue a Sevilla…
– Hey, I’m back, is the boss in her office yet?
– Yeah but now she’s meeting with Pablo.
– Fuck, I left for one moment and…