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Bianca joins us as we tackle a fun and wacky conlang with some serious phonological processes.

Top of Show Greeting: Neo-Simikaka

Featured Conlang: Alũbetah



Hi guys,

Greetings from Melbourne, Australia.

Loving the podcast, keep up the good work.  Only discovered it a few weeks ago, but have worked my way back through most of your back catalogue.

I had a question which you might have covered in your episode on loan words, but not sure.  I am a high school language teacher (German/French/Chinese) and when I was talking with one class about loan words between languages we got off on a tangent about redundancies.

For example, near our school is a waterway called “Mordialloc Creek”.  In the indigenous Australian language (Boon Wurrung) that was spoken in this area before European settlement, the word “Yallock” means creek.  So the English name is essentially “Mordi Creek Creek”.

“Sahara” is also an anglicised version of the Arabic word for desert, so “Sahara Desert” is essentially “Desert Desert”.  Mekong River is also something along the lines of “Khong River River”, roughly (technically the full name in Thai is Mae Nam Khong, which makes more sense as “Khong River”).

I know it happens in numerous other contexts.

Our question was whether there is an actual word for this phenomenon?  Or is it just called linguistic redundancy?

Thanks, Aaron

15 Responses to “Conlangery #67: Alũbetah”

  1. Wm Annis

    See, that’s just great! I can listen to an episode and have no idea what’s going to be said.

    Regarding the cheese section: George, the cheese expert was not there for tourists, but locals. I know the store you went into and it has snooty aspirations. And they have plenty of cheeses not from Wisconsin, too. Although I like the idea of someone in Pigeon Falls making a good manchego.

    • admin

      I see. William, some time you’re going to go with me and show me which are the good Wisconsin cheeses. I’ve been trying various things from Fresh Madison Market to learn about kinds of cheese in general.

      • wm.annis

        What you should really do is haul yourself out of bed early some Saturday, and wander up to the square for the giant farmers’ market. There are several good cheese makers there, offering cheeses of cow, sheep and goat. Look for “Hook’s” especially.

        Also, if you like bitter melon, you’ll be set. For some reason, the Hmong farmers always have it, though I have no idea who all is buying it. I buy at most one a season. Hmm… now I know what I’m having for lunch this Saturday.

        • Joe Schelin

          I worked in the cheese department of a grocery store. It was fun, and I learned a whole lot about cheese, and I was one of those people giving out samples. The most fun game working there was when someone would come in and say “I had an amazing cheese at my friend’s party, and I wanted some… I think the name started with a ‘G’…do you know what it was?” and the cheese guessing game would begin….


  2. Matthew

    Bianca could be a “connoisseuse” of cheese. Or, to be really authentic, “une connaisseuse du fromage”.

  3. Kilian Hekhuis

    I just found out you guys apparently discussed Alũbetah, which is rather cool, but the podcast seems to be limited to the first minute or so. Is there a full podcast or a transcription somewhere?

    • admin

      Podcast seems fine to me. Maybe a connection hiccup on your end, or you hit us up during an update or something? Try it again.

  4. Kilian Hekhuis

    Listened to it, it was quite fun! Most remarks were spot-on. Don’t know why you guys couldn’t reach me, as I’ve been on ZBB for a long time (and posted most of Alubetah there).


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