John Gordon Ross

A Man for All Reasons

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Language Stuff

Almost everyone uses language, so inevitably almost everyone thinks they are an expert in it. I don’t consider myself an expert, though most of my work requires at least language competence and sometimes actual skill, but I do follow the blogs featured on this feeds page.

(If you are wondering where the translation-related feeds have all gone, I have put them on their own page.)

Most of the blogs represented here are in English, most of the time, but don’t be surprised to find other languages used. Go with the flow – I occasionally find myself pleasantly surprised at how much I can grasp in languages I have never seen before.

Language On the Net

World Wide Words: Updates

New online: Not my pigeon

Posted 7 weeks ago

The unfashionable idiom 'not my pigeon' puzzles a reader. [Link]

New online: Subnivean

Posted 7 weeks ago

The unusual word 'subnivean' is all about snow. [Link]

Urban Word of the Day

bull mother fucking shit

Posted 15 hours ago

The response for when someone is telling huge porkies. Tony: I always clean up after myself.Sharon: Bull mother fucking shit. [Link]

Joke Insurance

Posted 39 hours ago

When two mates have a mutual understanding to laugh at each others jokes, no matter how lame or awkward said joke is, therefore lessening the social failure of the bad joke. I was talking to some girls the other day when I cracked a 'your mother' joke. Luckily, I had joke insurance with Chris so I still ended up getting … [Link]

Wordorigins.org

What Did Old Norse Sound Like?

Posted 3 days ago

My Old Norse expertise doesn’t extend to pronunciation so I can’t comment on the accuracy of this video, but Jackson Crawford’s academic credentials are quite respectable, so I’ll take his word for it. Plus, the image of a man in a cowboy hat reading Old Norse poetry is too good to pass up: Tip o’ the hat to Jim Wilton … [Link]

American Dialect Society Word of the Year (ADS WOTY)

Posted 12 days ago

The American Dialect Society (ADS) has decided upon its Word of the Year for 2016 and that word is dumpster fire, meaning “an exceedingly disastrous or chaotic situation.” The term was commonly heard in reference to last year’s presidential election. It won in a run-off vote against woke, an African-American slang term that has been making its way into white … [Link]

languagehat.com

Shakespeare’s World.

Posted 31 hours ago

Roberta Kwok reports in the New Yorker about a website where anyone can contribute transcriptions of bits of manuscripts from Shakespeare’s time: The first-known records of many words are in Shakespeare’s plays, but it’s not always clear which he invented and which were already commonplace. The handwritten material of Shakespeare’s contemporaries is “more or less hidden,” according to Laura Wright, … [Link]

On Being Translated Back to Myself.

Posted 2 days ago

Boris Fishman has a winning Author’s Note in the latest NY Times Book Review about his trip to Estonia, where he confronted a Russian translation of his novel A Replacement Life (which I will really have to read): The embassy had scheduled a reading in Russian, so it commissioned a translation from a local trinitarian. Soon, it arrived — a … [Link]

Omniglot blog

Tell me all about it

Posted 36 hours ago

According to an article on Science Daily, a good way to remember something you’re learnt is to tell someone else about it, or to test yourself on it. A study got students to watch films, then asked them to describe what they’d seen afterwards. Those who told someone about the films just after watching them remembered the core and peripheral … [Link]

A Wayzgoose Chase

Posted 2 days ago

Bertie & Gertie - the white geese that live pn Hirael Bay in Bangor What do you call a printer that doesn’t work? A wayzgoose [ˈweɪzɡuːs]. A wayzgoose‽ What’s that? According to the Oxford Living Dictionaries, a wayzgoose is “An annual summer dinner or outing held by a printing house for its employees.” The Oxford Dictionaries blog says that: the wayzgoose was originally an entertainment given by a master-printer to his workmen to mark … [Link]

Language Log

"Nothing could be further than the truth"

Posted 5 hours ago

The linguistic highlight of Steven Mnuchin's confirmation hearing: Your browser does not support the audio element. The context: Your browser does not support the audio element. I'm eager to share with you why I believe I will serve well as America's next secretary of the treasury. But first I want to correct the record about my involvement with Indy Mac … [Link]

"Denying that he was not anti-gay or anti-women"

Posted 9 hours ago

Matt Apuzzo, "Under Trump, Approach to Civil Rights Law Is Likely to Change Definitively", NYT 1/19/2017: At this confirmation hearing, Mr. Sessions harkened to the era of segregation in arguing that there was no need for the federal government to become involved in prosecuting crimes against women or gay people that were already being prosecuted locally. “I am not sure … [Link]

You Don't Say

Moving on

Posted 5 years ago

Today You Don’t Say relocates to a new Web address and new software. You will be able to find it at http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/la~ where … [Link]

A spell of rough weather

Posted 5 years ago

There was a mild dustup today on the Internet over, of all things, spelling.The rhubarb started when Anne Trubek flung down the gauntlet with a suggestion in Wi … [Link]

Talk Wordy to Me

That time I got accused of making a bomb in school but did not get fucking arrested

Posted 16 months ago

OK so by now you have probably heard about the 14-year-old in Irving, Texas, who was arrested cause he is a fucking genius who built a goddamn clock out of circuit boards and wanted his teachers to be proud of him but instead they were racist at him and he got hauled off by the fucking cops WHO ALSO THINK … [Link]

Asking for a bit more help for Goofus

Posted 22 months ago

2015-03-08 13.09.31 UPDATE: We’ve raised $1,560 this week. From Goofus, Lauren, and I, thank you so much for all of your help, you’ve gotten us out of the woods on this. I’ve taken down the Paypal donate button. Hey everyone. So earlier this year, we raised some money to help pay for some of the medical costs of getting two kitty sisters … [Link]

the world in words

A bilingual seal of approval for high school graduates

Posted 2 years ago

Peter Kuskie and Maria Regalado are students at Hillsboro High in Oregon and are on track to receive a new bilingual seal on their diplomas. (Photo: Monica Campbell) Read this post from Monica Campbell. Or listen to the podcast above. Let’s take a trip back to September 1995, when Republican presidential candidate Bob Dole was talking about education on the campaign … [Link]

A Soviet-era storytelling game trains you to bluff, lie and sometimes tell the truth

Posted 2 years ago

A tense moment during a game of “Mafia” in Kiev, Ukraine. (Photo courtesy of the English Mafia Club of Kiev) Read this post from Alina Simone. Or listen to the podcast above. The storytelling parlor game “Mafia” crosses borders, transcends culture and bridges the language divide in ways you’d never expect. There are no game boards or joysticks involved in Mafia … [Link]

Archive

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