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

Poljarnyj vestnik.

Posted 14 hours ago

Erik’s latest post at XIX век alerted me to a journal I hadn’t been aware of: Here’s another open access and (as of 2014) peer-reviewed journal: Полярный вестник (The Polar Herald), out of Norway. The 2014 volume has an article about Baratynskii by Elena Pedigo Clark, one about Gertsen by Kathleen Parthé (whose book on village prose I liked very … [Link]

Austronesian and Taiwan.

Posted 37 hours ago

John Cowan sent me a link to Roger Blench’s paper (draft circulated for comment) “Suppose we are wrong about the Austronesian settlement of Taiwan?,” a fascinating attempt to upend the usual narrative. Here’s the abstract: The current model of the prehistory of Taiwan assumes that it was first settled some 25,000 years ago by a population of unknown affinities, who … [Link]

Language Log

Topolect writing

Posted 8 hours ago

This is an interesting question raised by the Writing Chinese project at Leeds. Helen Wang mentioned it to me in the hope that I might be willing to share my thoughts. I'll do Helen one better and share this with many others, in hopes that they too may be willing to share their thoughts. I'd like to call to your … [Link]

Official Chinglish, with a note on North Korean Juche

Posted 11 hours ago

What would you think if you encountered terms like this? Two-oriented Society Three-zation / Threezation You might wonder if the people who dreamed them up were high on something when they produced these opaque, unidiomatic renderings. Yet such terms are official translations of Chinese expressions. As such, they have entered the stream of global English. The first item is the … [Link]

Omniglot blog

Language quiz

Posted 8 hours ago

Here’s a recording in a mystery language. Can you identify the language, and do you know where it’s spoken? FacebookTwitter Google+Share [Link]

Interview from Novi Sad

Posted 45 hours ago

Here’s an interview I did at the Polyglot Conference in Novi Sad last month with Lindsay Dow of Lindsay Does Languages. I talk about how Omniglot came into being, and about learning languages, particularly Welsh. FacebookTwitter Google+Share [Link]

Urban Word of the Day

Preemptive Ejaculation

Posted 5 hours ago

1.) Similar to premature ejaculation, but occurring even sooner.2.) Jerking off to calm down before meeting up with a girl. 1.) Bob was so horny, he preemptively ejaculated at first base.2.) Preemptive ejaculation will keep you from doing something stupid on your first date with Brandy. [Link]

i just wanna talk to him

Posted 15 hours ago

when you are going to punch or hurt someone Guy to other guy, "nah i just wanna talk to him" [Link]

sheriff, reeve

Posted 4 weeks ago

See reeve. [Link]

reeve, sheriff

Posted 4 weeks ago

I’ve lived in Toronto for over four years now, and still differences between how English is spoken here and how it is spoken down south in the States keep surprising me. Today I was reading one of my favorite blogs (Lowering the Bar, a blog on legal humor) and saw a reference to the reeve of Hanover, Manitoba. The blog … [Link]

the world in words

Remembrance of the Man who Translated Proust

Posted 5 days ago

Photo: louveciennes/Flickr Creative CommonsPhoto: louveciennes/Flickr Creative Commons Read this post from Nina Porzucki. Or listen to the podcast above. It’s not often that a translator has a story as good as the author himself. But C.K. Scott Moncrieff’s was wild enough to seem like fiction. Moncrieff was the first person to translate Marcel Proust’s seven-volume epic, “Remembrance of Things Past” into English. He was … [Link]

How the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have shaped military slang

Posted 3 weeks ago

A jinglytruck (British English)/jingle truck (American English) in Afghanistan. (Photo: Kurt Clark via Flickr) Here’s a post from The Big Show’s Leo Hornak. How do you feel about doing armourbarma on the way to Butlins? Or getting a craphat to check for Terry in a jinglytruck? Unless you’re a member of Her Majesty’s Armed Forces, you’re probably totally confused. The British … [Link]

Talk Wordy to Me

These little guys need a nice New England home

Posted 18 days ago

So, yeah, we have these little guys in our basement. Goofus is 6 and Foxy is 8. They are both healthy (but we’re taking them to the vet next week to be sure). We’d love to keep them, but our house is just too small with two other cats. I’d be happy to drive them anywhere in New England to … [Link]

My (getting to be) annual St. Patrick’s Day post

Posted 8 months ago

So three years ago, I had an op-ed in the Philly Inquirer on St. Patrick’s Day. It’s about my family, and the movie Hunger. I’m pretty proud of it. (Linking to it on my blog and not the Inky, because it seems to appear and disappear there.) Happy St. Patrick’s Day, and slainte! [Link]

You Don't Say

Moving on

Posted 3 years ago

Today You Don’t Say relocates to a new Web address and new software. You will be able to find it at where … [Link]

A spell of rough weather

Posted 3 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]

World Wide Words: Updates

New: Vape

Posted 5 days ago

'Vape' has been declared Word of the Year 2014 by Oxford Dictionaries. [Link]

Updated online: No names, no pack drill

Posted 8 days ago

'No names, no pack drill' is a suggestion to say nothing and avoid possible repercussions. [Link]


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