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

Urban Word of the Day

blessed from behind

Posted 6 hours ago

Your ass is huge. "Damn girl you are blessed from behind" [Link]

Carpin all those diems

Posted 30 hours ago

Making the most of your time "Only losers look stuff up while the rest of us are carpin all those diems." -summer [Link]

5 Ways to a Faster PhD

Posted 3 weeks ago

This article has absolutely nothing to do with etymology or language (except in the tangential way that it is about professional studies in the humanities), but it’s something I wrote about the problem of how long it takes to complete a PhD in the humanities. It’s probably not of much interest to those outside academia. And sorry about the click-baity … [Link]

star-spangled, spangle

Posted 6 weeks ago

We all know that Francis Scott Key wrote the Star-Spangled Banner in 1814 after watching the British bombardment of Fort McHenry in Baltimore harbor: O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave? But most of us don’t know what a spangle is, or that Key wasn’t the first … [Link]

Reduplicated Compounds in Turkish?

Posted 14 hours ago

Bruce Allen writes: Oedipus Schmoedipus — so long as he loves his mother. Years and years ago, I had a professor of Greek who said that this particular kind of reduplicated rhyming compound (schm-) originated not in Yiddish, but in Turkish. I don’t find anything to substantiate this and he died years ago, but I figure if anyone can shed … [Link]

Français de nos régions.

Posted 36 hours ago

Le français de nos régions vous intéresse ? (Does regional French interest you?) Then you’ll enjoy this site, with sections on pneu ou peneu ?, words pronounced differently in different parts of France (persil: is the final -l pronounced or not?), words newly added to the dictionary, and much else. I know marie-lucie will be interested; I hope others will. … [Link]

Language Log

Learning languages is so much easier now

Posted 10 hours ago

If you use the right tools, that is, as explained in this Twitter thread from Taylor ("Languge") Jones. Rule number 1: Use all the electronic tools at your disposal. Rule number 2: Do not use paper dictionaries. Jones' Tweetstorm started when he was trying to figure out the meaning of shāngchǎng 商场 in Chinese. He remembered from his early learning … [Link]

Dispatch with, dispense from, dispel with, …

Posted 18 hours ago

The Washington Post's digital front page a little while ago told us that Donald Trump has given in to those who wanted him to "dispatch with" Stephen Bannon: Earlier today, Mitt Romney's Facebook post explained that he would "dispense from" discussion of certain aspects of Trump's comments on the Charlottesville events: And in February of 2016, Marco Rubio urged us … [Link]

Omniglot blog

Duolingo online

Posted 3 hours ago

Duolingo logo I’ve been studying Russian, Swedish and Romanian with Duolingo for the past four months using the app on my phone. I knew you could also study online, but have only just discovered that the online version includes notes on grammar. These are very helpful, and I’ll be going through them all. The notes don’t appear to be included in the … [Link]

Coming Home to Irish

Posted 2 days ago

Coming Home: One man's return to the Irish Language While I was in Ireland last month I went to an interesting talk by Michael McCaughan at which he launched his book, Coming Home: One man’s return to the Irish Language. I have just finished reading the book, and found it very interesting. Although he had to study Irish in school, like everybody else in Ireland, he wasn’t able to … [Link]

World Wide Words: Updates

New online: Not my pigeon

Posted 9 months ago

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

New online: Subnivean

Posted 9 months ago

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

Talk Wordy to Me

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

Posted 23 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 2 years 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 3 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 3 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]


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