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.


Sunday 22 January 23:13:10 UTC 2012

I'm about halfway through Aksyonov's 1965 novel Пора, мой друг, пора [It's Time, My Friend, It's Time], which is so far set in Tallinn (his earlier fiction moves almost entirely between Estonia, the Far East, and the Crimea, with occasional stopovers in Moscow), and with my usual need for geographical precision I was trying to find out where улица Побед~ … [Link]

Language Log » 50 years of linguistics at MIT

Sunday 22 January 14:45:50 UTC 2012

The videos are now out — from the 50th-anniversary celebrations ("a scientific reunion") of the linguistics program at MIT, December 9-11, 2011. The schedule of the talks (with links to slides for them) is available here, with links to other material: a list of attendees, a list of the many poster presentations, videos of the main presentations, personal essays by … [Link]

You Don't Say » Rules of the road

Sunday 22 January 14:39:07 UTC 2012

When I asked readers whether there are subjects they would like to see addressed here, one expressed interest in my “takes on life in and around Baltimore … [Link]

Urban Word of the Day » open relationship

Sunday 22 January 8:30:00 UTC 2012

A euphemism describing a relationship in which one or more participates are cheating. Dude, I heard your girlfriend slept with John, why are you still with her? Nah, it's cool, we're in an open relationship. [Link]

Language Log » Draft

Sunday 22 January 6:51:20 UTC 2012

In a series of Language Log posts, Geoff Pullum has called attention to the prevalence of polysemy and ambiguity: The people who think clarity involves lack of ambiguity, so we have to strive to eliminate all multiple meanings and should never let a word develop a new sense… they simply don't get it about how language works, do they? Languages … [Link]

Omniglot blog » Language quiz

Sunday 22 January 5:00:55 UTC 2012

Here’s a recording of a song in a mystery language Can you identify the language, and do you know where it’s spoken? [Link] » HENRY HITCHINGS: FIVE BOOKS.

Sunday 22 January 1:09:52 UTC 2012

Another of The Browser's FiveBooks interviews, this time with Henry Hitchings; I like what he has to say about "water cooler myths" and "stupid myths about the English language" (e.g., that "this is a uniquely sad moment in the history of English" and that "the Americans are ruining English"), and of course I was interested in his choice of books—and … [Link]


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