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

Language Log » The running man

Wednesday 25 January 22:45:10 UTC 2012

Near my hotel on the Plaça Imperial Tarraco in Tarragona, the indicators to tell pedestrians when they can cross the street have a countdown in seconds to the next green: a minute ticks by, the lights go yellow for the vehicular traffic at 6 seconds, then red at 3 seconds, and finally — 3, 2, 1, liftoff — the little … [Link]

Language Log » The curse of bottled water

Wednesday 25 January 21:54:46 UTC 2012

Six of us were dining in Tarragona on Tuesday night, and the topic of bottled water came up. We all agreed, it is a scandal that diesel fuel is being used to move bottled water around the earth's surface when often it has no chemical advantage whatever over tapwater. What an ecological disaster. What a ripoff. We all insisted we … [Link]

You Don't Say » A new taxonomy

Wednesday 25 January 17:11:18 UTC 2012

Are you weary of the prescriptivist/descriptivist false dichotomy? I know I am. Try a fresh taxonomy. Hard-core prescriptivists, like the members of the risib … [Link]

You Don't Say » Cocking a snoot

Wednesday 25 January 16:29:25 UTC 2012

Please excuse my neglect of you this week, but my custom is, when I have nothing to say, to say nothing.* Today I want to explain why Bryan Garner’s twee … [Link] » 1906 Words

Wednesday 25 January 14:12:00 UTC 2012

The Oxford English Dictionary has 487 words with first citations from 1906. In that year, barflies could drink calvados, and teetotalers could make do with Ovaltine and Dr. Pepper; women went to salons to be coiffured with permanent waves; psychologists discussed pedophilia and zoophilia; and stenos with their Parker pens were being replaced by Dictaphones. [Link]

Urban Word of the Day » Haters Gonna Hate

Wednesday 25 January 8:30:00 UTC 2012

A phrase that represents ones complete and total disregard of another's negative comment towards the original person. *Guy 1 is walking down the street and passes Guy 2*Guy 2: Why are you so ugly?Guy 1: Haters Gonna Hate. *Keeps on walking*Dude 1: Hey Fatty!Dude 2: Haters Gonna Hate [Link] » SOMETHING BLUE, SOMETHING NEW.

Wednesday 25 January 1:37:49 UTC 2012

A couple of words that surprised me today: 1) Via Jan Freeman's latest post, an odd bit of obsolete slang: apparently, people used to say "to blue all his savings" and "I blued it all on booze" where we would say "to blow" and "I blew." I asked Jan if there were etymologies that would indicate whether it was an … [Link]


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