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 » Wright is wrong about sociology as well as basketball

Thursday 16 February 22:08:11 UTC 2012

Robert Wright, "The Secret of Jeremy Lin's Success?", The Atlantic 2/14/2012: One of the most intriguing cultural contrasts between eastern and western ways of viewing the world was documented in experiments by the psychologist Richard Nisbett, some of them in collaboration with Takahiko Masuda. The upshot was that East Asians tend to view scenes more holistically than westerners. James Fallows, … [Link]

Language Log » BioSpam

Thursday 16 February 18:11:46 UTC 2012

Whatever else may be true about biologists, they generate the best spam. I've somehow managed to get on a mailing list for biological lab equipment — some conference I attended, or some journal I subscribed too — and as a result, I get lots of email like this one, which arrived this morning under the Subject heading "Upgrade your Tissue … [Link]

Omniglot blog » By hook or by crook

Thursday 16 February 18:06:15 UTC 2012

I went to two talks by David Crystal at Bangor University yesterday – one was entitled “By Hook or by Crook” and the other was on Shakespeare’s English, focusing particularly on original pronunciation (OP) – a reconstruction of the way people spoke in Shakepeare’s day. Both talks were fascinating and full of information and anecdotes. In the first David explained … [Link]

Language Log » "Bladed items": nerdview?

Thursday 16 February 11:23:28 UTC 2012

After teenager Casey-Lyanne Kearney was found dying in a park in the northern England town of Doncaster yesterday, 26-year-old Hannah Bonser was arrested and charged with murder; but according to various news sources (e.g., Sky News and The Telegraph) she was also "charged with two counts of possessing a bladed item." Why would anyone use such a strange and deliberately … [Link]

Urban Word of the Day » credit card roulette

Thursday 16 February 8:00:00 UTC 2012

A game of chance to decide which person pays for a restaurant meal. Every party contributes a credit/debit card into a hat and the waiter/waitress removes one card at time. The last card removed pays the entire bill. We played credit card roulette at breakfast and DJ's card was the last one picked. He had to pick up the 200 … [Link]

Language Log » Linsanity

Thursday 16 February 7:58:01 UTC 2012

By now, practically everyone has heard of the remarkable basketball performances of Jeremy (Shu-How) Lin 林書豪, the Harvard grad who came off the bench for the New York Knicks last week and helped them win seven straight games. So sensational has his play been that enthusiasts swiftly coined the term "Linsanity" to describe it. Of course, because Lin is of … [Link] » DIDICOI.

Thursday 16 February 1:28:46 UTC 2012

My wife and I have been enjoying a DVD of the delightful British detective series Midsomer Murders (thanks, Eric!), and the episode we watched last night, "Blood Will Out," taught me a new word, didicoi. It's apparently a purely U.K. term, because none of my U.S. dictionaries have it, not even the imposing Webster's Third New International, but the Concise … [Link]

Language Log » Backwards-correct-syntaxing-modification fraud challenged

Thursday 16 February 1:07:52 UTC 2012

Jillian Rayfield, "‘Sovereign Citizen’ Sues Prosecutors For Grammar-Based Conspiracy", TPM : A so-called sovereign citizen in Washington, recently sentenced to three years for threatening to “arrest” a local mayor, is now suing federal prosecutors for conspiring against him using poor grammar, or as he calls it, “backwards-correct-syntaxing-modifi~ fraud.” David Russell Myrland filed a (virtually incomprehensible) lawsuit in federal court in … [Link]


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