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

languagehat.com » CASTED.

Saturday 3 March 23:37:34 UTC 2012

Frequent commenter Paul sent me a link to this review by Elli Fischer and Shai Secunda of what sounds like a fascinating Israeli movie, Footnote. An excerpt:Sitting in the audience is Scholnik's father, Professor Eliezer Scholnik (perfectly played by Shlomo Bar-Aba), an excruciatingly pedantic and methodical scholar on the faculty of the same university Talmud department as his son, though … [Link]

Language Log » An empirical path to plain legal meaning

Saturday 3 March 14:44:33 UTC 2012

Stephen Mouritsen, "Hard Cases and Hard Data: Assessing Corpus Linguistics as an Empirical Path to Plain Meaning", Columbia Science & Technology Law Review, 2/25/2012: The Plain Meaning Rule is often assailed on the grounds that it is unprincipled—that it substitutes for careful analysis an interpreter’s ad hoc and impressionistic intuition about the meaning of legal texts. But what if judges … [Link]

Language Log » Corpus linguistics in statutory interpretation

Saturday 3 March 13:34:33 UTC 2012

Christopher Shea, "No Safe Harbor From Judge Posner’s Linguistic Googling", Wall Street Journal 3/1/2012: From March 2006 to October 2006, an Illinois woman named Deanna Costello let her boyfriend live with her — a man she knew was in the country illegally. The boyfriend was eventually convicted on drug charges, and Costello was convicted of “harboring” an illegal immigrant. In … [Link]

Wordorigins.org » 1956 Words

Saturday 3 March 13:33:01 UTC 2012

The Oxford English Dictionary has 368 words with first citations from 1956. In that year, pencil-necked geeks working in computer science came up with both microcomputers and Fortran, while their counterparts in materials science invented Lexan and Scotchgard; comitology took paper-pushing to new heights; the glitterati of New York, sporting Tony Curtises, could accept their Obies; and Tylenol started to … [Link]

World Wide Words: Updates » New online: Somniloquent

Saturday 3 March 8:32:00 UTC 2012

Sleep-walkers are better known than their talkative equivalents somniloquents. [Link]

World Wide Words: Updates » New online: Playing gooseberry

Saturday 3 March 8:31:00 UTC 2012

Why is it that, when you intrude on a couple who want to be alone, you are said to be playing gooseberry. [Link]

Urban Word of the Day » get a kennel

Saturday 3 March 8:30:00 UTC 2012

A nice way to tell someone that their incessant display of affection for their dog or cat is causing you embarrassment as one who is forced to watch such display You and that dog have been slobbering on each other for 10 minutes. Get a kennel! [Link]

Language Log » Passport pickup by pinyin

Saturday 3 March 1:26:37 UTC 2012

Yesterday I went to the Beijing Public Security Bureau (Gōng'ān jú 公安局) to renew my visa. While waiting in the main hall for my number to be called, I had ample time to walk around and familiarize myself with the operations there. One thing in particular piqued my curiosity. Namely, I saw four gray, metal cabinets full of hundreds of … [Link]

languagehat.com » LITHUANIAN WOMEN'S NAMES.

Saturday 3 March 0:21:36 UTC 2012

Asya Pereltsvaig of Languages Of The World has a post called "Au revoir, mademoiselle!" that starts with the French government's announcement that the word “mademoiselle” would no longer be used in official documents but quickly goes in a startling direction:Surnames in Lithuanian end differently depending on whether it’s a man’s surname, a married woman’s or an unmarried woman’s. Men’s surnames … [Link]

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