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 » HOPEFULLY II.

Monday 23 April 14:34:46 UTC 2012

I wrote about the idiotic prejudice against modal hopefully here, and now I get to link to Geoff Pullum's ‘Hopefully’: Five Decades of Foolishness, in which he lays out the history of the prejudice. I had no idea it was invented by one man, Wilson Follett, who without any foundation in fact called the use "un-English and eccentric"; the interesting … [Link]

Wordorigins.org » 1968 Words

Monday 23 April 12:27:00 UTC 2012

The Oxford English Dictionary has 392 words with first citations from 1968. In that year, you could be amped on uppers; the Cold War brought us SALT and Reforger; Yippies and Hare Krishnas were seen by many to be signs of the downfall of Western Civilization; pagers, routers, and uplinks were at the cutting edge of communications technology; and if … [Link]

Language Log » Scientific study of affirmative-response indicators

Monday 23 April 8:13:47 UTC 2012

My Breakfast Experiments™ aren't quite as rigorous as Mark Liberman's. He has direct access via a high-speed line to the entire Linguistic Data Consortium collection of corpora at his breakfast table, and writes R scripts for statistical analysis as if R was his native language (it may well be, come to think of it). My breakfast table has just a … [Link]

Urban Word of the Day » Whiskey Tango Foxtrot

Monday 23 April 7:30:00 UTC 2012

Radio Phonetics for: What the fuck Commonly used to accentuate the phrase. Whiskey Tango Foxtroy, Over! Weren't you thinking!? [Link]

languagehat.com » CHRESTOMATHY.

Monday 23 April 1:19:42 UTC 2012

“Chrestomathy,” by Anatoly Belilovsky (from the speculative fiction magazine Ideomancer) takes a counterfactual—what if Pushkin had survived that duel?—and runs with it; it's a clever collection of imaginary writings, prominently featuring "The Reluctant Revolutionist," by Vladimir Nabokov (St Petersburg, 1937—the city name and the date combine to produce a frisson all by themselves). You needn't accept the plausibility of his … [Link]

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