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 » Kudos to Shaun and #passivevoiceday

Wednesday 25 April 19:26:19 UTC 2012

Let the record show that in the post advertising Passive Voice Day 2012 on Shaun's Blog (April 27), which was naturally crying out to be written entirely in the passive voice, the writer, shaunm, has not made a single slip. Every single transitive verb in his post is in the passive. (There is one intransitive subordinate clause in addition, "that … [Link]

the world in words » Tourette’s Hero: Changing the World One Tic at a Time

Wednesday 25 April 19:19:31 UTC 2012

Jess Thom dresses like a superhero. Mask, shiny blue cape, the whole bit. She calls her alter ego Tourette’s Hero. Whether dressed as Tourette’s Hero or as herself, Thom speaks with an impressive array of verbal tics. She says biscuit a lot. “Tourette’s is a condition that waxes and wanes BISCUIT,” says Thom. “So it changes over the course of somebody’s … [Link]

languagehat.com » THIS AND THAT.

Wednesday 25 April 15:59:27 UTC 2012

1) Ben Zimmer has tracked down the history of supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, which is a lot more interesting than you might think (there was a song called "Supercalafajalistickespialado~ in 1949, and supercaliflawjalisticexpialadoshus was created—or said to have been created—by Helen Herman a couple of decades earlier); you can read all about it at Visual Thesaurus or the Boston Globe. 2) From an … [Link]

Language Log » Recycling "sticky wicket" for the uncricketed

Wednesday 25 April 11:48:05 UTC 2012

Yesterday's Morning Edition took up the question of how "Bribery Accusations Hurt Wal-Mart's Stock Price". The segment takes the form of a conversation between NPR's Chris Arnold and Charles Elson, director of the Center for Corporate Governance at the University of Delaware, in which a metaphorically sticky wicket plays an important role. Like many Americans who use that phrase, Chris … [Link]

Urban Word of the Day » get it

Wednesday 25 April 7:13:28 UTC 2012

A phrase having many different meanings but usually "congratulating" someone else for something they've achieved (usually in the sexual realm but for pretty much anything). A: "I just aced my physics exam!" B: "Get it, girl!!" A: "Why is Nicole smiling so much today?" B: "You know she got some from Eddie last night!" A: "Get it, Nicole! you better … [Link]

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