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 » Terroir.

Saturday 16 September 21:27:17 UTC 2017

The AHD defines terroir as “1. The aggregate characteristics of the environment in which a food or wine is produced, including regional and local climate, soil, and topography. 2. The flavor imparted to a food or wine by such characteristics” (it’s from Vulgar Latin *terratōrium, alteration of Latin territōrium, territory); it’s pretty much a foodie term, but a useful one, … [Link]

Omniglot blog » Joyful and blessed

Saturday 16 September 17:55:45 UTC 2017

I have now been learning Icelandic for a couple of weeks, and am still on Lesson 1 in Colloquial Icelandic. I’m in no hurry, and just want to learn the basics, at least at first, so my lack of progress doesn’t worry me. There seem to be quite a few ways to greet people in Icelandic. These include: – Halló … [Link]

Language Log » Bichetr

Saturday 16 September 14:46:19 UTC 2017

Receipt for yesterday's lunch: The Ethiopian server asked for my name. "Victor," I said. "What?" she asked. "Vic-tor," I enunciated as clearly as possible. I paid for my order, then stood by the side to wait for my name to be called. After about four minutes, she called out, "Bichetr!" I claimed my burger, amidst the smiles of the other … [Link]

Language Log » What were they thinking?

Saturday 16 September 13:18:39 UTC 2017

Alex Baumans writes: Perhaps no news to you, but I just discovered that the new Range Rover model is called the Velar. I wonder if the Uvular will be next. To be followed by the Range Rover Pharyngeal and the Range Rover Glottal. (Or maybe a hybrid version called the Range Rover Labiovelar?) And Jeep could fight back with the Jeep … [Link]

Urban Word of the Day » IYKWIM

Saturday 16 September 12:44:40 UTC 2017

Acronym. Stands for "If you know what I mean". Mainly used in instant messaging conversations. Can also be used in conjunction with "AITYD" (and I think you do). "I could really go for a tossed salad for lunch." "Oh, I've got a salad for you to toss, IYKWIM…AITYD." [Link]

Language Log » Biscriptalism on Starbucks cups, part 2

Saturday 16 September 10:38:43 UTC 2017

In "Impromptu biscriptalism on a Starbucks cup" (9/8/17), we encountered a Starbucks cup from Shenyang, northeast China that had the following handwritten notation on the side: wài's 外's ("foreigner's"). I referred to the "'s" as impromptu because I thought that it was essentially a one-off phenomenon. Nonetheless, I considered the "'s" to be linguistically significant in two major ways: 1. … [Link]


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