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 » Linguistics Movies and TV Show Episodes.

Wednesday 4 October 20:18:27 UTC 2017

Gretchen McCulloch (a linguist previously seen at LH here and here) has posted A very long list of linguistics movies, documentaries, and TV show episodes which is exactly as advertised. It starts with “Arrival, 2016” (discussed at LH here) and ends with Whistles in the Mist (“Interesting questions about origin of lg. typology”); lots of intriguing-looking stuff in between, e.g.: … [Link]

Language Log » British understatement of the week

Wednesday 4 October 18:37:17 UTC 2017

According to HuffPost UK, although figures from the Office of National Statistics indicate that the LGB percentage of the population rose last year by a statistically significant amount, "the majority of the UK population still identifies as heterosexual or straight." Phew! So the straights (unlike the current Conservative-led government) held on to their majority. Good. I was bracing for a … [Link]

Omniglot blog » Star sailors and children of the sky

Wednesday 4 October 12:07:31 UTC 2017

A sailing ship in space Did you know that the word astronaut means “star sailor”? This is something I learnt from an interesting Allusionist podcast on Technobabble. Astronaut comes from the Ancient Greek ἄστρον (ástron – star) and ναύτης (naútēs – sailor). It first appeared as the name of a space craft in Across the Zodiac, a story written by Percy Greg in the 1880. … [Link]

Language Log » Ball ball 你

Wednesday 4 October 11:38:45 UTC 2017

Yep, just like that. This expression is very common on the Chinese internet, messaging, chatting, etc. now, but — for those of us who are not in the know — what does it mean? I'll just give one hint: nǐ 你 means "you". Beyond that, you have to know Chinese to understand what "ball ball nǐ 你" ("ball ball you") … [Link]

Urban Word of the Day » Dunning-Hitler effect

Wednesday 4 October 7:30:00 UTC 2017

The tendency for countries that believe they are immune to fascism to be especially susceptible to its rise. The popularity of Geert Wilders is an example of the Dunning-Hitler effect in its early stages.Donald Trump's presidency is an example of the Dunning-Hitler effect. [Link]


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