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 » Information content of text in English and Chinese

Monday 9 October 15:17:07 UTC 2017

Terms and concepts related to "letters" and "characters" were used at spectacularly crossed purposes in many of the comments on Victor Mair's recent post "Twitter length restrictions in English, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean". I'm not going to intervene in the tangled substance of that discussion, except to reference some long-ago LLOG posts on the relative information content of different languages/writing … [Link]

Language Log » Écriture inclusive

Monday 9 October 13:08:05 UTC 2017

In English, singular personal pronouns are almost the only residue of morphological gender. But in many languages this is a much bigger problem, with gender agreement in adjectives, gendered forms of most nouns, and so on. A few years, French proponents of "écriture inclusive" ("inclusive writing") proposed a novel use of an otherwise little-used character, the "middle dot", to set … [Link]

Language Log » "…her eyes began to swell in tears when she was asked to take out the Mandarin work sheets…"

Monday 9 October 12:07:35 UTC 2017

The following post is from an old, now defunct, blog, but the description of little Eunice learning three languages at once (none of which was her natal tongue spoken at home) and other discussions of Chinese are unusual in their detail and sensitivity, so worthy of sharing with Language Log readers: "Primary learning in a multilingual society ", Grammar Gang … [Link]

Omniglot blog » Autos and bils

Monday 9 October 9:30:57 UTC 2017

Yesterday I discovered that the Swedish for car is bil [biːl], which is related to the Icelandic bíll [bɪtl̥]. At first I wasn’t sure where these words came from, then realised that they are probably abbreviations of automobile. The Swedish word does in fact come from automobil, according to Wiktionary. The same word is also found in Danish and Norwegian. … [Link]

Urban Word of the Day » emergency bacon

Monday 9 October 7:00:00 UTC 2017

This is bacon which is hidden from normal usage such that, in the event of a bad day, a party, or a zombie apocalypse, it is readily available to save the day and improve morale. Usually this is kept in a separate freezer apart from the one in your kitchen. It can also be hidden in the main freezer using … [Link] » Preserving Laz.

Monday 9 October 0:15:35 UTC 2017

I don’t normally link to videos, but Saving Turkey’s endangered Laz language is only a bit over three minutes long, and you can not only hear a little of that Caucasian language but see a brief clip of a Laz dictionary. (Laz previously on LH.) Thanks, Trevor! [Link]


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