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 » Terror of singular 'they'

Friday 13 October 20:32:59 UTC 2017

table { border-collapse: collapse; } table, td, th { border: 1px solid black; } Joining a crowd of other recent fraudsters, Paul Roberts and Deborah Briton returned from their Spanish vacation and subsequently turned in a completely fake claim against the Thomas Cook package-vacation company, alleging that their time in Spain had been ruined by stomach complaints for which the … [Link]

Language Log » The less… umm… fewer the better

Friday 13 October 14:26:06 UTC 2017

Someone with a knowledge of usage controversies, German language, and modern political history put this on the web somewhere; I haven't been able to find out who or where: [Hat tip: Rowan Mackay] [Link]

Urban Word of the Day » disastrophe

Friday 13 October 7:00:00 UTC 2017

A combination of the words 'disaster' and 'catastrophe' indicating a very serious and very tragic event. A tragedy of epic proportions. The flood was a disastrophe for that region of the United States. [Link]

Language Log » Sinitic is a group of languages, not a single language

Friday 13 October 2:03:37 UTC 2017

Pro-Cantonese sign in Hong Kong: A man holds a sign professing his love for Cantonese as he attends a Hong Kong rally in 2010 against mainland China’s bid to champion Mandarin over Cantonese. Picture: AFP The sign says (in Cantonese): ngo5 oi3 gwong2dung1waa2 ("I love Cantonese") m4 sik1 bou1dung1gwaa1 ("I don't know Putonghua [Modern Standard Mandarin / MSM]"). Note that … [Link] » The ‘Myth’ of Language History.

Friday 13 October 0:17:10 UTC 2017

This story reports on a finding that’s surprising if true: The ‘myth’ of language history: languages do not share a single history but different components evolve along different trajectories and at different rates. A large-scale study of Pacific languages reveals that forces driving grammatical change are different to those driving lexical change. Grammar changes more rapidly and is especially … [Link]


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