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 » Guys and gals: Or, why the "Chinese" are called "Han"

Thursday 19 October 23:06:47 UTC 2017

In the comments to "Easy versus exact" (10/14/17), a discussion of the term "Hànzi 汉子" emerged as a subtheme. Since it quickly grew too large and complex to fit comfortably within the framework of the o.p., I decided to write this new post focusing on "Hàn 汉 / 漢" and some of the many collocations into which it enters. To … [Link]

Language Log » Adverbial bravery

Thursday 19 October 12:01:14 UTC 2017

From Soonish: Ten Emerging Technologies That'll Improve and/or Ruin Everything, by Kelly Weinersmith and Zack Weinersmith: Some background reading, to inspire further grammatical derring-do: "Those who take the adjectives from the table", 2/18/2004 "Avoiding rape and adverbs", 2/25/2004 "Modification as social anxiety", 5/16/2004 "The evolution of disornamentation", 2/21/2005 "Adjectives banned in Baltimore", 3/5/2007 "Automated adverb hunting and why you don't … [Link]

Language Log » 538 snags Trent Reznor Prize nomination

Thursday 19 October 11:34:51 UTC 2017

Rick Rubenstein has nominated this sentence (from Oliver Roeder, "The Supreme Court Is Allergic To Math", FiveThirtyEight 10/17/2017) for the prestigious Trent Reznor Prize for Tricky Embedding: Justice Neil Gorsuch balked at the multifaceted empirical approach that the Democratic team bringing the suit is proposing be used to calculate when partisan gerrymandering has gone too far, comparing the metric to … [Link]

Urban Word of the Day » Cynically Optimistic

Thursday 19 October 7:53:59 UTC 2017

Somebody who acknowledges the fact that humanity is crap but also believes in its capacity to do good. –Man I know the world has a lot of shitty people but I still think we can do some good here. I think I'm cynically optimistic.–If you're that person who wants to cut the next jerk who cuts you in line, but … [Link] » India’s “Mother Tongues.”

Thursday 19 October 0:31:05 UTC 2017

There’s all sorts of interesting stuff in Parvathy Raveendran’s report for on a recent translation-centred literary festival in Bangalore, from what is meant by “mother tongue” to invented scripts (“as in the case of Santali in eastern India: the Ol Chiki script was invented in 1925 by Pandit Raghunath Murmu to approximate an alphabet which more adequately represented the … [Link]


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