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 » This is not a comedy sketch

Monday 30 October 23:55:14 UTC 2017

At least, we're five months away from April Fool's Day… Lydia Wheeler, "Court rules request for 'lawyer dog' too 'ambiguous'", The Hill 10/30/2017: The Louisiana Supreme Court won't hear an appeal from a man who claimed he told police during an interview to "just give me a lawyer dog,” with a justice saying the request was "ambiguous." […] [D]etectives reportedly advised … [Link]

Language Log » Semantics at the Supreme Court

Monday 30 October 20:52:50 UTC 2017

“What is the difference between ‘reasonably necessary’ and ‘substantial need’?” asked Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito (see this story in the New York Times). “I have been racking my brain trying to think of something that it is reasonably necessary for me to obtain but as to which I do not have the substantial need. And I can’t think of … [Link]

Language Log » Headlessness in North Korean propaganda

Monday 30 October 18:00:26 UTC 2017

[This is a guest post by Jichang Lulu] After coverage of dotage and DOLtage, as diagnosed by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), Victor Mair's latest Korean-themed post deals with a more serious condition: headlessness. Varieties of the ailment have been reported in, e.g., chickens and compound nouns, but the latter sense would be out of place in KCNA vocabulary; … [Link]

Language Log » Keep on -inging

Monday 30 October 15:26:32 UTC 2017

Jeff DeMarco writes: From a Facebook post (timeline) by a young woman in HK: 卡拉ok ing ……😂🤣 GT deftly translates it as karaoke ing. That's an interesting construction (where "kǎlā 卡拉" is a transcription for "kara"). My results with Google Translate differed: 卡拉ok ing –> Karaoke (though it did list "Kara ok ing" as an alternative) 卡拉ok –> Karaoke ok … [Link] » A Building Made of Soups.

Monday 30 October 14:24:30 UTC 2017

I’m still reading Kim Stanley Robinson’s Aurora (thanks, Songdog!), and I’ve come to a couple of passages about language I thought were interesting enough to pass along. The speaker is a starship’s artificial intelligence; here’s the first passage: We sense this, we aggregate that, we compress information to some new output, in the form of a sentence in a human … [Link]

Urban Word of the Day » President Toddler

Monday 30 October 8:00:00 UTC 2017

The 45th President of the USA, Donald Trump "Despite the negative press covfefe" Random User: Well, shit. President toddler's at it again! [Link]


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