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 » Kertbeny.

Saturday 11 November 23:13:44 UTC 2017

I was reading a review in the TLS when I came across the assertion that “In 1869 — an annus mirabilis for sexology, the ‘scientific’ study of sex — the German-born Hungarian nationalist Karl-Maria Kertbeny (born Benkert) coined the term ‘homosexual.’” I had two questions about this: what’s the deal with “Kertbeny (born Benkert),” and did he really coin that … [Link]

Language Log » Record-high operatic pitch?

Saturday 11 November 18:39:49 UTC 2017

Zachary Woolfe, "Hyper-High Notes", NYT 11/10/2017: I wrote this week about the highest note in the history of the Metropolitan Opera, an A above high C currently being sung by Audrey Luna in Thomas Adès’s “The Exterminating Angel.” In my brief rundown of high-note history, I referred to the French soprano Mado Robin “shrilling” up to a high B flat; … [Link]

Language Log » Ask paanwalla for direction: be Indian

Saturday 11 November 15:54:25 UTC 2017

From (Twitter images): Found this delightful definition of "paanwala" on BRF Dictionary: This may also be spelled as "paanwallah". Literally taken, this means "betel leaf seller". It is composed of two Hindi words, "Paan", which means "betel leaf" and "wala" (or "wallah") which means "person associated with". Betel leaf and areca nut is a common breath freshener in India … [Link]

Omniglot blog » Ladders and Schools

Saturday 11 November 12:19:55 UTC 2017

Ysgol ac ysgol - a school and a ladder How are ladders and schools connected? Well, in Welsh there is one word that means both ladder and school: ysgol [ˈəsgɔl]. The word ysgol, meaning ladder, comes from the Middle Welsh yscawl [ˈәsgaul] (ladder), from Latin scāla (ladder, stairs), from scandō (I climb, ascend, mount), from the the Proto-Indo-European *skend- (to jump). Related words include: – ysgol do/grib = roof-ladder … [Link]

Urban Word of the Day » Smartphone dead leg

Saturday 11 November 8:00:00 UTC 2017

The loss of feeling in the legs due to prolonged smartphone use whilst sitting down, in particular on the toilet. "Whoa candy crush just gave me mad smartphone dead leg on that last poo break!" [Link]


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