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 » Of armaments and Old Sinitic reconstructions, part 6

Saturday 23 December 19:34:55 UTC 2017

From March through July of 2016, we had a long-running series of posts comparing words in Indo-European and in Old Sinitic (OS), See especially the first item in this series, and don't miss the comments to all of the posts: “Of precious swords and Old Sinitic reconstructions” (3/8/16) “Of precious swords and Old Sinitic reconstructions, part 2” (3/12/16) “Of precious … [Link]

Language Log » Zebra finch self-tutoring

Saturday 23 December 16:19:00 UTC 2017

Sometimes a new experimental result suggests a very different way of interpreting older results. On a visit a couple of days ago to Ofer Tchernichovski's lab at Hunter College, I encountered a striking example of this effect. The background is the experimental literature on zebra finch song learning. If one of these birds is raised in acoustic and social isolation, … [Link]

Wordorigins.org » 2017 Words of the Year (WOTY)

Saturday 23 December 14:07:00 UTC 2017

As I did last year, and on occasion before that, I’ve come up with a list of words of the year. I do things a bit differently than other such lists in that I select twelve terms, one for each month. Since similar lists often exhibit a bias toward words that were in vogue at the end of the year … [Link]

Urban Word of the Day » SMIDSY

Saturday 23 December 9:00:00 UTC 2017

An acronym – "Sorry Mate, I Didn't See You" is a common excuse given by cagers in car-motorcycle accidents. I had my first smidsy yesterday at the junction.. [Link]

Language Log » Annals of ambiguity

Saturday 23 December 8:38:58 UTC 2017

Michelle Goldberg, "Fifty Shades of Orange", NYT 12/22/2017: At a televised cabinet meeting on Wednesday, Donald Trump, as is his custom, called on his appointees to publicly praise him. In a performance that would have embarrassed the most obsequious lackey of the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, Vice President Mike Pence delivered an encomium to his boss, who sat across … [Link]

languagehat.com » Oachkazlschwoaf.

Saturday 23 December 1:15:33 UTC 2017

OK, this is just a silly little squib, but it amuses me and I’m sharing it: “Oachkatzl” (Eichhörnchen=squirrel) and “Schwoaf” (Schweif=tail) are words that are used to test whether you qualify as a native speaker of Bavarian/Austrian dialect. They were a hugely popular way of testing and teasing the US occupation forces after the Second World War. In Bavaria anyone … [Link]

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