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 » Making Sense of Urban Dictionary.

Wednesday 10 January 19:43:36 UTC 2018

I presume we’ve all used Urban Dictionary from time to time and been both enlightened (so that’s how the kids are talking today!) and amused (beer: “Possibly the best thing ever to be invented ever. I MEAN IT.”). I always vaguely wondered how useful it was from a scientific point of view, and now I have Dong Nguyen, Barbara McGillivray, … [Link]

Language Log » Mandarin neologism: "appointment to fire a cannon"

Wednesday 10 January 15:25:33 UTC 2018

One constantly encounters new terms in Chinese. You may never have heard of an intriguing expression, then all of a sudden it is everywhere. One that I hadn't heard of before today is yuēpào 约炮 (lit., "agree cannon"), which garners three quarters of a million ghits. A Chinese friend called my attention to this richly illustrated article which talks about … [Link]

Omniglot blog » Come to mind

Wednesday 10 January 10:57:26 UTC 2018

One way to say remember in Swedish is komma ihåg, which literally means “to come to mind”. It also means to recall; to recollect; to retain, or to bear in mind. Komma [ˈkɔmːa] means ‘to come, arrive, move nearer’. It comes from the Old Norse koma (to come), from the Proto-Germanic *kwemaną (to come), from the Proto-Indo-European *gʷem- (to step). … [Link]

Urban Word of the Day » beach slap

Wednesday 10 January 9:00:00 UTC 2018

When one is struck and (usually) knocked down by a large wave. Implies losing something of value in the ocean. A derivative of 'bitch-slap'. Man, I was bodysurfing last week and lost my glasses when I got beach slapped by a twenty-footer. [Link]

Urban Word of the Day » hodl

Wednesday 10 January 7:02:01 UTC 2018

An enthusiastic misspelling of Hold, prompting bitcoin users to avoid the temptation of selling off their coins once price starts rising. – BTC is trading over $300 today, I'm thinking about selling… – HODL!!!1!1ONE [Link] » Our American Poets.

Wednesday 10 January 1:16:33 UTC 2018

Allan Metcalf describes part of the furnishing of a house he lived in as a graduate student in English in the early ’60s: In a hallway that I walked through several times a day hung a wood-framed glass-fronted collection of photographs of six distinguished-looking people. And though they were mainly looking at each other — three on the left looking … [Link]


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