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 » Translating Trump

Friday 12 January 18:32:03 UTC 2018

Whether he really said it or not — "Trump appears to deny using 'shithole' language" (POLITICO [1/12/18]), see also here — "shithole" is already part of the ever-burgeoning scatalogical lore surrounding President Trump, so people have to deal with it, including translating this colorful term into other languages. Via Twitter, here are some early stabs at how to handle "shithole … [Link]

Language Log » "Experience is different"

Friday 12 January 15:30:32 UTC 2018

Zoe Williams, "With the NHS, reality has finally caught up with Theresa May", The Guardian 1/8/2018 [emphasis added]: “If you look across the NHS, experience is different,” the prime minister flailed, as if the fact there wasn’t a stroke victim waiting for four hours in an ambulance outside every hospital was proof of her competence. “Experience is different,” she repeated, … [Link] » New New York Times.

Friday 12 January 15:00:56 UTC 2018

Simple but brilliant: this Twitter feed automatically posts any word that the NY Times uses for the first time. Latest entry: kilimologist (if you click on the word, you get the context, in this case “Batki is a self-proclaimed kilimologist, an expert in old weavin…”). You also get the occasional typo (“attacthed”), which is fun as well. Thanks, Trevor! [Link]

Omniglot blog » Baliffs, Catchpoles and Tipstaves

Friday 12 January 12:48:47 UTC 2018

Yesterday I learnt an interesting French word – huissier [ɥi.sje], which means baliff, usher, process server, catchpole or tipstaff. It is an abbreviation of huissier de justice, an officer of the court who serves process and notices, seizes and auctions off property, and executes garnishments, levies, and evictions. It comes from the Vulgar Latin *ustiārius, from ostiārius (porter, doorman), from … [Link]

Urban Word of the Day » Shithole

Friday 12 January 9:00:00 UTC 2018

Trump’s mouth, often a place from whence great amounts of shit spews. I see Trump’s shithole is at it on Twitter again. [Link]

Language Log » The Last Lesson — in Mongolian

Friday 12 January 4:39:46 UTC 2018

The Chinese government has prohibited Mongolian language instruction in all schools in the Mongolian areas of Xinjiang: "Southern Mongolia: Instruction in Mongolian Language Banned in All Schools", Unrepresented Nations & Peoples Organization (1/3/18). The last school in the so-called Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region to provide education in the Mongolian language, the Bayangol No. 3 High School, has banned its usage … [Link] » The Rise of Doggo.

Friday 12 January 1:19:20 UTC 2018

Andrea Valdez has a nice write-up for Wired about a modish word that makes people smile: The only way to explain the reaction to Merriam-Webster’s year-end announcement that “doggo” was one of the dictionary’s “Words We’re Watching” is to use another colloquialism: Twitter lost its damn mind. It wasn’t the first time Merriam, the hippest dictionary that ever was (sorry, … [Link]


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