Advances in fuckometry

Tim Kenneally, "Ben Affleck Has a F-ing Thing or 18 or Say About His Bill Simmons Interview", The Wrap 6/23/2016.

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Multilingual signage in Manhattan

Cameron Majidi sent in this photograph taken on East Broadway in Manhattan:

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OtherCountries_ExitFromTheEU: better portmanteaux

Or is it portmanteaus? Anyhow, forget Portugexit and Italexit and the rest:

Update — now that Leave has won the referendum, we should be talking about Brexiit (3rd singular perfective indicative active), or perhaps more realistically Brexibit (3rd singular future indicative active), or maybe some other combination of aspect, mood, and tense…

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A meal of little shovels

At an excellent restaurant in Leipzig last night the server quickly identified me as an Auslander whose German might not be up to grasping every nuance of the menu, so I was given an English menu as well. (It was a bit humiliating, like having a bib tied round my neck. I have tried to explain elsewhere why my knowledge of German is so shamefully thin and undeveloped despite my having once spent 18 months living in the country.) On the English menu was a dish at which I raised a native-speaking eyebrow: Frankish little shovels, it said. And since there is no limit to my dedication as a linguistic scientist, I ordered the dish just to see what these little shovels were like.

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Artificial emotions again

A couple of days ago, Dilbert highlighted a problem with robot emotions, beyond the issue that Zach Wienersmith raised a few weeks ago:

The external evidence of "cognition" is sometimes obscure and ambiguous, but the Turing Test approach is especially problematic in evaluating "emotion".

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"Fortuitous indeed"

Is there some pop culture reference I'm missing here? Or has the Washington Post turned its advertising outreach over to Monty Python?

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PP attachment ambiguity of the month

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Linguistic pranks

Today's xkcd, headlined "Intervocalic Fortition":

Mouseover title: "These pranks happen all the time. English doesn't allow one-syllable words to end in a lax vowel, so writers on The Simpsons decided to mess with future linguists by introducing the word 'meh.'"

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Pronouncing Brexit

John Oliver on Last Week Tonight recently noted that "Brexit sounds like a shitty granola bar you buy at the airport":

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Singing an escape from Foreign Accent Syndrome

Last weekend's Snap Judgment profiled an interesting case of "Foreign Accent Syndrome", in which Ellen Spencer's speech disorder, caused by a stroke, disappears when she sings — and even to some extent when she thinks about singing:

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You aim too please

From a men's room at the Beijing airport:


(Source)

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English-Japanese neologism

Japanese is full of loanwords from English, a phenomenon we have often discussed on Language Log, e.g.:

"Too many English loanwords in Japanese?" (7/12/13)

Not only does Japanese like to borrow words from English, it is fond of borrowing parts of words and combining them with Japanese morphemes to make hybrid coinages.  It's not always easy — even for a native speaker of Japanese — to figure out some of these inventions, because you only have part of a katakanized English word fused with part of a Japanese word.

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Gertrude Trump

For nearly a year, I've been describing aspects of Donald Trump's rhetorical style — see e.g. "Trump's eloquence" (8/5/2015), "More Flesch-Kincaid grade-level nonsense" (10/23/2015), "Donald Trump's repetitive rhetoric" (12/5/2015), "Trump's rhetorical style" (12/26/2015), "Trump the Thing Explainer?" (3/19/2016), "Elaborate interiors and plain language" (6/3/2016).  Behind those observations was a question: where else have I seen or heard this pointillistic, repetitive style?

This morning, I suddenly realized that I've been Doing It Wrong. In transcribing his speeches, I've deployed punctuation and line divisions to represent the structure. But if I remove most of that visual prosody, suddenly the stylistic model leaps off the page. Consider this clip from his recent rally in Atlanta 6/15/2016:

You know the Republicans honestly folks our leaders our leaders have to get tougher. This is too tough to do it alone but you know what I think I'm gonna be forced to. I think I'm going to be forced to. Our leaders have to get a lot tougher. And be quiet, just please be quiet don't talk please be quiet. Just be quiet to the leaders. Because they have to get tougher they have to get sharper they have to get smarter we have to have our Republicans either stick together or let me just do it by myself I'll do very well. I'm going to do very well. OK? I'm going to do very well.

A lot of people thought I should do that anyway. But I'll just do it very nicely by myself I think you're going to have a very good result I think we'll be very happy I'll run as a Republican. Just I don't know you know the endorsement thing by the way I've gotten tremendous endorsements but if I don't get them that's OK.

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