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…
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.
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.'"
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:
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.
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.