- Website: http://ling.upenn.edu/~myl
Posts by Mark Liberman:
Bianca Nogrady, "Music preferences reveal your inner thoughts", ABC Science 7/23/2015:
There is a clear link between people's cognitive styles and the type and depth of emotion they prefer in music, say researchers.
Their work, published today in PLOS ONE, shows people who are more empathetic — have a greater ability to identify, predict and respond to the emotions of others — are drawn to more mellow, sad, poetic and sensual music, such as R&B, adult contemporary and soft rock.
However people with more analytical tendencies (called 'systemisers') go in the opposite direction, seeking punk, heavy metal, avant garde jazz and hard rock.
Doonesbury, "Say What?" 8/1/2015:
"It was my phrase. I came up with it, and I had it copyrighted. And people see the biggest standing ovations…and all of a sudden some of the other candidates started using the phrase. But I had it copyrighted, so they're not allowed to use it. Which even surprises me."
— Donald Trump on "Make America Great Again".
Here's a task that I haven't heard about: recognizing mixed metaphors and idiom blends.
For example, from Bob Ford, "Eagles season can go one of three ways", Philadelphia Inquirer 8/2/2015:
If the Eagles win big this season, they will get bonus points for degree of difficulty. The tightrope over which success is stretched is very narrow.
And at the end of the piece:
Those are the three doors, and, admit it, the Eagles could open any of them this season. As training camp begins, there is no way to tell. There could be opportunity knocking or a doorbell tolling. Finding out which will take a while, though.
The xkcd site is promoting Randall Munroe's forthcoming book Thing Explainer, in which things are explained in the style of his comic "Up Goer Five", "using only the ten hundred words people use the most often".
At the time that "Up Goer Five" came out, Theo Sanderson created the Up Goer Five Text Editor, which checks words as you type them:
From the news page at the LSA — "NACLO teams win nine medals at International Linguistics Olympiad":
Two USA teams and one Canada team, each consisting of four high school students, won eight individual medals and a team medal at the 13th International Linguistics Olympiad, held July 20-24 in Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria. The USA contestants also took five of the top ten places in the individual contest, including three gold medals. USA Red also finished in first place among 44 teams based on the combined score of its members in the individual contest.
Whole-word substitutions are a common type of speech error: "Italy" for "Israel", "competent" for "confident", "restaurant" for "rhapsody", "drink" for "breathe". The substituted word is often associated with the target word or with its context, often starts with sounds similar to the target word, and often has similar syllable counts and stress patterns. An even stronger regularity is the syntactic category rule — the substituted word is almost always the same part of speech as the target word. Thus in the speech-error corpus examined by David Fay and Anne Cutler in their 1977 work "Malapropisms and the structure of the mental lexicon", this syntactic category rule held for 95% of all word-substitution errors.
Therefore substitutions like "They provider very good care" for "They provide very good care", or "He resignation yesterday" for "He resigned yesterday", are quite unlikely — in speech. In typing, in contrast, such slips of the finger are very common. I make errors like this all the time, with -ing or -ed or -s or -er or nothing appearing where one of the other choices would be correct. I haven't counted, but I think that my lapsus digitorum of this kind are an order of magnitude more common than the confident-for-competent variety.
Mouseover title: "And on the pedestal these words appear: "And on the pedestal these words appear: "And on the pedestal these words appear: "And …"
At the risk of sounding like I missed the joke: creakiness in a speaker Chomsky's age is much more likely to be physiological in origin than stylistic. I checked older footage of Chomsky, and he does seem to have been quite a bit less creaky in the 60s than today. But more importantly, listen to William F. Buckley in the same recording! I suspect that Noam has been out-creaked.
Back in February, Arika Okrent asked "What is vocal fry?", in her column at Mental Floss. And she pointed out that
People’s voices naturally drop in pitch at the end of phrases, and in many speakers, it will drop into the fry zone at that point. The evidence that it’s a female thing is also anecdotal. Plenty of men fall into vocal fry. For instance, Noam Chomsky has it pretty bad.
As an example, she embedded Ali G's interview with Prof. Chomsky a decade ago, which we linked to back in 2006 ("Ali G in the land of colorless green ideas", 4/21/2006):
Naomi Wolf, "Young women, give up the vocal fry and reclaim your strong female voice", The Guardian 7/24/2015:
What’s heartbreaking about the trend for destructive speech patterns is that yours is the most transformational generation – you’re disowning your power.
[T]he most empowered generation of women ever – today’s twentysomethings in North America and Britain – is being hobbled in some important ways by something as basic as a new fashion in how they use their voices.
Jack Grieve on cussing GIS (Lorenzo Ligato, "Which Curse Words Are Popular In Your State?", HuffPost 7/17/2015) — it's not a big surprise that darn is popular in the upper midwest:
Yesterday ("Pinker peace creak") I followed up on Breffni's reference to vocal fry/creak in the speech of the young woman who introduces Steven Pinker's talk at the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize Forum. And indeed, in her first 40 words (16 seconds of audio, 8.3 seconds of voiced speech, 1,653 f0 estimate) I found three clear examples of phrase-final period-doubling.
But then, for a bit of balance, I took a look at the start of Pinker's talk — and found three clear examples of phrase-final period doubling in his first 21 words (12 seconds of audio, 5.2 seconds of voiced speech, 1048 f0 estimates).
Since the introducer does seem to exhibit the period-doubling phenomenon in a more striking way, I ended by wondering what the source of this perceptual difference is. But instead, I should have looked at a little more data, which would have clarified the situation, and suggested a way forward.