- Website: http://ling.upenn.edu/~myl
Posts by Mark Liberman:
- Firstable, the term “indian” and christianity were imposed in Peru through blood and fire by European conquerors.(Marxism mailing list, Jan. 28, 1996)
- Here is an essay written as part of the admissions procedure for our University Honors Program… “Firstable, to stay away from the reality of those traps that people are facing, I would be felt some classes if I weren’t focus.” (HAPP mailing list, Oct. 26, 2000)
- I have many ways to explorate but firstable, I would like to work on relations between the “recall” of roman empire and colonial theories / words / language. (H-West-Africa mailing list, Mar. 3, 2002)
- Well firstable thanks so much to you and to Wuwei Liang because it is a very helpful tool. (VMD mailing list, Nov. 8, 2005)
- Well, firstable, it was very boring. (Freshman Seminar @ Baruch College, Dec. 3, 2009)
- Firstable you have to know that the room and bathroom were very dirty and unhealthy. (TripAdvisor, Jan. 8, 2013)
- Firstable, you’re asked to pay your room in advance. (TripAdvisor, Oct. 3, 2013)
Below is a guest post by Marc van Oostendorp, who will be teaching "Miracles of Human Language: An Introduction to Linguistics" on Coursera, 3/30/2015-5/10/2015.
A visitor from another galaxy, or perhaps just from another century, would notice that civilized people these days are obsessed with the rate of vocabulary display as a symbol of social status. The latest symptom of this obsession is Matt Daniels, "The Largest Vocabulary in Hip Hop", May 2014:
Literary elites love to rep Shakespeare’s vocabulary: across his entire corpus, he uses 28,829 words, suggesting he knew over 100,000 words and arguably had the largest vocabulary, ever.
I decided to compare this data point against the most famous artists in hip hop. I used each artist’s first 35,000 lyrics. That way, prolific artists, such as Jay-Z, could be compared to newer artists, such as Drake.
Don Seiffert, "Is it a drug, or is it a Pokemon?", bioflash 11/18/2014:
It was while trying to straighten up my 10-year-old son's room that I hit upon the answer to the age-old question of where do they come up with the names of new drugs.
The answer: It's got to be the same people who come up with the names of new Pokemon characters.
The latest Frazz:
The most recent xkcd has the mouseover title
I just learned about the Slide Mountain Ocean, which I like because it's three nouns that sound like they can't possibly all refer to the same thing.
But it gets better — the extended Slide Mountain Ocean story line, known as the Omineca Episode, includes the Bridge River Ocean, the Intermontane Superterrane, and my personal favorite, the Insular Islands (which star in the next chapter, the Coast Range Episode).
The newspaper headline interpretation confusion problem is usually associated with noun piles: "Coin change 'skin problem fear'", ""Ben Douglas Bafta race row hairdresser James Brown 'sorry'", "China Ferrari sex orgy death crash", and so on.
But here's one that depends on ambiguity in the attachment of a pile-up of three headline-final subordinate clauses — Richard Spillett, "Family's agony over when to tell mother her premature babies died while she was in a coma after she woke up", Daily Mail 11/18/2014.
Since sound is just variation in ambient air pressure, you could think of speech as being like really fast weather in your mouth. I traditionally make a lame joke about this in Intro Phonetics, and the other day I decided to cash the humor in on some facts. Here are the past couple of weeks of barometric pressure observations at Philadelphia International Airport:
Ryan Broderick,"People Are Actually Writing The Word 'Firstable' Online Instead Of 'First Of All': What has the internet done to our brains?". In response, Ben Zimmer entered firstable in the Eggcorn Database, noting uses back to 1996:
The fact that examples go back at least to 1996 suggests that the internet is not really the culprit. Read the rest of this entry »
Read the rest of this entry »
Just in case you haven't seen this:
[h/t Taylor Jones]
Steve Benen, "The challenge of governing in a party of ‘knuckleheads’", MSNBC 11/12/2014:
Two months later, the good news for the Speaker is that his majority has reached new heights. The bad news, the influx of knuckleheads will make Boehner’s job more difficult in ways that are not widely under-appreciated.
"The intensifier 'ass', in snippets", Improbable Research 11/3/2014:
snippets journal publishes notes that contribute to the study of syntax and semantics in generative grammar. The notes are brief, self-contained and explicit. For an example of the content, can we recommend a 2011 paper by Professor Daniel Siddiqi (Carlton University, US) who examines the ‘ass’ intensifier. […]
See: 'The English intensifier ass' in: snippets, issue 23, May 2011.
But Daniel Siddiqi failed to cite a number of earlier (and more complete) publications, and Improbable Research misses a bunch more.
It's well known that syllables and words are longer before silent pauses, other things equal. It makes sense that syllables and words would also be longer before filled pauses (UH and UM), but I haven't seen this explicitly noted or quantified. For a course assignment, I recently prepared an R-accessible version of Joe Picone's manually-corrected word alignments for the Switchboard corpus (done when he was at the Institute for Signal and Information Processing at Mississippi State) — and so for this morning's Breakfast Experiment™, I thought I'd take a quick look at pre-filled-pause lengthening.
A novel contained the following sentence: "The tension between them had grown since the first meal, unleavened by the blond boy's arrogance." I am not sure what the blond boy's arrogance did to the tension – furthered it, dampened it, had no influence?
So i put leavened/unleavened in a more general context (supported by Google searches, the results usually being in the polical sphere), still with no clear insights:
"A bad thing, unleavened by something good" -> still bad
"A bad thing , leavened by something good" -> bad, but better
"A bad thing, unleavened by something bad" -> ?
"A bad thing, leavened by something bad" -> ?
David Bauder, "Fox's Ablow regularly 'diagnoses' Obama", AP 11/6/2014:
Over the years, psychiatrist Keith Ablow has diagnosed President Barack Obama as a man with abandonment issues dating back to his upbringing, a person with a victim's mentality who secretly identifies more with Africa than America.
There's no evidence that Ablow has actually treated the president. Yet the Fox News Channel analyst freely mixes psychiatric assessments with political criticism, a unique twist in the realm of cable news commentary that some medical colleagues find unethical.