Earlier this year, Language Log readers contributed to the elucidation of "South Asian wrestling terms" (3/1/16).
Archive for Announcements
I recall that, as a graduate student in Sinology, one of the most troublesome tasks was figuring out how to romanize the names of Japanese authors, the titles of their works, place names, technical terms, and so forth. Overall, Japanese Sinological (not to mention Indological and other fields) scholarship is outstanding, so we have to consult it, and when we cite Japanese works, we need to be able to romanize names, titles, and so forth to reflect their Japanese pronunciations.
I wish to call your attention to the Li-ching Chang Memorial Pinyin Literature Contest. The purpose of the contest is to commemorate the life and work of Li-ching Chang (October 5, 1936-June 20, 2010), who was an outstanding teacher of Mandarin at the University of Washington, the Oberlin center in Taiwan, Middlebury College Summer School, Harvard University, the University of Pennsylvania, Bryn Mawr College, Haverford College, and Swarthmore College.
The contest will offer more than US$13,000 in prizes for works in the following categories:
- short story
There's an announcement here for CPFEST, the first speech corpus produced by the joint US-EU funded LinDOLL program (Linguistic Documentation of Over-Looked Languages). I have only a few minutes between a student meeting and a presentation on "Simplified Matching Methods for Causal Inference in Nonexperimental Data" at the Annenberg Public Policy Center, plus there's simultaneously the Mid-Atlantic Student Colloquium on Speech, Language and Learning (MASC-SLL), so I don't have time for more than a link here, but I'm sure that there will be useful discussion in the comments.
Anyone familiar with academia will have noticed how often the high-prestige invited participants at conferences or summer schools and the holders of endowed professorships tend to be men. Well, not so much in linguistics, it would seem. Look at the list of the faculty members selected to hold the four prestigious endowed professorships at the 2017 Linguistic Institute, a large summer school sponsored by the Linguistic Society of America and hosted next year by the University of Kentucky:
- Collitz Professor: Joan Bybee (University of New Mexico)
- Sapir Professor: Penelope Eckert (Stanford University)
- Hale Professor: Lenore Grenoble (University of Chicago)
- Fillmore Professor: Julia Hirschberg (Columbia University)
One hundred percent women for the top invited professorships! And make no mistake, they are all very distinguished senior professors, known worldwide for their research. This isn't tokenism. It's the way our discipline has been developing over the past thirty years or so. Makes a feller proud to be a linguist.
A frequent topic of our Language Log posts has been about how best to learn Chinese, e.g.:
"How to learn to read Chinese " (5/25/08)
"How to learn Chinese and Japanese " (2/17/14)
"The future of Chinese language learning is now " (4/5/14)
Two things I have stressed: 1. take advantage of properly parsed Pinyin or other phonetic annotation and transcription; 2. utilize the full resources of digital, electronic, hand-held, and online dictionaries and other devices to assist and enhance the learning of reading and writing.
Whenever a well-designed, efficient pedagogical tool appears, I am always pleased because it means more rapid acquisition and less suffering for students.
All Synthèse books published before 2005 appear to be free to download in .pdf form from Springer. I haven't verified that this is true for IP addresses outside of universities with a subscription, but I think it is.
This include the series Studies in Linguistics and Philosophy, but there are likely to be other titles of interest to some LLOG readers.
[h/t Kai von Fintel]
Appearing in The Paris Review, Winter 2015:
From “A New English Grammar”
*The Haystack’s Painting
The haystack’s painting hangs in the Met;
the painting of the haystack, that is,
the one by Monet, not by van Gogh,
the rose-blue, snow-lit one with the haystack
in it. The haystack has this deal
with many painters, also Millet,
appearing not for a fee, nor a stake,
exactly, but for the sovereign right
to have your eyes back whenever it wants.
*By convention, an asterisk indicates an instance of improper usage. All titles are drawn from such examples of bad grammar in Rodney Huddleston and Geoffrey K. Pullum, The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002).
I'm pleased to be able to announce on Language Log the winner of the Literary Review's 2015 Bad Sex in Fiction Award. The award went to the singer Morrissey for his debut novel List of the Lost. And it seems to have been honestly earned. The judges cited this sentence:
Eliza and Ezra rolled together into the one giggling snowball of full-figured copulation, screaming and shouting as they playfully bit and pulled at each other in a dangerous and clamorous rollercoaster coil of sexually violent rotation with Eliza's breasts barrel-rolled across Ezra's howling mouth and the pained frenzy of his bulbous salutation extenuating his excitement as it whacked and smacked its way into every muscle of Eliza's body except for the otherwise central zone.
Zach Hershey saw the following announcement on WeChat from a Chinese student association at UC Irvine:
According to a press release sent out earlier today,
Today Oxford Dictionaries announces the emoji, commonly known as “Face with Tears of Joy,” as its “Word” of the Year for 2015.
They explain that
This year Oxford University Press partnered with leading mobile technology business SwiftKey to explore frequency and usage statistics for some of the most popular emoji across the world. “Face with Tears of Joy” came out a clear winner. According to SwiftKey’s research, “Face with Tears of Joy” was the most heavily used emoji globally in 2015. Their research shows that the character comprised 20% of all emoji used in the UK in 2015, and 17% of all emoji used in the US. This compared to 4% and 9% respectively in 2014. In the US the next most popular emoji was “Face Throwing a Kiss,” comprising 9% of all usage.
[This is a joint post by Eric Baković and Kai von Fintel. Much of the content of this post is also found in Kai's posts on his own blog, semantics etc.: "Lingua → Glossa" (11/2/2015) and "Lingua Roundup" (11/5/2015).]
As many readers of Language Log know by now, the editors and the entire editorial board of a major linguistics journal, Lingua, have resigned en masse, effective when their contractual obligations to their soon-to-be-erstwhile publisher, Elsevier, are concluded at the end of this calendar year. This same editorial team will re-emerge in 2016 as the editors and editorial board of Glossa, a fair Open Access journal to be published by Ubiquity Press. You can read all about it, if you haven't already, from a variety of sources linked at the end of this post.
I am happy to report the publication of Jeroen Wiedenhof's A Grammar of Mandarin (Amsterdam, Philadelphia: John Benjamins, 2015).
This is a wonderful resource for anyone interested in Mandarin, both specialists and non-specialists alike. I recommend it highly particularly for general linguists who do not know any Chinese language but who want a reliable, well-organized, and linguistically savvy treatment of all aspects of Mandarin.