Archive for Linguistics in the comics

The first rule of political discourse

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Linguists strike back…

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Chinese scout

Listen to what the Chinese scout in this video says at :43.  My first impression was that it sounds like he is speaking Cantonese, not Mandarin.

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Nicholas Wade's DNA decoded

Today's xkcd:

Mouseover title:  "Researchers just found the gene responsible for mistakenly thinking we've found the gene for specific things. It's the region between the start and the end of every chromosome, plus a few segments in our mitochondria."

For background, see "The hunt for the Hat Gene", 11/15/2009.

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"Phonetically defined"

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Linguistics Club

Today's xkcd:

Mouseover title: "If that's too easy, you could try joining Tautology Club, which meets on the date of the Tautology Club meeting."

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Take A Hint

Today's xkcd:

Mouseover title: "2060: The gregarious superintelligent AI, happily talking its way out of a box, is fast becoming a relic of the past. Today's quantum hyper-beings are too busy with their internal multiverse sims to even notice that they're in boxes at all!".

To be read along with this?

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The first couple of panels of today's SMBC:

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Describing events

Today's xkcd:

Mouseover title: "The thrower started hitting the bats too much, so the king of the game told him to leave and brought out another thrower from thrower jail."

A French friend who recently stayed with me for a while clearly experienced baseball in roughly this way (except without the focused attention).

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Linguistic joke of the week

The first two panels of today's SMBC:

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Anticipatory confirmation

Claire Landsbaum, "Research Confirms Using Periods in Texts Makes You Seem Pissed Off", ComPlex 10/3/2015:

Before texts, every sentence ended with a period. But with the advent of impersonal electronic communication, line breaks became a quicker and easier way to express the end of a thought. "The default is to end just by stopping, with no punctuation mark at all," Mark Liberman, a professor of linguistics at the University of Pennsylvania​, told The New Republic. "In that situation, choosing to add a period also adds meaning because the reader(s) need to figure out why you did it. And what they infer, plausibly enough, is something like, 'This is final, this is the end of the discussion or at least the end of what I have to contribute to it.'" In other words, because the period is a deliberate choice, including it is especially passive-aggressive.

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Participles, conveying urgency?

The first two and last two panels of today's Doonesbury:

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