My usual blogging hour has been overwhelmed recently by a minor operation, course prep, research obligations, Ware College House events, and even a little sleep from time to time. So here are a few items from my to-blog list that I don't have time today to do justice to.
"Arika Okrent announced as winner of the LSA Linguistics Journalism Award", LSA press release 10/22/2015. Here's one of her columns: "9 Linguistic ‘Ignorantisms’ Even Sticklers Got Used To", Mental Floss 10/8/2015.
Olivia Blair, "Australian accent is a product of early settler's [sic] heavy drinking, claims academic", The Independent 10/28.2015:
The Australian accent is the product of colonial settlers getting drunk, according to one of the country’s speech experts.
Dean Frenkel, a tutor and lecturer at Victoria Unviersity [sic] in Melbourne said that as well as having origins in Aboriginal, English, Irish and German, the Australian accent is also a result of their ancestor’s [sic] love of alcohol.
Writing in The Age, Mr Frenkel said: “The Australian alphabet cocktail was spiked by alcohol. Our forefathers regularly got drunk together and through their frequent interactions unknowingly added an alcoholic slur to our national speech patterns.”
“For the past two centuries, from generation to generation, drunken Aussie-speak continues to be taught by sober parents to children.”
The average Australian speaks to just two thirds capacity – with one third of our articulator muscles always sedentary as if lying on the couch; and that's just concerning articulation. Missing consonants can include missing "t"s (Impordant), "l"s (Austraya) and "s"s (yesh), while many of our vowels are lazily transformed into other vowels, especially "a"s to "e"s (stending) and "i"s (New South Wyles) and "i"s to "oi"s (noight).
Given that articulation is a functional product of our neuro-muscular network, it is possible that our national speech impediment is a symptom of inferior brain functioning.
"Dirty Rant About The Human Brain Project", Mathbabe 10/20/2015 ("Guest post by a neuroscientist who may or may not be a graduate student somewhere in Massachusetts"). The key paragraph (which in my opinion is not entirely true, but is still uncomfortably close to the truth):
The next time you see a pretty 3D picture of many neurons being simulated, think “cargo cult brain”. That simulation isn’t gonna think any more than the cargo cult planes are gonna fly. The reason is the same in both cases: We have no clue about what principles allow the real machine to operate. We can only create pretty things that are superficially similar in the ways that we currently understand, which an enlightened being (who has some vague idea how the thing actually works) would just laugh at.
Teddy Wayne, "‘NPR Voice’ Has Taken Over the Airwaves", NYT 10/24/2015:
During a recent long car ride whose soundtrack was a medley of NPR podcasts, I noticed a verbal mannerism during scripted segments that appeared on just about every show. I’ve heard the same tic in countless speeches, TED talks and Moth StorySLAMS — anywhere that features semi-informal first-person narration.
If I could attempt to transcribe it, it sounds kind of like, y’know … this.
That is, in addition to looser language, the speaker generously employs pauses and, particularly at the end of sentences, emphatic inflection.
Michael J. de la Merced "Online Auction House Aims to Give Big Houses a Run for Their Money", NYT 10/27/2015 [one for the misnegation files]:
“The art world is becoming more and more popular,” Mr. Zwirner said. “It’s hard not to pick up Vogue magazine or an interior home magazine without seeing contemporary art. And so most collecting will be in the lower-priced segment.”
PhD Comics for 9/28/2015:
More Spanish accents from Joanna Hausmann (see also "Latin American Spanish accents", 10/17/2015):
You will notice that I am using strong language. I am prepared to admit right away that I may be dead wrong in my judgements. But there is no point in pussyfooting. Bluntness may lead to an interesting discussion. After all, no one would remember the old German Historical School if it were not for the famous Methodenstreit. Actually, no one remembers them anyway. (There must be a lesson in that.)
Stan Carey, "Fear and loathing of the passive voice", Sentence First 10/27/2015.
That to-blog list is still very long, alas…