Archive for Links

Linguablogs and other resources

On my own blog, a (lightly annotated) inventory of linguablogs and other web resources on linguistics (very far from exhaustive), here. Much of it based on LLog's blogroll.

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Arthrousness

On my blog, an inventory of postings (mostly from Language Log) on arthrousness, here, plus a fresh note on anarthrous U.S., here.

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Jean Berko Gleason

From Elizabeth Daingerfield Zwicky, a link to a Nova "The Secret Life of Scientists and Engineers" piece on Jean Berko Gleason (shown with an enormous wug), here. Very charming.

My grand-daughter (now 6) is a fan of these "Secret Life" pieces (and also some short Discovery Channel programs, especially one on leeches); JBG is one of her favorites. And she learned about the wug test, though at first she thought wug was an error for bug. But then she got into the game, and behaved like a pretty typical kid her age, including imperfect control of the syllabic allomorph of the plural; kids are inclined to give a nonsense word like tass a zero plural (two tass instead of two tasses).

[Update October 21: EDZ provides a factual correction: "The leeches are also NOVA; Neal deGrasse Tyson. The black mambas are Discovery Channel." Ah yes, the black mambas. A kid with interesting tastes.]

[Update October 23: And at breakfast today Opal showed me the Nova program on black widow spider sex-and-death. Gripping.]

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Language Log is on Facebook

Hey, I hadn't realized that Language Log is now on Facebook and you can "like" it (in the old days that was becoming a "fan"). My dear son Morriss, the social media maven in our family, tipped me off! I've linked to it on my own Facebook page, but I expect word will spread faster by mentioning it right here. Someone will have to explain in the comments when and why it happened — I can only say it has happened!

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Language Log to the rescue!

John McIntyre has once again wandered off into that parodic fantasy land where usage writers and linguists disport themselves as characters in hard-boiled detective fiction. This time, on the occasion of National Grammar Day, it's "Pulp Diction"; the complete serial is here. The climax of the tale comes in installment 4 ("The dark tower"), when Language Log saves the day:

With the thunder of many boots, a battering ram burst open the door. In strode Mark Liberman of Penn at the head of Language Log's Modal Auxiliary Corps.

The four installments were posted separately, and you can add comments on McIntyre's blog.

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Two brews

The cover of the January-February issue of the Pennsylvania Gazette has a nice picture of Victor Mair lifting a glass with Patrick McGovern, to illustrate an article about Patrick's new book Uncorking the Past: The Quest for Wine, Beer, and Other Alcoholic Beverages, and an interview with Victor about his new book with Erling Hoh, The True History of Tea. (There are some excerpts from the two books as well.)

The reasons to be interested in the books, and to enjoy these two articles in one of the best alumni magazines around, are mostly not linguistic ones.  However, a couple of language-related points stuck with me.

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Sweet tooth fairies

Just a pointer to a bit of whimsical language play described by Erin McKean in the Boston Globe's "The Word" column: composites of the form X Y Z, created by overlapping a composite X Y with a composite Y Z. So: sweet tooth fairy, from sweet tooth plus tooth fairy. Examples that make "a certain cockeyed sense" (parlor game warden) or those "merging wildly divergent things" (magnetic personality disorder) are especially entertaining.

Post comments to Erin's column.

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The holiday Economist

The holiday issue of the Economist has a number of feature articles, including two that are straightforwardly about language: on politeness in language and on "difficult languages", discussed briefly on my blog, here and here.

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Liciousness

On her Fritinancy blog, Nancy Friedman has recently posted (under the heading "the tastiest suffix") an inventory of playful -licious brand names and brand descriptors, from Bake-a-Licious through Zombielicious. The -licious words come up every so often on Language Log, starting with 2006 postings by me (here) and Ben Zimmer (here), and going on with additional examples in 2007 (here) and this year (here).

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The Full Liberman

On The Lousy Linguist, blogger Chris takes on a media report on "The Healthiest Way To Fight With Your Husband" (linked to via Slate):

It's a classic piece of idiot journalism worthy of a Full Liberman* if only it weren't so trivial and obvious as to be beneath the man, so I'll take a crack at it.

… *I'm going to start using the term "The Full Liberman" to refer to Mark Liberman's excellent manner of debunking bad journalism (see here and here for examples).

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Embuggerance & Feisty

Problems with Google's metadata are a recurrent theme here on Language Log. Now on his blog Stephen Chrisomalis reports a stunning cascade of screw-ups that led to Google Scholar producing the following citation:

Embuggerance, E., and H. Feisty. 2008. The linguistics of laughter. English Today 1, no. 04: 47-47.

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Language and food

Some of my Language Log colleagues are too modest for their own good, neglecting to mention here relevant things they've published or blogged on in other places.

A little while ago, I learned that Dan Jurafsky has a cool Language of Food blog (here), an outgrowth of a Stanford Introductory Seminar he's taught a few times. I found out about his blog only because, knowing his interest in the topic, I sent him a link to a recent posting on my own blog about nouns denoting food or drink being usable, metonymically, to refer to events ("After pizza, we watched a movie"), and he told me about his LoF blog.

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Museum musing

John McIntyre at You Don't Say considers a hypothetical Museé des Peevologies. The curator's job is apparently open, or will be once a founding donor is located.

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