Archive for Language and the movies

Sienna Miller's southeastern PA accent

Adam Hermann, "Sienna Miller talks nailing the Philly accent for 'American Woman' on Jimmy Fallon", Philly Voice 6/15/2019:

British actress Sienna Miller has an accent when she talks, but it's decidedly not something you normally hear from an eastern Pennsylvania resident.

For the film "American Woman", which comes out next week and is set in "a small, blue-collar town in Pennsylvania", Miller had to figure out what people from around here talk like.

It wasn't easy, because the Philadelphia accent is so dang weird, but she clearly had some help, because she kind of nailed it.

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments (25)

The Sinophone

I think about the problem of the Sinophone every day, but I haven't written about it very often on Language Log (see "Readings" below).  We have Anglophone (English-speaking), Francophone (French-speaking), Hispanophone (Spanish-speaking), Germanophone or Teutophone (German-speaking), Italophone (Italian-speaking), Lusophone (Portuguese-speaking), Russophone (Russian-speaking),  Hellenophone (Greek-speaking), Arabophone (Arab-speaking), etc.  So why not Sinophone, since diasporic Sinitic speakers are spread widely around the world?

About fifteen years ago, several of us who were interested in the subject independently started to use the term "Sinophone", but credit is usually (and I think rightly) given to Shu-mei Shih for coining and popularizing it in written publications (2004 and especially 2007).

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments (47)

Only the Communist Party can save the earth

Movie ticket for "Liúlàng dìqiú 流浪地球" ("Wandering earth"):


(Source)

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments (15)

Subpar subtitles

This is a full length martial arts action movie (English title "Sword Master"). You probably won't be able to stand watching much of it, and you have to put up with some pretty atrocious fighting scenes, but if you stick around for a few minutes of the Chinglish subtitles, you'll find them to be quite bizarre, although most seem to be just poor automatic translation.

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments (17)

"I Want to Eat Your Pancreas"

Seen by a friend of Jeff DeMarco in Sydney, Australia's Chinatown:

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments (19)

Toilet: A Love Story

Comments (11)

"Projects we need financed": Pittsburghian?

My Wall Street Journal column this week looks at the history of the word rider, inspired by Frances McDormand's cryptic use of the phrase "inclusion rider" at the end of her acceptance speech at the Oscars on Sunday, after she won the Best Actress award for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. (Link to WSJ column here — if paywalled, follow my Twitter link here.) But just before she got to "inclusion rider," McDormand offered another linguistically intriguing nugget. Here's how the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported it:

On Sunday, she asked all of the women nominees in Hollywood's Dolby Theatre to stand and reminded them to tell their stories.
Laughing, she said in the Pittsburgh vernacular, "Look around ladies and gentlemen, because we all have stories to tell and projects we need financed." 

You can hear the relevant bit at the end of this clip.

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments (19)

Mixed script photo in the New York Times

From Elijah Granet:

I am writing because of this picture I recently saw on the New York Times website:

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments (1)

Hawaiian-style predicate inversion, Yoda uses

David Adger of Queen Mary University of London is using the new Star Wars movie as an opportunity to delve into the linguistics of Yoda-speak. He surmises that Yoda's native language involves predicate inversion a la Hawaiian, and that this Yodish syntactic pattern is then transferred into his second language, English. (Or is that Galactic Basic Standard?)


Read the rest of this entry »

Comments (3)

Chicken paws and King Kong

A friend of Rebecca Hamilton saw this at a local market in Dundee Scotland:

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments (8)

"Dangal in Doklam": Sino-Indian propaganda video war

China fired the first shot with this infamous Doklam video called "7 Sins of India".  It's all about a remote spot on the border between Bhutan and Tibet, where India is now confronting China in an attempt to preserve the territorial integrity of tiny Bhutan.  This is the same area through which China invaded India in 1962, pushing south as far as Siliguri.

India has now countered China's propaganda video, which has been dubbed crudely racist by many, with a cute, corny video of its own called "Dangal in Doklam".

"Dangal in Doklam: After 7 Sins, Here's India's Sonu Song for China"

Deeksha Sharma    the quint

Updated: 23 August, 2017 9:18 AM IST

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments (7)

Study the linguistics of Game of Thrones

At the instant of posting this, there are only 18 places remaining out of the 40 maximum in Linguistics 183 001, David Peterson's summer session course at UC Berkeley on "The Linguistics of Game of Thrones and the Art of Language Invention." 3 to 5 p.m., Mon/Tue/Wed/Thu, May 22 to June 30.

It's not a 'Structure of Dothraki' course; it's about how you go about inventing languages (Peterson has done this for film and TV several times, and has been paid money for it).

Hurry to sign up. And don't ever let me hear you saying that linguistics doesn't provide fun things to do.

Comments off

Neil deGrasse Tyson on linguists and Arrival

This is a guest post submitted by Nathan Sanders and colleagues. It's the text of an open letter to Neil deGrasse Tyson, who made a comment about linguists on Twitter not long ago.


Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson,

As fellow scientists, we linguists appreciate the work you do as a spokesperson for science. However, your recent tweet about the film Arrival perpetuates a common misunderstanding about what linguistics is and what linguists do:

In the @ArrivalMovie I'd chose a Cryptographer & Astrobiologist to talk to the aliens, not a Linguist & Theoretical Physicist

Neil deGrasse Tyson (@neiltyson), 1:40 PM – 26 Feb 2017

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments (59)