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Cute illustrations of chains of English word-sense ambiguities:


  1. áine ní dhonnchadha said,

    August 11, 2010 @ 10:54 pm

    wow, that video is really frustrating.

  2. Twitter Trackbacks for Language Log » Senses [] on said,

    August 11, 2010 @ 11:05 pm

    […] Language Log » Senses – view page – cached August 11, 2010 @ 10:45 pm · Filed by Mark Liberman under Words words words Tweets about this link […]

  3. digory said,

    August 11, 2010 @ 11:41 pm


  4. Jerry Friedman said,

    August 12, 2010 @ 12:57 am

    That was fun. I was frustrated only at the beginning. I'll even overlook the traditional use of a red-tailed hawk call with an image of another bird. In this case I'm pretty sure it was a turkey vulture, which has no vocal cords.

  5. Thomas P said,

    August 12, 2010 @ 1:10 am

    That was way more than cute.

  6. Cathartes said,

    August 12, 2010 @ 1:44 am

    It was a Turkey Vulture. I think the majority of the times that poor bird has been committed to film flying, it's had a Red-Tailed Hawk call dubbed over it. Very frustrating.

  7. Clarissa at Talk to the Clouds said,

    August 12, 2010 @ 2:05 am

    Clever! A former English student of mine watched it twice, but totally got it.

  8. Carl said,

    August 12, 2010 @ 4:01 am

    Anyone care to list all the words alluded to?

  9. notrequired said,

    August 12, 2010 @ 4:17 am


  10. Ben Hemmens said,

    August 12, 2010 @ 7:48 am

    My bilingual two cents: the runny nose followed by the dripping paint is cute because in German a drip in a paint job is called a Nase (nose).

  11. Jac said,

    August 12, 2010 @ 9:03 am

    Thank you.

  12. Gaurav Bhala said,

    August 12, 2010 @ 7:26 pm

    Aww, this is too cute. :) It made me smile once I picked up on the little game.

    ॐ Gaurav.

  13. radiolab on language said,

    August 12, 2010 @ 8:54 pm

    […] on is fascinating. See also the additional video that comes with the podcast, also featured on the language log, including some nice footage of of Taughannock […]

  14. tablogloid said,

    August 13, 2010 @ 12:03 pm

    My nine year old loved it too. In the "run" variations, they should have added the classic prank phone call, "Is your refrigerator running?"

  15. Sili said,

    August 15, 2010 @ 2:09 pm

    I'm not sure I got them all. I'm too slow a thinker, so the scenes changed too fast.

    What was Autumn doing in there, though?

    [(myl) AKA "fall".]

  16. Marilu Wright said,

    August 16, 2010 @ 1:54 pm

    When raising bilingual children you face the ambiguities of the language all the time. It is tough to teach a little one not to translate, but to only convey meaning from one language to the other. Tough, but not impossible! Thank you for the video.

  17. Peter E Dant said,

    August 17, 2010 @ 3:44 am

    Nice one, Sili. Several explanations Spring to mind, Summer good and Summer bad, but the Winner is Fall.

  18. Z. said,

    August 17, 2010 @ 12:57 pm

    That's cute, but why does every non-narrative video on YouTube have to have a pleasant but forgettable, repetitive, major-mode, keyboard-based soundtrack?

    [(myl) Since YouTube videos are uploaded by anyone who chooses to do so, YOU could be the one who starts the counter-trend! So why complain, when you're in control of the future?]

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