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Hillary's "sigh"

Eric Garland of The Hill shares a video of Hillary Clinton at a June 22 campaign appearance in North Carolina, and it provides ammunition those who would like to portray her as a soulless automaton vainly trying to seem like an authentic human being. In Garland's item for The Hill, he took Clinton to task […]

SLA Award for Public Outreach and Community Service: Call for Nominations

SLA Award for Public Outreach and Community Service The submission deadline is October 15, 2016. Created and awarded for the first time by the SLA in 2014, this award honors an SLA member or members for work that effectively impacts public...Show More Summary

That false and senseless Way of Speaking

Some eloquent 17th-century Quaker peeving, from The history of the life of Thomas Ellwood: Or, an account of his birth, education, &c. with divers observations on his life and manners when a youth: … Also several other remarkable passages and occurrences. Written by his own hand. To which is added, a supplement by J. W., […]

Sayable and now writable

In a comment to "Pinyin literature contest" (6/30/16), DG asked an excellent, reasonable question: I am not a Chinese speaker, so I am wondering if the requirement that it's not originally written in Chinese characters is a sort of honor code, or is there some way to tell from the pinyin submission? A composition in […]

Maltese Sums Up the Mediterranean.

Bryant Rousseau has a NY Times piece on the history of Maltese: Maltese is very much a living language. More than 90 percent of the nation’s 425,000 citizens speak it at home. Authors writing in Maltese won the European Prize for Literature in 2011 and 2014. Over the centuries, other languages and dialects have been […]

LOTEs in the Election: your guide to linguistically-talented candidates (2016 edition)

It's election time again! But where have all the LOTE-speaking candidates gone? And why are they hiding? Allie Severin takes a look at the linguistic talents of this year's candidates for the Federal Election. The post LOTEs in the Election: your guide to linguistically-talented candidates (2016 edition) appeared first on Fully (sic).

Lapsus linguae

Yesterday I gave a lecture on the Bronze Age and Early Iron Age "mummies" (they're really desiccated corpses, but "mummies" sounds cuter) of Eastern Central Asia before an audience of about twenty-five at the Franklin Inn Club in Philadelphia. I was talking about a Swedish archeologist named Folke Bergman (1902-1946), who worked with the great […]

How to Create an Abundance Mindset in Your Language Learning

Are you stuck with your language learning (or in life) and can’t see a way forward? What if I told you that the solution you need is already there if only you’re brave and open enough to reach out for it? What if I told you that there’s no such thing as being stuck or not good enough? Well, that’s what I’m about to tell you. Show More Summary

Watkins, catkins, and other kin

Q: Is the “kin” in words like “pumpkin,” “catkin,” and “Watkins” related to the “kin” that are your relatives? I’m guessing it’s not. A: You’re right. The noun “kin” that means your relatives is no relation to the suffix we see in words like “catkin.” The noun “kin” has conveyed the same general notion—roughly, a... ? Read More: Watkins, catkins, and other kin

Cuffed in the Buff

Marge from Suttons Bay cited a story in the Record-Eagle that spoke of an intoxicated woman who was “cuffed in the buff.” That sounds like something out of Dr. Seuss. She was found hiding naked behind a tree in Leelanau County before being led away in handcuffs. Show More Summary

Private probably

The following two images come from Graham and Kathleen's video diary of a trip to the Daitoku-ji temple complex in Kyoto. The two images occur at 8:21 and 8:29 in the video. Kutsu no machigai ni go-chuui kudasai!! ?????????????? "Be careful not to take the wrong shoes" Kasa wa kasatate ni irete kudasai. Innai shiyoo kinshi ?????????????? ??????? "Please […]

Spelling with Chinese character(istic)s, pt. 3

Hangzhou is handing out “crash course” manuals for residents to chat with international visitors at the G20 Summit in September, complete with Chinese character transcription of such beginner’s phrases as “Hangzhou, a paradise on Earth” and “orioles singing in the willows”: Source To give an idea of how this "spelling with Chinese characters" works, here […]

On Categorization.

I confess myself somewhat thrown for a loop by Randy J. LaPolla’s short paper “On categorization: Stick to the facts of the languages” (to appear in Linguistic Typology); he says sensible things about labeling linguistic categories based on resemblances, then continues thus: My own view (LaPolla 1997, 2003, 2015, 2016), developed from my experiences with […]

Point of no Breturn

The portmanteaux just keep on coming — most recently in "Brexit's fallout: Adrift", The Economist 7/2/2016, we get a section heading "Point of no Breturn". See also: [link] Are You Brexhausted yet? [link] Not “Brexit” but “Braccident”. [link] Newspaper headlines: 'BoJo Brexecuted' on Tory 'Day of Treachery' [link] #brexecution [link] Is this the beginning of a […]

Pinyin literature contest

I wish to call your attention to the Li-ching Chang Memorial Pinyin Literature Contest.  The purpose of the contest is to commemorate the life and work of Li-ching Chang (October 5, 1936-June 20, 2010), who was an outstanding teacher of Mandarin at the University of Washington, the Oberlin center in Taiwan, Middlebury College Summer School, […]

"Modal verbs? Not a clue!"

A couple of years ago, a LLOG guest post by Richard Hudson proposed "Three cheers for Michael Gove" in recognition of his role in "the re-introduction of grammatical analysis n the British School curriculum". Now Ben Hemmens draws our attention to A L Kennedy's recent BBC 4 manifesto, "The power of language", which introduces the topic this […]

Siege lions and procedural apes

Nancy Friedman came across the website of RippleInfo, a technology company in Suzhou.  Nancy doesn't read Chinese, so she submitted it to Google Translate, whereupon she discovered a section titled “Suzhou Siege Lions Have Caused”.  That led her to a statement from the CEO that included this sentence: If the siege lion apes and procedures […]

"Among the New Words"

Ben Zimmer, Jane Solomon, and Charles Carson, "Among The New Words", American Speech May 2016: In this installment we continue our consideration of items nominated at the American Dialect Society’s 2015 Word of the Year proceedings […] The overall winner is considered here: they used as a singular third-person pronoun, a gender-neutral (or “epicene”) alternative […]


Anne Curzan has a nice discussion of a vexed problem: when and how to correct people’s language. She opens with an anecdote: Last month I was recording a lecture and had to say the word pyramidal. The passage, about bats in pyramidal cages, was an example of how the passive voice is deployed in scientific […]

Branger. Debression. Oexit. Zumxit. Why Did Brexit Trigger a Brexplosion of Wordplay?

Stocks plunged. Political parties imploded. Fear flared. Europe as we know it quaked. The world freaked out last Friday after the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union, or “Brexit,” the now-household blend of British and exit the process is going by. Show More Summary

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