All Blogs / Academics / Linguistics / Popular

Get More Specific:

Babbel vs Rosetta Stone: Which One is Really Better?

You’re looking to learn a new language. You’ve got a big, fat wad of cash you want to dump on something you believe will help you to learn this new language. Where do you go […] The post Babbel vs Rosetta Stone: Which One is Really Better? appeared first on Languages Around the Globe.

Pissy language

Q: Where does “pissed off” (as in “angry”) come from? I know this sounds like a joke, but it’s a serious question! A: Our serious answer begins around the year 1300, when English adopted the verb “piss” from the Anglo-Norman pisser. Although the word is “now chiefly coarse slang,” according to the Oxford English Dictionary,... ? Read More: Pissy language

write a poem, win a book!

A few days ago I was heard to tweet: Reading a lot of genl-audience books re language these days. My rule: buy the books by sensible ppl, borrow the icky ones from library. 1/ — Lynne Murphy (@lynneguist) 26 August 2016 You can thusShow More Summary

Shtisel’s Ghosts.

Shayna Weiss’s “Shtisel’s Ghosts: The Politics of Yiddish in Israeli Popular Culture” (from the Mar. 6 In Geveb) is a fascinating look at the Israeli television drama Shtisel and its groundbreaking use of Yiddish, and at the place of Yiddish in Israel more generally: Tamar Ben Baruch, an assistant director and producer for the show, […]


[These are some thoughts as I’m getting ready to teach our first semester graduate introduction to semantics. This fall, I’m also serving as acting Graduate Program Director, while Sabine is on sabbatical leave. So, I figured I should write down some points that I often address in sermons in introductory classes. Show More Summary

Tom Wolfe discovers language

"In Tom Wolfe's 'Kingdom,' Speech Is The One Weird Trick", NPR Weekend Edition Saturday 8/27/2016: One of America's most distinguished men of letters says he believes that speech, not evolution, has made human beings into the creative, imaginative, deliberate, destructive, and complicated beings who invented the slingshot and the moon shot, and wrote the words […]

New Etruscan Text Found.

A story says: Archaeologists translating a very rare inscription on an ancient Etruscan temple stone have discovered the name Uni—an important female goddess. The discovery indicates that Uni—a divinity of fertility and possibly a mother goddess at this particular place—may have been the titular deity worshipped at the sanctuary of Poggio Colla, a key […]


Today's xkcd: Mouseover Title: "The 95% confidence interval suggests Rexthor's dog could also be a cat, or possibly a teapot." But what if the publication doesn't give you the coordinates of the stars? Note that R2=0.06 is the sort of thing that all-to0-often gets featured in scientific publications and then trumpeted in the mass-media uptake — […]

Sino-Roman hybrid characters

Founded in 1858, Keio is the oldest university in Japan and one of the best, also ranking high in world ratings.  Its name is written ?? in kanji.  That's a lot of strokes to scribble down every time you want to write the name of your university, so Keio people often write it this way: […]

Peeve map abandoned

Alison Flood, "Oxford Dictionaries halts search for most disliked word after 'severe misuse'", The Guardian 8/26/2016 The #OneWordMap, an online survey soliciting readers’ least favourite words, is abandoned after site is flooded with offensive choices It was intended to be a lighthearted quest to find the least popular word in the English language, but only […]

The Adelphi Project?.

The Adelphi Project?is Eva K. Barbarossa’s mad plan to… well, as she puts it, “Why I am reading 653 books to follow the path of an Italian publishing house.” As someone pursuing his own mad plan of reading as much as possible of Russian literature in Russian, I heartily approve, and I am pleased to […]

Excel invents genes

Mark Ziemann, Yotam Eren and Assam El-Osta, "Gene name errors are widespread in the scientific literature", Genome Biology 2016: The spreadsheet software Microsoft Excel, when used with default settings, is known to convert gene names to dates and floating-point numbers. Show More Summary

Pudding and other ing-lish words

Q: For some reason I hate the world “pudding”—it’s like nails on a blackboard to me. Aside from that, why do we have “-ing” words that aren’t participles or gerunds? A: Your instincts are right. There is something repulsive about “pudding,” at least its etymology. As they say about sausage, you might not want to... ? Read More: Pudding and other ing-lish words

From Classical to Modern Arabic.

Kees Versteegh literally wrote the book on Arabic, and he has helpfully uploaded the pdf of his “From Classical Arabic to the Modern Arabic Vernaculars” to; whoever I got the link from (Lameen?) recommended it as a good summary, so I feel confident in posting it for those who might be interested.

Oneth, Twoth, Thresh

Judy from Elk Rapids asked why we use the adjectives first, second, and third instead of oneth, twoth, and threeth. After all, the rest of the numerical adjectives (fourth, fifth, sixth, etc.) routinely end in – th or – eth. First of all, we need to make a distinction between types of numbers. Show More Summary


Last Sunday’s Traverse City Record-Eagle ran this teaser in a box at the top of page 1: “World’s fastest man ‘Bolts’ into action at the Olympics.” The reference was to Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt, and the verb bolts was used with the meaning to proceed rapidly. Show More Summary

Cantonese word list and parser

This morning I received an announcement from the The Linguistic Society of Hong Kong (LSHK) that its long awaited Jyutping word list is now online.  Access to the word list is available here. The LSHK word list was compiled by The Jyutping Work Group.  The words in the list come from various sources: Andy Chin's […]

Copyright © 2015 Regator, LLC