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known them (to) and help them (to)

Yesterday, The Syntactician was asking me questions about semantic terminology in relation to particular uses of the verb know, as one does. And so, as one does, I looked for know in the indices of various books about verbs that I have, hoping to find a term that would suit her particular purposes. Show More Summary

Negated Intensifiers: Not Super Duper Complicated

They're the grammatical form to use when you want people to know you're not really keen on something. Tias Allard looks into a common English form that sometimes slips under the radar.

Two from the Times on Translation.

1) Benjamin Moser discusses the importance of remedying the lack of enough translations into English in Found in Translation: In college in the 1990s, I happened upon a Brazilian writer so sensational that I was sure she must be a household name. And she was — in Curitiba or Maranhão. Outside Brazil, it seemed, nobody […]

If you’re smoking in Balboa Park, I WILL use my dad voice on you.

If you’re smoking in Balboa Park, I WILL use my dad voice on you. If you're smoking in Balboa Park, I WILL use my dad voice on you. — Grant Barrett (@GrantBarrett) July 7, 2015 http://twitter.com/GrantBarrett/status/6185632010101350...

"Éditeur extraordinaire" ou "éditrice extraordinaire"

I want to dedicate a book to a female editor and decided to refer to her in French as "éditeur extraordinaire",  but then had second thoughts because I was afraid I might have the gender wrong.  On the other hand, I was concerned that "éditrice" might have the same sort of connotations as "poetess" or […]

Grammar in the news

Word choice played an important role in Japan and South Korea's agreement to support one another's applications for UNESCO World Cultural Heritage listing. Japan's Foreign Minister told reporters that 'forced to work' does not mean 'coerced labor'. But that depends on what "mean" means.

Negotiation Tactics: How to Haggle Like Your Life Depends on It

Here’s a secret: most people in the world don’t pay the price on the label. Instead, they negotiate a better deal. They haggle. Those of us who live in the Western world are so used to paying the price we’re told that we don’t even think to negotiate. Show More Summary

LIVE on #Periscope: Scientist does homework https://t.co/sbqP0lwP2D

LIVE on #Periscope: Scientist does homework https://t.co/sbqP0lwP2D LIVE on #Periscope: Scientist does homework https://t.co/sbqP0lwP2D — Grant Barrett (@GrantBarrett) July 7, 2015 http://twitter.com/GrantBarrett/status/618221073641836544

Tempest in a cuppa

Olivia Rudgard, "Why you put on an American accent when you sing", The Telegraph : Even while singing that most British of songs, her own country's national anthem, it seems Hertfordshire-born Alesha Dixon couldn't resist the temptation to slip into an American accent. The pop star was ridiculed after performing God Save the Queen at […]

AN News: “Anthropological Listening as a Genre” by Xochitl Marsilli-Vargas (UC Berkeley)

Linguistic anthropologists are accustomed to exploring the way speakers create structures of relevance that provide directionality to social activity. Could we also say the same for listeners? Listening has the potential to generate a specific context by listening “in a particular way;” for example, when a mechanic is deciphering the semantic meaning of the sounds [...]

Joe Chen Buns

From Xie Wei comes this photograph of a sign on a deli that they took the other day in Guangzhou: The Chinese on the sign reads: Qiáo Chén c?liáng f?ng ????? ("Qiao Chen's [> Joe Chen's] coarse grain [> whole food / grains] place / shop[pe]") We at Language Log are familiar with the usage […]

The stock market warrior-desperado's last-ditch fight

Ch?og? ?? (lit., "stir-fry stock") means playing with stocks and bonds (stock market speculation). This is probably THE hottest term in the PRC vocabulary today. The term itself is not in the following widely circulating cartoon, but the spirit of the term is very much present: Complete translation: rén zài zhèndì zài ????? (lit., "people […]

Another passive-hating Orwell wannabe

I'm grateful to Peter Howard and S.?P. O'Grady, who within an hour or so both mailed me a link to this extraordinarily dumb article by James Gingell in The Guardian. As Howard and O'Grady pointed out, Gingell's wildly overstated rant illustrates a point I have made on Language Log many times before: that when language […]

Stalin’s Languages.

I’ve started reading Kotkin’s Stalin (thanks, jamessal!), and was struck by this passage on his linguistic accomplishments as a youth: At the same time, Georgia was a diverse land and the future Stalin picked up colloquial Armenian. He also dabbled in Esperanto (the constructed internationalist language), studied but never mastered German (the native tongue of […]

The Incredible Shrinking “Zeitgeist”: How Did This Great Word Lose Its Meaning?

Not long ago, the New York Times crowned Tyler Brûlé, a sleekly sophisticated design mogul, “Mr. Zeitgeist.” But the throne was occupied: A different NYT piece had already declared Marie Antoinette queen of the ever-shifting zeitgeist. Show More Summary

The rub of the green

Q: In golf, the expression “rub of the green” basically means bad luck—as when a putt for a birdie is knocked off line by a dive-bombing red-winged blackbird. Does “rub” in this case have any link to Shakespeare’s “Aye, there’s the rub”? A: When the noun “rub” showed up in regional English in East Anglia... ? Read More: The rub of the green

"Salacious but iffy?"

In the Washington Post recently, Michael Miller covered the life and death of James Jeffrey Bradstreet, a doctor with controversial ideas about causes and treatments of autism ("Anti-vaccine doctor behind ‘dangerous’ autism therapy found dead. Show More Summary

An anachronistic paired word in Chuvash

I have written here before about the use of paired words in the Volga–Kama languages to denote an entire class of things, e.g. Chuvash yïv??-kur?k ‘vegetation’ The post An anachronistic paired word in Chuvash appeared first on Christopher Culver.

Watching the early matches is paying off because I feel like I know the players and teams and I am in this game. #fifawwc #fifa #gousa

Watching the early matches is paying off because I feel like I know the players and teams and I am in this game. #fifawwc #fifa #gousa Watching the early matches is paying off because I feel like I know the players and teams and I am in this game. #fifawwc #fifa #gousa — Grant Barrett […]

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