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Marcia Lynx Qualey on Arabic Literature.

Henry Ace Knight interviews Marcia Lynx Qualey, “a household name among students and aficionados of Arabic and Middle Eastern literature, many of whom avidly read her blog ArabLit.org.” There’s lots of interesting stuff there, for instance: You wrote about the false claim of the emerging Arabic novel, and the distinction of “first Arabic novel” given […]

Annals of targeted advertising

I'm used to getting spammed about every plausibly product-related web search I do. But I'm at a loss to understand what triggered an email this morning with the Subject line "Trending Just For You: Be Yourself: A Journal for Catholic Girls". The body of the message:

Active seeming: dumb grammar fetishism yet again

Last January 21 The Economist actually printed a letter I wrote pointing out that how wirelessly to hack a car was a ridiculous way to say "how to wirelessly hack a car," and resulted from a perverted and dimwitted obeisance to a zombie rule. But did they actually listen, and think about changing their ways? […]

Or the arbitrary cat, horse, or pig

I think Mark Liberman may have been concerned that perhaps my post "Pronominal reference to the arbitrary dog" hinted at being tempted toward the Recency Illusion. Not true, of course: even when surprised by some point of usage that I notice, I never conclude I must therefore be the first to have encountered it. On […]

Long kanji readings

SoraNews24 (4/20/17) has an article by Scott Wilson titled "W.T.F. Japan: Top 5 kanji with the longest readings?Weird Top Five? ".  Before attempting to read and critique this article, we need to familiarize ourselves with some basic terms and concepts about the modern Japanese writing system.  It basically consists of thousands of kanji (Chinese characters) and […]

Some Hebrew Links.

1) Balashon investigates the word charoset ????, “a condiment made of fruits and spices with wine and sugar, used to sweeten the bitter herbs eaten on Passover night.” He begins with the seemingly “obvious and convincing” etymology given by Klein, “Probably formed from ??? cheres (=clay), in allusion to its claylike color,” and comes up […]

The sphere of the sphere is the sphere of the sphere

In a comment on "Electric Sheep", Tim wrote: Just want to share a little Google Translate poetry resulting from drumming my fingers on the keyboard while set to Thai: There are six sparks in the sky, each with six spheres. The sphere of the sphere is the sphere of the sphere. To preserve this gem […]

"I want to God bless America"

Donald Trump has developed the habit of ending his speeches with the formula "Thank you, God bless you, and God bless America". Thus from his 2/6/2017 speech at CENTCOM: Your browser does not support the audio element. And from his latest Weekly Radio Address: Your browser does not support the audio element. But at the end […]

Pronominal reference to the arbitrary dog

Following Bean's guest post about being scorned by an 8-year-old child for not using singular they when it was appropriate, Language Log now presents the first evidence (to my knowledge) of a newspaper abandoning the usual use of it to refer to animals, and instead using singular they for an unknown arbitrary animal. This is […]

Chinese restaurant shorthand, part 4

Spotted by Greg Ralph in a London restaurant: I will give each item on the receipt in both simplified and traditional characters, followed by explanatory notes: liángbàn h?izh? ???? / ???? Note:  bàn ? ("partner; companion; accompany") has been substituted for bàn ? ("mix [in]; blend") — B?ij?ng tiánji? ???? / ???? Note:  the only […]

German Noun Genders: Hacks to Learn them Faster

Learning German? You’re going to notice one major difference between English and German grammar right away: German noun genders. All German nouns are one of three genders: masculine, feminine or neutral. For someone who is just starting...Show More Summary

Update from SLA President, Bonnie Urciuoli

The AAA announcement for the spring balloting is now open.  I write to remind everyone of the importance of voting.  In addition to the AAA ballots (including AAA president-elect), the positions of particular concern for SLA membership are the SLA president-elect, the Linguistic Seat on the Executive Board, and the Linguistic Seat on the Nominations Committee.  […]

Congratulations to SLA Member, Ignasi Clemente!

The Catalan Sociolinguistics Society, under the aegis of the Institute for Catalan Studies, has announced that the 15th annual Modest Reixach Prize will be awarded to Ignasi Clemente (Department of Anthropology, Hunter College, CUNY), for his book Uncertain Futures; Communication and Culture in Childhood Cancer Treatment (2015, Wiley Blackwell). Show More Summary

The Finer Points of Singular they.

This post at the Log makes me very happy (the narrator is Bean): My eight-year-old daughter in conversation with me last night: Scene: I am giving her a sock, which she had brought home, only to find she already had both of her socks. So it logically must belong to some other girl (it’s obviously […]

Schooled on singular "they"

[This is a guest post by Bean] My eight-year-old daughter in conversation with me last night: Scene: I am giving her a sock, which she had brought home, only to find she already had both of her socks. So it logically must belong to some other girl (it's obviously a girl's sock). Me: So, bring […]

Compounding the problem

Q: In your “Compound fractures” post from 2012, you discuss hyphenating “potentially confusing compounds.” Shouldn’t that be “potentially-confusing”? I’m not being snarky, mind you, just trying to understand. A: The use of hyphens in compounds is pretty straightforward—except when it isn’t. Show More Summary

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