Blog Profile / Language Log

Filed Under:Academics / Linguistics
Posts on Regator:3877
Posts / Week:8.9
Archived Since:February 24, 2008

Blog Post Archive

L'état, c'est lui

Khorri Atkinson, "Trump on Texit: Texas ‘will never’ secede", Texas Tribune 6/25/2016: Asked what he would do as president if Texas seceded from the United States, presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump on Saturday said he did not think that would happen. “Texas will never do that because Texas loves me,” Trump told reporters in […]

"You Brexit, you bought it"

Roni Stern, "If you Brexit — You Bought it", Finance Magnates 4/20/2016. Also, Annie Laurie, "Brexit? I hardly even touched it!", Balloon Juice 6/25/2016. And many tweets, e.g. Remember @BorisJohnson: you #Brexit, you bought it — Dexit Cashin (@Tweet_Dec) June 25, 2016 Other humorous responses include a New Yorker cover: Next week's New Yorker […]

Upping our insult game

Carmen Fought observes that "Fellow citizens, we have to up our insult game. The Scots are making us look like wankers. ?#?mangledapricothellbeast?". Certainly the Scots have taught us a wide variety of new words and insult phrases in response to Donald Trump's tweet about Brexit. Show More Summary


Bob Ladd sent in a link to "Five Questions on Brexit to Jo Shaw", Verfassungsblog 6/24/2016 [emphasis added]: There’s a possibility for the Article 50 trigger to be delayed, and the UK simply to carry on in membership, and then – once the UK population has had long enough to digest the real implications of […]

Advances in fuckometry

(1/2) For those of you keeping score at home, I gave exactly 18 fcks about my Pats. Upon reflection, 12 probably would have been sufficient — Ben Affleck (@BenAffleck) June 23, 2016 (2/2) We Boston fans have always been known for our subtlety. One of my favorite interviews; hope you get to see the entire […]

Multilingual signage in Manhattan

Cameron Majidi sent in this photograph taken on East Broadway in Manhattan: Much of the signage is routine, so I won't transcribe and translate all of it.  Most interesting, at least to me, though, is that there seems to be enough business from Tibetans in this part of town that a dentist would go to […]

OtherCountries_ExitFromTheEU: better portmanteaux

Or is it portmanteaus? Anyhow, forget Portugexit and Italexit and the rest: Here's what else might happen if we Brexit: Grexit Departugal Italeave Czechout Oustria Finish Slovakout Latervia Byegium#EUref #iVoted — Alvin Carpio (@AlvinCarpio) June 23, 2016

A meal of little shovels

At an excellent restaurant in Leipzig last night the server quickly identified me as an Auslander whose German might not be up to grasping every nuance of the menu, so I was given an English menu as well. (It was a bit humiliating, like having a bib tied round my neck. I have tried to […]

Artificial emotions again

A couple of days ago, Dilbert highlighted a problem with robot emotions, beyond the issue that Zach Wienersmith raised a few weeks ago: The external evidence of "cognition" is sometimes obscure and ambiguous, but the Turing Test approach is especially problematic in evaluating "emotion". Show More Summary

"Fortuitous indeed"

Is there some pop culture reference I'm missing here? Or has the Washington Post turned its advertising outreach over to Monty Python? I'm not even going to get into the "by chance" vs. "fortunate" discussion.

PP attachment ambiguity of the month

Nora Kelly, "Susan Collins Unveils a Gun-Control Compromise: It would restrict sales to individuals on two terrorist watch lists", The Atlantic 6/21/2016. The obligatory screenshot: [h/t J. Patrick Pazdziora]

Linguistic pranks

Today's xkcd, headlined "Intervocalic Fortition": Mouseover title: "These pranks happen all the time. English doesn't allow one-syllable words to end in a lax vowel, so writers on The Simpsons decided to mess with future linguists by introducing the word 'meh.'" For the truth about meh, see "Three scenes in the life of 'meh'", 2/26/2012. Of course there […]

Pronouncing Brexit

John Oliver on Last Week Tonight recently noted that "Brexit sounds like a shitty granola bar you buy at the airport": He also presented a suitably British version of the EU's "Ode to Joy" anthem: But what most interested me about the segment was a clip of various American broadcasters pronouncing Brexit uniformly as ['br?g.z?t]: […]

Singing an escape from Foreign Accent Syndrome

Last weekend's Snap Judgment profiled an interesting case of "Foreign Accent Syndrome", in which Ellen Spencer's speech disorder, caused by a stroke, disappears when she sings — and even to some extent when she thinks about singing: A couple of previous LLOG posts on FAS: "Notes from the ESL Trauma Unit", 9/16/2007 "Foreign Accent Syndrome", […]

You aim too please

From a men's room at the Beijing airport: (Source) The Chinese says: xiàng qián y? xi?o bù, wénmíng y? dà bù ??????????? ("one small step forward; one big step for civilization") This is a meme that we have previously covered on Language Log, e.g.: "Signs from Kashgar to Delhi " (10/11/13) It is, of course, […]

English-Japanese neologism

Japanese is full of loanwords from English, a phenomenon we have often discussed on Language Log, e.g.: "Too many English loanwords in Japanese?" (7/12/13) Not only does Japanese like to borrow words from English, it is fond of borrowing parts of words and combining them with Japanese morphemes to make hybrid coinages.  It's not always […]

Gertrude Trump

For nearly a year, I've been describing aspects of Donald Trump's rhetorical style — see e.g. "Trump's eloquence" (8/5/2015), "More Flesch-Kincaid grade-level nonsense" (10/23/2015), "Donald Trump's repetitive rhetoric" (12/5/2015),Show More Summary

The foreign carrot regime problem

English translation of the title of a Japanese book for sale on Amazon: Japanese lost sight of "nation" – the essence of foreign carrot regime proble From the Japanese version the book seems to be a collection of excerpts from mostly right-wing / ultra-nationalistc writers (but why is the Japanese Communist Party there?). Explanation by […]

Transformer Trump

From an anonymous colleague: Mother Jones has an article by James West titled "I Can’t Stop Watching This Bizarre Donald Trump Ad:  Wow… what did I just watch?" that is about this strange video. The video was published on June 15, just three days ago, and — as of this posting — already has 2,726,177 […]

Code critique poetry

Today's xkcd: Mouseover title: "It's like you tried to define a formal grammar based on fragments of a raw database dump from the QuickBooks file of a company that's about to collapse in an accounting scandal."

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