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URL :http://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/
Filed Under:Academics / Linguistics
Posts on Regator:4610
Posts / Week:13.2
Archived Since:February 24, 2008

Blog Post Archive

UM / UH map in the media

Jack Grieve's map ("UM / UH geography", 8/13/2014) has been featured in an article by Nikhil Sonnad, "Um, here’s an, uh, map that shows where Americans use 'um' vs. 'uh'", Quartz 9/15/2014. Unfortunately, the lovely map in the article reverses the UM and UH areas  (just as I did in the first version of the 8/13 post): Jack […]

Um and Uh in Dutch

Below is a guest post by Martijn Wieling, following up on a series of LLOG postings over the years on the effects of sex, age, geography and other factors on the relative frequency of the filler words um and uh: "Young men talk like old women", 11/6/2005; "Fillers: Autism, gender, and age", 7/30/2014; "More on UM […]

Full fart

Advertisement at a train stop in Oslo: Photograph courtesy of Alexy Khudyakov "Mest fart for pengene" means "most speed for the money". From that, you can figure out what "Full Fart" means. If you haven't already guessed, this is an advertisement for a mobile broadband service. This reminds me of the Swedish word "fartlek" ("speed […]

Another casual lie from Charles Krauthammer

Charles Krauthammer reprises the lie — "Krauthammer: 'Obama Clearly a Narcissist,' 'Lives In a Cocoon Surrounded By Sycophants'", Fox News 9/16/2014: "This is all because, I mean, count the number of times he uses the word I in any speech, and compare that to any other president. Remember when he announced the killing of bin […]

At the Peevers' Jamboree

Alison Flood at Guardian Books extracts a famous author's top linguistic peeves from an interview about how to teach writing ("Stephen King has named his most hated expressions. What are yours?", 9/15/2014), The Atlantic’s fantastic interview on teaching, writing and reading with Stephen King is well worth reading in full. [...] But perhaps the most interesting part is […]

Oh my melon!

Bryan Van Norden is a Visiting Professor at Wuhan University this semester, and he ran across an interesting bit of language play. Below is a still (taken with his cell phone) of a television commercial currently running in the PRC. It is for a watermelon juice drink. As you can see, the tag line is […]

The paucity of curse words in Japanese, chapter 2

[Guest post by Bob Ramsey] I’ve been thinking about this subject for more than thirty years. It started for me back in the late 70s. Back then, Herb Passin, who was at the time a professor of sociology at Columbia (remember him?), published a series of articles on language subjects in a popular Japanese magazine, […]

Returning to from A to B

From D.D.: I'm a 30-yr NYC resident, and I've been speaking American English all my life, more than 50 years now. Even so, I had a hell of a time parsing the prepositions in this headline: Someone at Newsday apparently had the same experience, because the online version of the headline now reads "R train […]

Spit(ting| and) images

Bob Moore was taken aback by "spit and image" in Frank Bruni's 9/9/2014 NYT Op-Ed, and wondered whether it was an eggcorn for "spitting image": I worry about the combustible tension between our abysmal regard for the Congress that we’ve got and a near certainty that the Congress we’re about to get will be its […]

Applenese2

In "Applenese", we examined the Chinese translations from the Mainland, Taiwan, and Hong Kong of this Apple advertising slogan for Mother's Day last spring:  "A gift Mom will love opening. Again and again." Now let's see what is done with the new Apple campaign for the iPhone 6, "Bigger than bigger",  in Chinese and other […]

"Quasiregularity and its discontents"

Suggestion for your weekend reading: Mark Seidenberg and David Plaut, "Quasiregularity and Its Discontents: The Legacy of the Past Tense Debate", Cognitive Science 2014. The abstract: Rumelhart and McClelland’s chapter about learning the past tense created a degree of controversy extraordinary even in the adversarial culture of modern science. Show More Summary

Whoa be tide

Ruth Blatt, "The Lean And Mean Led Zeppelin Organization", Forbes 9/6/2014: The Zeppelin organization was small by today’s standards, with a crew of only about 15 people traveling with the band. The band itself would arrive 30 minutes before a show. “They would turn up and they would go in the dressing room. There was no […]

Fan-fold ticket stock nerdview

We have not discussed any examples of nerdview on Language Log for a while. But Bob Ladd told me of one the other day. He was at the Edinburgh Airport dropping someone off, and pulled up next to the ticket dispensing machine for the short-stay car park. He pushed the button, but no ticket appeared. […]

Applenese

I remember Apple's Mother's Day advertising campaign for the iPad Air and iPad mini last spring:  "A gift Mom will love opening. Again and again." I only found out yesterday, in this article, that the Mainland Chinese translation of this tagline is the following: Ràng m?m? k?ix?n de l?wù, k?ile yòu k?i. ????????,????. The grammar […]

Envisioning Real (-ity TV) Utopias

I suspect that this (Alessandra Stanley, "A World, From Scratch: In 'Utopia,' on Fox, Real People Build an Unreal World", NYT 9/8/2014) is not what Eric Olin Wright had in mind. Wright's "Guidelines for Envisioning Real Utopias" (Soundings, 2007) laid out "five guidelines for these kinds of discussions of emancipatory alternatives to the existing social […]

The second life of a Language Log comment

More than four years ago, on Aug. 23, 2010, Doctor Science left the following comment on a post by Mark Liberman, "Cell phone cupertinos": I'm pretty sure I saw something several years ago about a whole dialect (argot? jargon? slang?) that had developed among young people in Japan (or possibly some other Asian country), based […]

The grammar of "Better Together"

The official name of the organization campaigning for a No vote in the upcoming Scottish independence referendum is "Better Together." That phrase was originally the campaign's main slogan. Much has been written in recent days about the campaign's evident signs of panic, but no one has commented on the stupidity of "Better Together" as a […]

Interview technique

From "President Obama's Full Interview With NBC's Chuck Todd", NBC News (Meet The Press) 9/7/2014 Speaker Time Transcript Obama: 0:40-0:50 uh ISIL poses a broader threat uh because of its territorial ambitions in uh Iraq a- and Syria, but the good news is … Obama: 3:45-4:00 And we've seen the savagery uh not just in terms […]

Is English a "writer-responsible language" and Chinese, Korean, and Japanese "reader-responsible languages"?

These are totally new concepts for me.  Until David Cragin told me about them, I had never heard of reader-responsible language and writer-responsible language. Dave works for Merck in the Safety & Environment group, knows Mandarin, has been to China 12 times since 2005, and teaches a short course on risk assessment and critical thinking […]

Transitive marvel wonders reader

From J.M.: Am I misreading this cryptic headline (I do confess my severe deficiency of "urban cool"), or has "marvel" become a transitive verb, a synonym for "amaze"? "Rihanna front row as Wang urban cool marvels New York", AFP 9/7/2014. In fact, this is Old (well, at least Middle or Early Modern English) News. From the […]

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