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In a series of Language Log posts, Geoff Pullum has called attention to the prevalence of polysemy and ambiguity: The people who think clarity involves lack of ambiguity, so we have to strive to eliminate all multiple meanings and should never let a word develop a new sense… they simply don't get it about how language [...]
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"Your passport has just been stamped for entry into the Land of Bullshit"

Academics / Linguistics : Language Log (2 years ago)

A couple of years ago, Geoff Pullum put it this way: Long-time Language Log readers will recall that we have often said here before that whenever someone says that the X people have no word for Y in their language you should put you...

Linguistic therapy

Academics / Linguistics : Language Log (4 years ago)

Today's SinFest: But in fact there's more here to distract Monique from her depression than the simple question of whether to say "I wish I were" or "I wish I was". As Geoff Pullum noted in a comment on a Language Log post back in 2...

VAN AND THE PRE-HEAD MODIFIER.

Academics / Linguistics : Language Hat (6 years ago)

Geoff Pullum has a post at the Log in which he painstakingly analyzes a sentence uttered at a concert by an exasperated Van Morrison. (I forgive Geoff his lack of appreciation of the great Belfast singer; as I wrote in a comment the...

How to Identify Active Voice

Academics / Linguistics : Literal Minded (3 years ago)

This week, Grammar Girl is running a guest script I wrote on the active voice. It’s actually part 1 of a two-episode series on passive voice. As Geoff Pullum said of his 2,500-word Language Log post on passive voice, “I can’t make i...

My first post on Language Log

Academics / Linguistics : Semantics Etc (4 years ago)

As hinted yesterday, I have joined the Language Log juggernaut (thanks to Mark Liberman and Geoff Pullum for recruiting me). Here’s my first post: Justice Breyer, Professor Austin, and the Meaning of ‘Any’.

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