Search Results : Mark Liberman

Blog Post Results (41-60 of 106)


Mark Liberman at the Log posts a message from a correspondent who quotes a news story that says "The actor and comedian span off the road and crashed the high-powered vehicle into a tree" and asks "'Span'? I've never seen or heard this before in my life. Show More Summary

Quintuple Negative

(Eugene Volokh) Prof. Mark Liberman (Language Log) quotes one, from The Age (Feb. 5, 2013) describing a litigant’s assertion: Justice Sifris erred in not finding Mr Goldberg was wrong in failing to set aside the summonses.

Japanese postcard puzzle

In "Postcard language puzzle", Mark Liberman enlisted the aid of Language Log readers in deciphering the writing on two old postcards mailed from Mallorca in 1912-1913. The result was a swift and stunning success, an amazing demonstration of spontaneous online collaboration of linguists spread across the globe. Now, Bruce Balden has sent in an even [...]

Descriptivism vs. Prescriptivism / Left vs. Right

(Eugene Volokh) Prof. Mark Liberman (Language Log) has an interesting post on usage debates and political debates; you should read the whole thing, but here’s an excerpt: [T]he insistence on regulation by prescriptive “rules”, in whatever...Show More Summary

No word for "privacy" in Russian?

Reader and fan Will Thompson wrote to Mark Liberman, who passed his letter on to me, about a recent article by Ellen Barry in The New York Times, discussing a book by the Russian political analyst Nikolai V. Zlobin in which he explains weird/different American cultural norms to Russians. Will notes that towards the end, the [...]

Weigelian syllepsis

Mark Liberman noted (as did Neal Whitman on his Literal-Minded blog) a case of syllepsis in an Atlantic piece by Conor Friedersdorf: "What conservative Washington Post readers got, when they traded in Dave Weigel for [Jennifer] Rubin, was a lot more hackery and a lot less informed about the presidential election." But Weigel offered up [...]


Mark Liberman had a post at the Log quoting a correspondent as follows:I read your article on the alphabet olympics yesterday and followed one of the links, and then one of its links, and so on. I was merrily traipsing thru the internet...Show More Summary

Come on without, come on within

John Wells, "with, regretful", 10/19/2012: I found myself being just a tiny bit querulous when commenting on a posting in Language Log. […] In reply Mark Liberman, the usually very knowledgeable writer of the post in question, said just Short answer: I don't know. I've never heard a discussion of this point of pronunciation variation, except with [...]

Do Surveys Overestimate Political Ignorance

(Ilya Somin) In this recent Language Log post, Mark Liberman argues that surveys overestimate the extent of political ignorance. Unfortunately, his evidence is far from compelling. He notes a few examples where scholars or reporters simply misstated the results of a particular survey. That surely happens. But it doesn’t account for more than a small fraction of [...]

Gov. Chris Christie’s Speech and First Person Singular Pronouns

(Eugene Volokh) Prof. Mark Liberman (Language Log) is unimpressed with the claim that Gov. Chris Christie “used the word ‘I’ 30 times, plus a couple of ‘me’s’ and ‘my’s’ tossed in for seasoning” in his speech, and that this somehow says something important about Christie. Liberman had in the past responded similarly to those who made similar [...]


Mark Liberman at the Log reports on an eggcorn that had involves a perfectly understandable reanalysis of the word intact. "Reader RP" noticed the expression "so long as Roma culture remains in some kind of tact" on the Guardian comment...Show More Summary


Mark Liberman made a Log post a while back in which he discussed the phrase "all in all":It's not syntactically or semantically transparent ? we don't say "some in all" or "some in some" or anything else remotely close. The fact that "in all" also exists helps a bit, but it's still pretty opaque. Show More Summary

“And will pardon Paul Claudel, Pardons him for writing well”

In our recent discussion of plagiarism and fake quotes, a commenter points to two recent posts by Mark Liberman (here and here) where Liberman links to about a zillion cases of journalists publishing quotes that were never said. He goes into some detail about two journalists from the New Yorker: Jared Diamond, who created quotes [...]

Parsing in pajamas

THIS is becoming a theme week on Johnson. Interested in how well computer parsers can do with natural language, I wrote to Mark Liberman and Philip Resnik to ask about the best parsers out there. The easiest-to-use one available with a web interface is the Stanford Parser. Show More Summary

Dante Updated

(Eugene Volokh) From Prof. Mark Liberman (Language Log): There’s a special place in purgatory reserved for scientists who make bold claims based on tiny effects of uncertain origin; and an extra-long sentence is imposed on those who also keep their data secret, publishing only hard-to-interpret summary statistics from statistical models. Show More Summary

Diving deeper into the metaphorical molasses

My column in Sunday's Boston Globe is on a popular topic here at Language Log Plaza: the multitudinous metaphors spun to explain the Higgs boson discovery to a non-scientific audience. Metaphors noted by Mark Liberman in his two posts (from divine wraiths to smoking ducks) make cameos in the column as well, and I dig [...]


Mark Liberman has an amusing post at the Log about the emergence of a brand-new peeve:If you don't hang out with millennial hipsters, you might not have noticed that the cool kids are listening to music on turntables playing old-fashioned vinyl records, with many of these records being newly released rather than rescued from thrift shops. Show More Summary

Big Data in the humanities and social sciences

I'm in Berkeley for the DataEDGE Conference, where I'm due to participate in a "living room chat" advertised as follows: Size Matters: Big Data, New Vistas in the Humanities and Social Sciences Mark Liberman, Geoffrey Nunberg, Matthew...Show More Summary

“In the Ukrainian [Parliament] … There Was a Full and Frank Exchange of Views on Language Policy”

(Eugene Volokh) Prof. Mark Liberman (Language Log) has all about this “exchange” — in this instance, a literal fistfight rather than a figurative one — all about whether to “elevate the status of Russian to a second language, equal to Ukrainian, in about half the regions of the country, including Kiev.” You have to see the picture, [...]

Babies and sound perception

WE RETURN from paternity leave with child language acquisition on the mind. With good timing, Mark Liberman of Language Log has provided a bit of fodder. Speakers of languages without interdental consonants (like the "th" in "thin" and the voiced sound in "this") have a hard time learning them in adulthood. Show More Summary

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