In "Nerd, geek, PK: Creeping Romanization (and Englishization), part 2" and other Language Log posts, we have delved into the terminology for nerddom. In the course of our discussions, we seem to have arrived at a consensus that it's difficult to find a Chinese term that conveys well the notion and nuances of the English […]
Is the United States of America on track to become America's United States?That's a question that crosses my mind after reading this Language Log discussion of the trend away from using "of" and toward using the possessive "-s" in phrases where there is no living entity to do the possessing. Show More Summary
Whether Cantonese is a language or a dialect is a subject that we have touched upon many times on Language Log, e.g., "Spoken Hong Kong Cantonese and written Cantonese" (see especially the remarks in the second half of the original post) and "English is a Dialect of Germanic; or, The Traitors to Our Common Heritage […]
It is time for Language Log to set things straight about the Right Honourable Andrew Bower Mitchell MP. The story of what everyone thought had happened in London on 19 September 2012 was reported here (by yours truly) in this post and this follow-up. It involved (we all thought) a snooty and arrogant Conservative government […]
I love words, despite the indignities I enforce upon them, so I relish a little bit of grammar geekery. Geoffrey K. Pullum has a wonderfully nasty post up at Lingua Franca and a wonderfully wonky post up at Language Log, both discussing an article by Washington Post blogger Alexandra Petri. Petri piles on poor old [Read more...] This space reserved for your ad.
The tech sector is booming. If you've used a smartphone or logged on to a computer at least once in the last few years, you've probably noticed this. As a result, coding skills are in high demand, with programming jobs paying significantly more than the average position. Show More Summary
Mark Liberman at the Log has a very interesting post about the common origin of prepositions (and postpositions), verbal prefixes, and adverbs in the Indo-European languages, quoting Virginia Anne Goetz’s 2006 dissertation, “The development...Show More Summary
Some Language Log readers may have noticed that Gretchen McCulloch, at All Things Linguistic (see her post here), claims that certain peculiar restrictions on complements of because argue against its being a preposition even in the new use that caused it to become the American Dialect Society's Word of the Year for 2013: "the new […]
Over at Language Log, here (recommending The Penn Treebank) and here:A basic understanding of how language works should be part of what every educated person knows....[A]t least in the U.S., my suggestion would be to turn away from English...Show More Summary
Because Language Log readers are already familiar with this "most useful word in the Japanese language", and because of its highly polysemantic and multifunctional quality (see the very nerdy, thorough, and entertaining discussion of the various meanings and applications of "sumimasen" on Tofugu, "Sorry for Saying Thank You: The Many Uses Of Sumimasen"), I have […]
People have been asking Language Log (well, at least one somewhat off-topic commenter asked once) whether we have a view about the recent study alleging sex differences in brain wiring by Ragini Verma and colleagues. Language Log does not really regard this as a linguistic story, but keeps an eye on such neurophysiological topics for […]
It is not just the disaster of Chinese-English translation that provides us with source material for the huge fund of hilariously inappropriate texts that we tag with Lost in Translation here on Language Log. Spanish provides them too. And here is one from Italian. What could possibly be the explanation for a failure as gross […]
Stan Carey lays out an interpretation of the recent origin of using “because” as a preposition: Neal Whitman agrees with Language Log commenters who think it could be from “Because hey”–type sentences (If life gives you lemons, keep them, because, hey, free lemons), where hey functions “like an adaptor, letting you shift from the ordinary speech […]
Did you catch this SNL Weekend Update sketch featuring Taran Killam as Jebidiah Atkinson, the speech critic who panned the Gettysburg Address? It's really funny, but Language Log wasn't focused on the humor. They broke down one line of the sketch to look at whether or not "[adjective]-ass statements" can occur predicatively.
As a follow-up to my Language Log post on Li Yang's f?ngkuáng liánxi?ng ???? ("crazy association"), Chris Fraser sent me three images of an old Cantonese book that purports to teach English by means of what it calls "Táng zì zhù y?n" ???? ("phonetic annotation with Tang [i.e., Chinese] characters"). A few examples are transcribed [...]
The folks over at Language Log are calling the word tuhao (definition: bling) "the hottest term on the Chinese internet these days." Today, we want to know your favorite new words spawned by the internet. Is the word you need not yet flying all over the interwebs? Then now is exactly the right time to propose it. Read more...
Back in 2008, an image got passed around the blogosphere showing the Singaporean identity card of one Batman bin Suparman. I broke down the name in a Language Log post (my first after the great LL changeover). Since then, I hadn't thought much of young Batman, but today brought the sad news that he had [...]
On the Variationist List, Benjamin Torbert (11/6) made the following request, and I gave (11/8) the reply below it, which I'd now like to share with Language Log folks in the hope that someone may be able to add more. Torbert's query: I have [at least] two grad students who teach in majority (read, 100%) [...]
From Perry Link, who recently delivered a lecture entitled "How Important is Internet Satire in China?" (October 29, 2013 [see below for abstract]) at Penn: A note for the true-story joke section of your language log: My son and daughter-in-law were invited to my after-talk dinner at the Han Dynasty restaurant there on Market St. [...]
Prof. Mark Liberman (Language Log) has a nice post illustrating how the prepositions one uses with particular adjectives — identical to vs. identical with, similar to vs. similar with, equivalent to vs. equivalent with — are a matter of custom, and sometimes changing custom. Show More Summary