Trend Results : Mark Liberman

Blog Post Results (1-20 of 106)


Down with vs. Up for: We have maps

From Jack Grieve, in response to "Up (for) and down (with)", 3/17/2016: By request for Mark Liberman @LanguageLog: "Down with" vs. "Up for"…a rough North vs. South pattern — Jack Grieve (@JWGrieve) March 29, 2016

Allstate in Chinese hands

In "Our hands, your mystification" (3/12/16), Mark Liberman found an English translation of the Chinese version of the iconic Allstate slogan, "You're in good hands with Allstate", in a 2003 Chicago Tribune article, and it comes out as "Turn to our hands to be worry-free." I found the Chinese version of the slogan at several […]


Over a decade ago, Mark Liberman posted at the Log about a garbled account of a “magical sounding gibberish language”; I won’t confuse you with the details, which turned out to be irrelevant, but the upshot was that the actual term was grammelot, which seems to have been invented by Dario Fo. A followup post […]

The Disappearing.

Sorry, that’s a garden-path headline: “disappearing” is not a noun but a verb. The, the definite article, is softly and silently vanishing away. And not only in English, according to Mark Liberman’s Log post: For the past century or so, the commonest word in English has gradually been getting less common. Depending on data source […]

Latin American Spanish Accents.

This Log post by Mark Liberman presents a wonderful video in which Joanna Hausmann exemplifies a bunch of Spanish accents; I can attest that the Argentine one is both hilarious and spot-on, and I have been told by a knowledgeable source that the same is true for the Mexican. Much of the video is in […]

Inuktitut, Inuttut, Inuinnaqtun.

This Log post by Mark Liberman reproduces a letter sent by Helen DeWitt to Kenn Harper, an expert on Inuit dialects, and his response, which is extremely interesting from both a linguistic and political point of view. The reason for the letter was that she wanted to make sure she used the right term for […]

How fake is a fakir?

Q: I tremble as I step on the tracks of the linguist Mark Liberman, whom you cite in your “nor’easter” post, but “faker” as an adjective of degree just doesn’t sound right to me. And it’s not in the dictionary built into my computer. A: We don’t see anything wrong with using “faker” as the... ? Read More: How fake is a fakir?

Favorite dishes from Al’s Place, Picco, AQ and more

Last week, as detailed in Between Meals,  I went to four restaurants and had tasting menus. This week the trend continued at AQ where chef Mark Liberman creates a four course menu for $65. With the way they change the decor every season and with what’s on the menu it really did feel like spring. […]


Over at the Log, Mark Liberman quotes a spiky and suggestive short story by D. Barthelme, “They Called for More Structure.” He does so in the context of an analogy to syntax in machine translation that is neither comprehensible nor interesting to me; what is interesting to me is the punchline of the story, where […]

Um vs. Uh

last yearHumor : Neatorama

(Photo: Elvert Barnes) We all do it when we're talking. As we're trying to come up with words to express, we say "um" or "uh." Linguists call these expressions filled pauses. Mark Liberman, a linguist at the University of Pennsylvania, has been studying them for about 10 years. Show More Summary

mark.liberman.121 is not me

Earlier today, someone set up a Facebook account, with a version of my FB profile picture, and began communicating with people as if they were me. My actual FB page is, which I don't use much except to look at things that people tell me about. Show More Summary

Obama and I, Me, My, You, We, Our

Mark Liberman at Language Log tries to set the record straight -- yet again: Presidential pronouns: This time it's Ron Fournier: Ron Fournier, "Is Obama More Interested in Progress or Politics?", National Journal, 1/20/2015: Count how many times Obama uses...

Israeli Hebrew Imperatives.

Mark Liberman has a post at the Log quoting Tal Linzen reporting that Google Translate renders Hebrew “Please return to me” as “Please me like an alien creature”: The first word ??? ['ana] means ‘please’ (though only in the request sense) and the last word ??? [e'laj] means ‘to me’. The source of the mistranslation […]

Screwball reasons and gloriously simple distinctions

In recent years, the New Yorker's coverage of the "descriptivist vs. prescriptivist" divide in English usage has been, shall we say, problematic. In 2012, we had Joan Acocella's "The English Wars," critiqued by Mark Liberman here and here. That was followed up by Ryan Bloom's Page-Turner piece, "Inescapably, You're Judged By Language," which I tackled […]

No, the Other Right!

Mark Liberman at the Log follows up on Bob Ladd’s suggestion for a post “about inexcusably unmemorable terminology for related concepts that have to be sharply distinguished from one another.” It’s turned into a really interesting discussion,...Show More Summary

Fairy Ann.

Back in 2006, we here at LH (always ahead of the curve) discussed the WWI-era Tommyfied French “san fairy Ann” (ça ne fait rien); now Mark Liberman has posted about it at the Log, spurred by David Shariatmadari’s “That eggcorn moment” (“If you’ve been signalled out by friends for saying ‘when all is set and […]

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 […]

Have We Reached Peak Kevin?

In the Guardian today, Paula Cocozza writes about her effort to hunt down the origin of the phrase "peak X." She turned to linguist Mark Liberman, who runs the Language Log blog, but he says it's a hard idiom to track: There is some good news, though. Show More Summary


George Walkden has posted “Syntactic Reconstruction and Proto-Germanic: Cinematic Teaser” on Facebook; you can also view it at Mark Liberman’s Log post, and I urge you to take the two minutes needed to watch this brilliant attempt to attract attention to what might seem (and in fact is) a recondite subject. From the Log comments, […]

John McIntyre's notes on 'Word Crimes'

John Lawler (thank you!) pointed me to this blog entry by John McIntyre, which was written in response to readers' requests for his reactions to "Weird Al" Yankovic's Word Crimes.  I see that Mark Liberman is already a McIntyre fan (here, here, here, for instance), but I hadn't known about him before. I should — […]

Copyright © 2015 Regator, LLC