Trend Results : Mark Liberman

Blog Post Results (1-20 of 173)



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 monthHumor : 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 — […]

Philology and Sinology

I was going to post this as a comment to Mark Liberman's "What would a 'return to philology' be a return to?", but it got to be too long, so I'm putting it up as a separate piece. To begin with, when people ask me what my profession is, I've always replied that I am […]

MenuWatch: The new prix fixe only menu...

The new prix fixe only menu has gone into effect at San Francisco's acclaimed AQ: ISSF reports chef Mark Liberman is now offering a $55, four-course menu (with several selections within each course), and a 10-course chef's tasting menu for...

A new fixed-price format debuts at AQ

When AQ  opened two years ago it  brought a shiny vision to the seemingly depressed area of Mission between Sixth and Seventh streets. Matt Semmelhack and Mark Liberman showed they had an answer to a questionable location — great food and an exciting interior, where the decor changes every season. Not only were they successful, […]

I saw one thousand commenting and nobody listening

Sometimes I look at the informed and insightful comments below Mark Liberman's technical posts here on Language Log, and I find myself thinking: These people are smart, and their wisdom enhances the value of our site. Maybe I should try opening comments again myself. But then something awful happens to convince me never to click […]

Welcome to China

In "Doubletalk of the month", Mark Liberman presents a virtuoso display of a woman skillfully mimicking the sounds and intonations of numerous languages.  You can do this kind of imitation with written forms as well. For example, here is a takeoff on Chinese seasonal couplets: subway, railway, highway, way way to die officer, announcer, professor, […]

How Sid Caesar learned double-talk

The obituaries for the great comic Sid Caesar invariably mention his proficiency in "double-talk," mimicking the sounds (but not the sense) of foreign languages. (On the phenomenon of double-talk, see Mark Liberman's posts on yaourter here, here, here, and here.) It turns out that this was a talent Caesar had cultivated ever since he was […]

SOTU ngrams

Below is a guest post by Yuval Pinter. Reading Mark Liberman's analysis of Obama's SOTU addresses versus other presidents', my thirst remained unquenched. Word-counts are fun, sure, but the real fun comes in when looking at longer phrases – two (bigrams) or three (trigrams) words long. After waiting for it to be breakfast time in […]

Three cheers for Michael Gove

This is a guest post by Richard Hudson, who proposed the title "The death and re-birth of grammatical analysis in UK schools". A few weeks ago, Mark Liberman kindly accepted a guest posting from me about sentence diagramming. In his introduction he said "This is a guest post by Dick Hudson, who has promised a […]

Copyright © 2015 Regator, LLC