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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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?
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 […]
(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
Earlier today, someone set up a Facebook account https://www.facebook.com/mark.liberman.121, with a version of my FB profile picture, and began communicating with people as if they were me. My actual FB page is https://www.facebook.com/mark.liberman, which I don't use much except to look at things that people tell me about. Show More Summary
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...
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 […]
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 […]
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
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 […]
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 […]
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 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 — […]
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 […]
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...