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Announcement The Original English Movement. For decades descriptive linguists and professional prescriptivists--technical writers, editors, and English teachers--have been at war. As most linguists know all too — The Original, English Movement, seeks to resolve the, conflict between, descriptivists and, prescriptivists by, fully embracing the, notion that English, should not, change--not now, not in the future, not even in the past. — well, the prescriptivists say that descriptivism is at best a weak philosophy of usage, and at worst an invitation to grammatical chaos. However, too many prescriptivists maintain what is, to descriptivists, an illogical position: ... [ more ]
It’s been kind of a slow day so far.
It’s the crack of dawn somewhere. While those people get some coffee, let’s see what’s been happening over the last 7 days that will keep you from being productive.
Tim Pulju’s The History of Rome . Are you looking for a book about ancient Roman history that’s interesting, informative, and amusing? No? Oh. Well, all the same, as long as you’re on this webpage already, we’d like to recommend that you buy Tim Pulju’s The History of Rome. Easy to read, full of genuine historical facts, and adorned with amateurish hand-drawn pictures, The History of Rome is so good that even Girolamo Savonarola might hesitate to cast it into the flames. And best of all, it’s only $6.99! Buy one now! Interested, but wary of being burned by a slick advertising campaign for a product that fails to live up to the hype? Then download the free preview and read ... [ more ]
Linguistics Nerd Camp. Bethany Carlson. Marty finds incontrovertible evidence that English inflectional noun morphology is an open class. ... [ more ]
False Friends. Episode: “The One with All the Confusion”. by Trey Jones. — (Fade in. Opening credits.), Voiceover: New York City, one of the most polyglot cities in the world, is home to Tiffani—a differently-clued American 20-something who almost speaks 4 or 5 languages—and her group of multilingual friends and acquaintances. Together they work to make their way through life, dealing with the ups and downs of work, friendship, and love, even though at least half the time none of them have any idea what the others are saying — (The scene: a ridiculously large penthouse apartment in New York City, expensively decorated in a style that only a ... [ more ]
The Speculative Grammarian Essential Guide to Linguistics . For decades, Speculative Grammarian has been the premier scholarly journal featuring research in the neglected field of satirical linguistics—and now it is available in book form—both physical and electronic! We wish we were kidding, but no, seriously, we’ve published a large collection of SpecGram articles, along with just enough new material to force obsessive collectors and fans to buy it, regardless of the cost. From the Introduction: The past twenty-five years have witnessed many changes in linguistics, with major developments in linguistic theory, significant expansion in language description, and even ... [ more ]
“Double-Dot Wide O / Nasal-Ingressive Voiceless Velar Trill” by J–––– J––––––. From Speculative Grammarian CLI.3, July 2006. Reviewed by Jonathan van der Meer. ... Double-Dot Wide O, Spoiler Alert !. It’s been more than eight years, so I’m going to go ahead and let you in on a little secret: the nasal-ingressive voiceless velar trill is a pig snort, and the double-dot wide O looks like a pig snout. (Some phoneticians will argue that they themselves produce a uvular trill. They probably do—especially when reading journals less interesting than SpecGram—but ... [ more ]
Rasmus Rask Diamond Puzzle VII. by Lila Rosa Grau. This is the seventh Rasmus Rask puzzle, devoted to the original Mr. Charming Scandinavian Linguist. The puzzle is similar to a crossword puzzle, in that there is a grid for filling in words and phrases, and clues for the ACROSS and DOWN directions. However, all the squares in a Rasmus Rask puzzle are filled with letters, and the answers to the clues may (but are not required to) overlap. Clues for a particular row or column are given together, in the order they appear in the grid. No indication of the amount of overlap between clues is given. Letters spelling out RASMUS RASK in a diamond shape are given to provide a framework for filling in the answers. ... [ more ]
Linguimericks, Etc. Book ५२. Linguistics, the queen of the sciences, Pretends to adhere to alliances With psychology, sure!, And its public allure, But don’t ask what its gauge of compliance is —H. Stephen Straight, A title, seen browsing my interest In languages ancienter than the rest, That called Punic Q-Celtic And Palaic Kartvelic I judged thus: “Farrago delenda est!” —Pumptilian Perniquity, The reduction of vowels has caused vicious wars, Or is viewed as just warmed-over vichyssoise. But your everyday linguist Who’s not a rank jingoist Has a relish and zest for delicious schwas —Hester Fester-Münsterfenster, A linguist of uncommon girth Was known for his ... [ more ]
French Love, Poodles and Google Translate: A New Methodology to Build Language Families. Isabelle Tellier. There are many legends about Machine Translation. One of the most famous states that, in its first age in the fifties, when for obvious Cold War reasons it focused on English-Russian translations, an artificial device provided with the (biblical) sentence “The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak” was asked to translate it into Russian and then back into English and gave “The vodka is strong but the meat is rotten”. Another similar one evokes the sentence “Out of sight, out of mind” which, translated into Chinese (or Japanese) and then back into English, supposedly became ... [ more ]
Speculative Grammarian Volume CLXXXII, Number 1 ... Trey Jones, Editor-in-Chief Keith Slater, Executive Editor, Associate Editors, Pete Bleackley Jonathan Downie Mikael Thompson, Assistant Editors, Virginia Bouchard Mark Mandel Yuval Wigderson, Editorial Associates, Florian Breit Bethany Carlson Emily Davis Vincent Fish Deak Kirkham Ollie Sayeed Mary Shapiro Bill Spruiell Steve Straight Sheri Wells-Jensen, Joey Whitford, Comptroller General A Big Fat “Meh” on the Great, Platonic Likert Scale in the Sky July 2018 ... [ more ]
SpecGram Archives. A word from our Senior Archivist, Holger Delbrück: While bringing aging media to the web and hence the world is truly a labor of love, SpecGram tries the passion of even the most ardent admirer. Needless to say, we’ve fallen behind schedule. At every turn, the authors found in the pages of this hallowed journal stretch credibility with their gratuitous font mongering—first it was the IPA, then a few non-standard transcription systems, then Greek, and not just the alphabet, but the entire diacritical mess, and now I’ve got some god-forsaken Old Church Slavonic glyph sitting on my desk that no one can even name, and which would give the Unicode Consortium ... [ more ]
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Last updated Jul. 17, 2018.