Monthly Archives: January 2005

It’s a pretty small rent

bq. It seems that at Stanford — and for that matter at Penn — you can go through an entire undergraduate and graduate program in English without ever learning anything about the analysis of language. Think about it: you can

Posted in Linguistics


I’ve updated this WordPress installation to automatically add the rel=”nofollow” tag to any links in the comments. This is part of an attempt by Google and the other search engines to change the economics of comment spam and discourage the

Posted in General

Well pierce my ears and call me drafty

Over at Language Log, Mark Liberman discusses the pattern _change my state_ and call me _a name appropriate given the change_, and states bq. And I’m not sure whether the preposition (up or down in the cited examples) is obligatory

Posted in Linguistics, Wordplay

Laughing Japanese-style

Language Log: “Ho ho ho”, she laughed in a refined feminine way: bq. In Japanese manga, (according to the first link above), “masculine laughter” is “ha ha ha” or “ahahaha”, whereas “refined feminine laughter” is “ho ho ho”. This seems

Posted in General, Languages

New King Alfred’s

Wormtalk and Slugspeak has announced a new version of his “King Alfred’s Grammar”:, that eliminates the need for a special font download for letters like ð and þ

Posted in Languages

Language Log: Buffaloing buffalo

Since I mentioned Buffalo buffalo recently, I thought I’d point out what Language Log has to say: Language Log: Buffaloing buffalo bq. I will give you just one example, the case of strings consisting entirely of repetitions of the word

Posted in General, Linguistics


I really like the way that the Textile2 plugin for WordPress lets you do footnotes easily, but I just noticed that the way that it writes the html for them, when multiple posts appear on a page the links in

Posted in General

I never noticed

From Wormtalk and Slugspeak: bq. An inconsistency or error in Susan Cooper’s _The Dark is Rising_ bq. Compare the following: bq. Gwen and Margaret came stumbling together out of the bedroom they shared, wearing nightdresses, rubbing their eyes. “There’s no

Posted in General

How Historical Linguistics demonstrates that Intelligent Design isn’t science

In Trask’s _Historical Linguistics_ there’s a very illuminating discussion (pp 78-82) of changes in phonological systems, in particular of Latin rhotacization–the change from an intervocalic /s/ to intervocalic /r/. There were several stages to this change, and the change was

Posted in Linguistics, Science

And So Don’t I!

The X-Bar: …And So Don’t I bq. One recent item was the use of “and so don’t I” as a positive response to a positive statement (or as a tag). My student’s informant was a Scranton, PA, native, and another

Posted in Linguistics