Linguistics

Albanian: A Language Learner's Diary

Albanian - A Language Learner’s Diary (2003) - with a brief postscript (2011)

The knowledge delusion: What changes and what stays the same

Classical Definition of Kno

Image via Wikipedia

An interesting discussion took place between two prominent e-thinkers who both agree that the 'nature of knowledge' is changing but disagree on how and what the implications are. Stephen Downes summarises the notion of changing knowledge as follows.

If a word falls in the woods...The interactional nature of meaning

It seems the Oxford dictionary has inadvertenly posed a rather serious challenge to the semanticians of the world. They launch a fun little website asking the net to save individual words reminiscent of the parrot Gerald Durrell's "Talking Parcel". Lifehacker immediately recognized the utility of such a project for party entertainment:

No fair in Bulgarian: Universals of language and particulars of culture

A rather silly comment in the Christian Science Monitor about the consequences of the supposed lack of the word for 'integrity' in Bulgarian on the Bulgarian economy recently drew the ire of Mark Lieberman on the Language Log: 

Everyone is a discourse analyst now: Multimodality and hypostasis

What is the difference between a discourse analyst with training in linguistic methodology and a blogger or the reader of a blog? Discourse analysis relies on the human capacity to understand text but it is also embedded in the social practices of discussing and inferring the meaning from text. The following example of a simple computer-generated graphical representation of Obama's speech (courtesy of Wordle.net) in many ways does the job of half an academic paper. It presents the data and lets the reader infer meanings (particularly in comparison with other speeches).

Language awareness as part of linguistic competence

'Google' becomes an official verb - ZDNet UK News
Though you may have been "googling" people for years, the verb you were using was technically slang, until recently.

In fact, many regularly used tech words are just now getting the official stamp of approval from English-language dictionaries.

On Thursday, Merriam-Webster announced its latest update, and the new science and technology words added to the venerable dictionary include agritourism, biodiesel, mouse potato, ringtone and spyware.

Rationality and immigration

English is Spoken Here - Yahoo! News
The second dumbest statement in the debate over Senate legislation establishing English as the national language came from Sen. Ken Salazar (D-Colo.), who said it was needlessly divisive.
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Wait. A law that unifies a country under a single language is divisive? What kind of logic is that?
...

Linguistic nationalism and the USA

CNN.com - 'National' or 'common'? Senate ponders what to call English - May 19, 2006
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Whether English is America's "national language" or its national "common and unifying language" was a question dominating the Senate immigration debate.

The Senate first voted 63-34 Thursday to designate English as the "national language" after lawmakers who led the effort said it would promote national unity.

Prejudice, shared meanings, local grammars and Google as a resource for research

The Prejudice Map The Prejudice Map According to Google, people in the world are known for...

Self-organization of iconic linguistic items

The Aargh Page
# Not surpisingly, "argh" is much more frequent than any of the alternatives, and the items with fewer 'a's or 'r's are more frequent than their longer neighbors.
# However, there are high-frequency islands, even way out in the long-word planes. For example, "a17r23gh" (17,23) occurs in 171 pages, even though if you change the number of 'a's or 'r's by one, it drops at least 20-fold. "A15r5gh" is almost 100 times more frequent than its neighbors.

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