Nature of the predictions genre


The key variables that differentiated the titles that had been number-one bestsellers from the titles that had failed to be were whether the title was literal or figurative, the word type of the first word, although it was interesting that the word type of the second word didn't matter, and also the title's grammar pattern.

News reporting as a cognitive (speech) act

ABC News: Sharon Reportedly Moves One of His Hands

The headline is the only thing of interest here. It is an example of several things. On the one hand, it shows how easily a person's personal tragedy can be abstracted away from the larger symbolism (Terry Shiavo last year and Charles Kennedy this are other examples).

Social hypostasis of linguistic items

The GIF Pronunciation Page

The GIF graphics file format was invented by CompuServe in 1987. In the years since, a debate has been raging as to the correct way to pronounce "GIF": like "jif", or with a hard 'g' as in "gift" as a majority of Mac users seem to prefer. With this page I intend to clear this up once and for all...

A great site demonstrating (not intentionally) how important awareness of language use is to language (of course, after Labov, no great demonstration is needed).

Towards a cognitive morphology of the folktale

Propp and other formalists had many things figured out quite right. Then the structuralists came and elevated emergent properties to the level of meaning creation. This post is an analogy in the sense that it compares the idea of the 'morphology of the folktale' but takes the source domain from cognitive morphology rather than traditional semi-structuralist morphology.

CADAAD - Conference on Discourse Analysis

I am coorganizing a conference Critical Approaches to Discourse Analysis Across Disciplines (CADAAD) to be held at the University of East Anglia on June 29-30, 2006. The first call for papers goes out today. More on

Fiction as a resource for academic inquiry

John Grishamm, The Broker

Sure, this is a great book that fulfills all the prerequisite of its genre in a way that allows the reader to probe some of the possibilities of depth. The writing is taut (although I've only listened to it as a book on tape) and reminds me of the masters: Elmore Leonard and (my all time favorite) Carl Hiaasen.

Real literacy?

Killing the written word by snippets - Los Angeles Times
Students are trading in books for search-and-seizure learning on the Internet, and real literacy is getting lost along the way.
One memorable freshman sagely informed me that people shouldn't be reading entire volumes these days anyway.

On some mental representations of personal identity

Who would have thought that a simple misspelling of a person's name would cost me so much time. But it did happen and it was an entirely my fault. A friend whose name is pronounced by all and sundry Maia or Myra, spells her name (as a consequence of Welsh blood in her East Anglian veins) 'Mair' (the correct pronunciation of which is m-ay-rr, as I learned). Recently, on an occasion of no consequence to this story, I unthinkingly misspelled her name as Myra. I could simply berate myself for sloppiness and go on to do better next time.

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