mcmorgan + linguistics   38

Making semiotic sense of an annoying stylistic tic: So says more than you might want it to.

> This is apparently is an example of semantic bleaching, similar to the process that turned very and really (and more recently literally) into intensifiers. The OED lists so as an "adv. and conj." glossed as "In the way or manner described, indicated, or suggested; in that style or fashion", with examples going back to the 9th century. Over the centuries, if the bleaching theory is correct, a sense emerged that's something more like "in relation to the issue described, suggested, or presupposed".

“So” also seems to indicate a connection between the interviewer and interviewed, a suggestion that the answer really is going to address the question. But often, the interviewed answers a different question, snd the particle becomes a rhetorical backhander. Compare it to using “Well ...” in the same context. “So” indicates that the response is canned, being delivered by rote - which also appears in the general tone of voice and cadence. “Well” can suggest the response is more thoughtful and tailored for the context.
linguistics  semantic_bleaching  so  semiotics 
29 days ago by mcmorgan
OED cites Language Log again: they
OED updates some senses of they, their. Commentary on how singular use of they has been used to conceal identity.
linguistics  gender  grammar 
october 2019 by mcmorgan
Language Log » They triumphs?
Because language is always political. Pronouns reawaken. Remember tis/ter/tem? A statement from Manjoo, a commentary from Language Log, and an index to earlier columns.

> Manjoo is apparently suggesting that everyone should choose the opt-out option, at least with respect to pronoun choices, so that they replaces he and she just as you replaced thou. This will certainly get pushback from traditionalists like Mary Norris. Will there also be objections from people on the other side, who want to see explicit non-gendered pronoun choice retained as an expression of personal identity?
pronouns  identity  linguistics 
july 2019 by mcmorgan
Language Log » Corpora and the Second Amendment: "bear arms" (part 3)
From part 1

> My focus in this post will be on the Supreme Court's conclusion that at the time the Second Amendment was proposed and ratified, bear arms unambiguously meant 'carry weapons, for purposes of being prepared for a confrontation,' without regard to whether the carrying was in connection with military service. What I conclude is that even without taking account of how bear arms was actually used, the court's arguments don't hold up. Assuming for the sake of argument that bear arms could reasonably have been understood to mean what the court said it meant, the court didn't show that it unambiguously meant that.

If you doubt the conclusions, you can run your own analysis on the data he provides.

> the pool of data that is inconsistent with Heller (not including lines that are ambiguous) is increased by about two-thirds, from 505 to 847.
second_amendment  linguistics 
july 2019 by mcmorgan
Linguistic purity in the EU
What? It’s a metaphor? An analogy?
EU  linguistics 
july 2019 by mcmorgan
Trump’s bizarre understanding of Capitalization is surprisingly Strategic - The Washington Post
Set aside the idea that it had to do with monetary capitalization.

> Initial capitals make words and ideas seem Really Important. They are to meaning-making what flag pins are to patriotism and gold-plating is to value — cheap signals of depth and quality that are somehow taken seriously by enormous numbers of people. (How seriously? There’s not one but two PolitiFact articles dedicated to discussions of Obama’s pin philosophy.) This capitalization technique is common in get-rich-quick and quack medicine books desperate to sell readers on the Truth of their claims.
rhetoric  linguistics  trump  capitalization 
may 2018 by mcmorgan
US federal department is censoring use of term 'climate change', emails reveal
Just leaving a trace of the accepted terms here.

> “These records reveal Trump’s active censorship of science in the name of his political agenda,” said Meg Townsend, open government attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity.
semantics  trump  linguistics  rhetoric 
august 2017 by mcmorgan
Language Log » Metaphor of the month
A finer account of language use and Emerson's analysis for the linguist in each of us. Verily.

> But it's hard to put "informative Dirichlet priors" into a palatable mass-media sandwich.
linguistics  register 
january 2017 by mcmorgan
The Loud, Empty Word That Defines President-Elect Trump - The Daily Beast
Trump's idiolect, register, memes, and Sapir-Whorf simplified.

> an administration that privileges the volume of the song more than its melody. Like the word itself, the 45th president is an indiscriminate megaphone, adding fire- and horsepower to whosoever holds his attention
linguistics  register  memes 
january 2017 by mcmorgan
More BS from George F. Will
It's not about Will, or Trump, except by insinuation. But it is about bullshit.

"The bullshitter may not deceive us, or even intend to do so, either about the facts or about what he takes the facts to be. What he does necessarily attempt to deceive us about is his enterprise. His only indispensably distinctive characteristic is that in a certain way he misrepresents what he is up to."
bs  linguistics  idiom  jargon 
august 2015 by mcmorgan
Audience Invoked vs Audience Addressed in Pinker's The Sense of Style | David Durian
"Ultimately, it seems the case that, although the text does have mismatch issues between audience invoked and audience imagined, it has still proven to be a successful text, none the less. In terms of its status as "popular linguistics" text, it actually appears to conform pretty strongly to the genre conventions of that genre, at least, if earlier works such as Pinker's The Language Instinct and Tannen's You Just Don't Understand are used as a gauge for success. "
rhetoric  stylebook  review  linguistics 
may 2015 by mcmorgan
Are 'grammar Nazis' ruining the English language? - Telegraph
A light introduction to the focus of linguistics and the Language Log. Followed by 100s of inane comments. "Despite what many people think, the rules of a language – any language – are only defined by how people use that language. When you think about it, that has to be the case: the rules of English are different now from how they were in Milton’s time, let alone Chaucer’s, and no one has ever sat down and deliberately changed them; they’ve changed because the language has evolved, through changing use. Pullum’s job is determining what those rules are."
linguistics  grammar  prescriptivism 
march 2014 by mcmorgan
Fear and Loathing of the English Passive
Hey, FYC faculty. Get a read on. It ain't gramma you wanna call into play, it's rhetoric. What we see here is that, like many critiques of style (ponderous, heavy, lively! active! wonderful!) the critique of The Passive is a critique of rhetorical choices, not grammatical ones. Your move.
Linguistic_change  linguistics 
january 2014 by mcmorgan
Language Log » School grammar, round two
Continuing loving it to death, our hero turns to implementation. English Depts are driven too much by literature and suffer from a lack of training in analytical methods so we might place the study of grammar elsewhere: "But at least in the U.S., my suggestion would be to turn away from English departments, and pursue a plan based on an alliance of linguists with people in computer science, psychology, statistics, medicine, law, sociology, business, etc., who increasingly see linguistic analysis (e.g. in the form of "text mining" or "text analytics") as an interesting object of study in itself, and as a means to enable research on other (applied or fundamental) topics. This alliance — which eventually might even include some people from Digital Humanities — is a plausible basis for college-level courses in "grammar" as practical text analysis." With this, we need a change in marketing The English Major, away from Book Club and towards theory in practice (aka analytic methods, study of text, NLP). It'll take a generation,
DH  linguistics  grammar 
december 2013 by mcmorgan
Rowling and "Galbraith": an authorial analysis
Stylistic analysis explained on the way to Rowling's confession.
erhetoric  linguistics  prosestyle 
july 2013 by mcmorgan
A Rule Which Will Live in Infamy - Lingua Franca - The Chronicle of Higher Education
Whacks the prescriptivist mole of which/that. But what I really like is the side note that White edited Strunk's original version to comply with White's stylistic prescriptions.
linguistics  FYC  prescriptivism 
december 2012 by mcmorgan
The Pedants’ Revolt: Does The AP’s Killing Of E-Mail Mark A Worrying Escalation?
Ah, techcrunch finally catches some of the Reg's attitude. The Big Deal? The AP finally catches up with the colloquial use of email, cellphone, and smartphone. One more win for the corruption of language.
editing  stylebook  linguistics  #en3177  publishing 
march 2011 by mcmorgan
myth: instant communication is shallow » Cyborgology
Good entry point to the ongoing discussion on digital comm, education, et al. "Ultimately, putting down ways of communicating foreign to you as inherently less deep, real and worthwhile is a claim to power. It is a way to reduce the ‘other’ as less fully human and capable."
linguistics  cultofamateur 
january 2011 by mcmorgan
Language Log: "Everything is correct" versus "nothing is relevant"
the term correctness conditions for whatever are the actual conditions on your expressions that make them the expressions of your language — and likewise for anyone else's language .[...] The expressions of your language are the ones that comply with al
linguistics  prescriptivism  grammar 
august 2006 by mcmorgan
Language Log: An apology
summary post concerning "email makes you stupid" media reports of 2005.
erhetoric  email  linguistics  research  scholarship  journalism 
august 2006 by mcmorgan

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