robertogreco + linguistics   210

David Bowles – Medium
[via: Mexican X Part X: What the Hex a ‘Latinx’?
https://blog.usejournal.com/mexican-x-part-x-what-the-hex-a-latinx-706b64dafe22 ]

[some of the contents:

Mexican X Part I: Why Is México Pronounced Méjico?
https://medium.com/@davidbowles/why-is-m%C3%A9xico-pronounced-m%C3%A9jico-266278c73e11

Mexican X Part II: ¡Hijo de su Mexica Equis!
https://medium.com/@davidbowles/mexican-x-part-ii-hijo-de-su-mexica-equis-76342d845176

Mexican X Part III: Dude, Where’s My Xocolate?
https://medium.com/@davidbowles/mexican-x-part-iii-dude-wheres-my-xocolate-b7998439b111

Mexican X Part IV: You Say “Tomato,” I Say You’re Missing a Syllable, Bro!
https://medium.com/@davidbowles/mexican-x-part-iv-you-say-tomato-i-say-youre-missing-a-syllable-bro-1f002f4f110c

Mexican X Part V: Rise of the Bruxa
https://medium.com/@davidbowles/mexican-x-part-v-rise-of-the-bruxa-df3d2b2abc4f

Mexican X Part VI: And the Xicanos, Ese?
https://medium.com/@davidbowles/mexican-x-part-vi-and-the-xicanos-ese-91534614ad1c

Mexican X Part VII: The Curse of Malinalxochitl
https://medium.com/@davidbowles/mexican-x-part-vii-the-curse-of-malinalxochitl-71be0cde6e95

Mexican X Part VIII: ¿Qué Onda, Xavo?
https://medium.com/@davidbowles/mexican-x-part-viii-qu%C3%A9-onda-xavo-4f46c7ad674c

Mexican X Part IX: True Chiefs and False Friends in Texas
https://medium.com/@davidbowles/mexican-x-part-ix-true-chiefs-and-false-friends-in-texas-5e8763b10db9

Mexican X Part X: What the Hex a ‘Latinx’?
https://blog.usejournal.com/mexican-x-part-x-what-the-hex-a-latinx-706b64dafe22

Mexican X Part XI: Rise of a New X
https://medium.com/@davidbowles/mexican-x-part-xi-rise-of-a-new-x-4c30c0f74ad8

Mexican X Part XII: Xochihuah and Queer Aztecs
https://medium.com/@davidbowles/mexican-x-part-xii-what-did-a-xochihuah-possess-3784532d8023



Mexican X-plainer: Tolkien, Sephardim, and Northern Mexican Spanish
https://medium.com/@davidbowles/mexican-x-plainer-tolkien-sephardim-and-northern-mexican-spanish-e7235c0f9585

Mexican X-plainer: Tacos, Not Tlahcos
https://medium.com/@davidbowles/mexican-x-plainer-tacos-not-tlahcos-62f7a72826fb

Mexican X-plainer: Al-Andalus & the Flour Tortilla
https://medium.com/@davidbowles/mexican-x-plainer-al-andalus-and-the-flour-tortil-5a7d10346b8f

Mexican X-plainer: Is “Cigarette” Mayan?
https://medium.com/@davidbowles/mexican-x-plainer-is-cigarette-mayan-771475b58dce

Mexican X-plainer: The Aztec Calendar(s)
https://medium.com/@davidbowles/mexican-x-plainer-the-aztec-calendar-s-8a7757bf8389

Mexican X-Plainer: Mustachioed Racists?
https://medium.com/@davidbowles/mexican-x-plainer-mustachioed-racists-800644589804

Mexican X-plainer: Balls, Nuts & Avocados
https://medium.com/@davidbowles/mexican-x-plainer-balls-nuts-avocados-6611eab0a64f

Mexican X-plainer: Chiclets & Aztecs
https://medium.com/@davidbowles/mexican-x-plainer-chiclets-smacking-gum-cf204c6d9c67



Nahuatl, the Past, and the Future
https://medium.com/@davidbowles/nahuatl-the-past-and-the-future-9e54bc1f6586

Nahuatl’s Lack of Grammatical Gender
https://medium.com/@davidbowles/nahuatls-lack-of-grammatical-gender-5896ed54f2d7

Feminist Nahuatl Lexicon, Part I
https://medium.com/@davidbowles/feminist-nahuatl-lexicon-part-i-85207604f796

Anti-Trump Nahuatl Lexicon
https://medium.com/@davidbowles/anti-trump-nahuatl-lexicon-c13cacfc0978




Retranslating Nezahualcoyotl
https://medium.com/@davidbowles/retranslating-nezahualcoyotl-3a868eeb4424 ]
davidbowles  x  latinx  mexico  language  spanish  nahuatl  español  2017  2018  2019  history  etymology  aztec  linguistics 
march 2019 by robertogreco
Language and Linguistics on Trial: Hearing Rachel Jeantel (and Other Vernacular Speakers) in the Courtroom and Beyond, by John Rickford and Sharese King [.pdf]
"Rachel Jeantel was the leading prosecution witness when George Zimmerman was tried for killing Trayvon Martin, but she spoke in African American Vernacular English (AAVE) and her crucial testimony was dismissed as incomprehensible and not credible. The disregard for her speech in court and the media is familiar to vernacular speakers and puts Linguistics itself on trial: following Saussure, how do we dispel such ‘prejudices’ and ‘fictions’? We show that Jeantel speaks a highly systematic AAVE, with possible Caribbean influence. We also discuss voice quality and other factors that bedeviled her testimony, including dialect unfamiliarity and institutionalized racism. Finally, we suggest strategies for linguists to help vernacular speakers be better heard in courtrooms and beyond.*"
johnrickford  shareseking  2016  trayvonmartin  georgezimmerman  racheljeantel  aave  english  bias  law  legal  justice  race  racism  dialect  literacy  intelligence  linguistics  sociolinguistics 
january 2019 by robertogreco
Justice for Jeantel (and Trayvon): Fighting Dialect Prejudice in Courtrooms and Beyond - CornellCast
"When George Zimmerman was tried for the homicide of Trayvon Martin, the testimony of Rachel Jeantel was critical to the prosecution’s case – but was ignored by the jury. According to linguist John Rickford this happened because Jeantel speaks African-American Vernacular English. On Sept. 15, 2016, Rickford presented a University Lecture discussing the potentially devastating consequences caused by mishearings and misjudgments of dialect speakers in courtrooms, police encounters, job interviews and elsewhere."
johnrickford  2016  trayvonmartin  georgezimmerman  racheljeantel  aave  english  bias  law  legal  justice  race  racism  dialect  literacy  intelligence  linguistics  sociolinguistics 
january 2019 by robertogreco
John Rickford, Sharese King: Full Interview on "Race, Dialect Prejudice, and Literacy in the Zimmerman Trial and Beyond" | Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education
"The testimony of Rachel Jeantel, close friend of Trayvon Martin and the prosecution's star witness in the trial of George Zimmerman, was the subject of considerable public commentary in the summer of 2013. Social media pilloried her for her "slurred" or "ungrammatical" speech and described her as stupid and ignorant.

But as Stanford professor John Rickford and second-year linguistics graduate student Sharese King show from analyses of her use of zero copula, absence of third singular present, possessive, and plural --s, and other features, she follows the systematic grammar of African American Vernacular English (AAVE) quite faithfully.

Rickford and King discuss the evidence of Jeantel's limited literacy that emerged during the trial, and the poor reading performance of African American students at her school, Miami Norland, which did not come to public attention. They ask about the extent to which speakers of African American Vernacular English and other dialects are misunderstood, disbelieved, or otherwise unfairly evaluated in courts, schools, and other settings.

This interview followed the SCOPE Brown Bag Lecture: "Race, Dialect Prejudice, and Literacy in the Zimmerman Trial and Beyond" on February 10, 2014."

[Direct link to video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qH-vshQf2g0 ]
johnrickford  shareseking  2014  trayvonmartin  georgezimmerman  racheljeantel  aave  english  bias  law  legal  justice  race  racism  dialect  literacy  intelligence  linguistics  sociolinguistics 
january 2019 by robertogreco
Stanford linguist: prejudice toward African American dialect can result in unfair rulings
"Linguistics professor John R. Rickford contends justice was not served in the Trayvon Martin shooting, in part because testimony in the African American vernacular was discredited."
johnrickford  2014  trayvonmartin  language  linguistics  race  racism  justice  law  aave  georgezimmerman  racheljeantel  sociolinguistics 
january 2019 by robertogreco
All Things Linguistic: LSA 2016 - John Rickford's Presidential Address (with images, tweets) · drswissmiss
"John Rickford gave an amazing Presidential Address at the LSA in Washington DC about how people who speak marginalized dialects face discrimination in the courtroom, especially speakers of African American English. (Key quote: “Jeantel’s dialect was found guilty before Zimmerman was found innocent.“)"
johnrickford  linguistics  language  english  2016  trayvonmartin  georgezimmerman  racheljeantel  sociolinguistics 
january 2019 by robertogreco
Founders Day Honoree John R. Rickford - YouTube
"One of the world's experts on African-American Vernacular English, Stanford linguistics professor John R. Rickford (Stevenson 71) was honored for his work studying language spoken by poor and marginalized communities and the application of that research to solve educational problems."
johnrickford  ucsc  language  sociolinguistics  2009  aave  ebonics  linguistics  english  creole 
january 2019 by robertogreco
Black Twitter: American Twitter gets its new terms from Black Twitter — Quartz
"African American English may be America’s greatest source of linguistic creativity.

A new study, led by Jack Grieve, a professor of corpus linguistics at the University of Birmingham in the UK, analyzed nearly 1 billion tweets to find out how new terms emerge on the platform. By looking at words that go from total obscurity to mainstream usage on Twitter in a short period of time, the research can begin to answer questions like: Is one part of the country more linguistically creative than the others? And do new words spread from a geographical origin outward, or does the internet allow them to emerge everywhere, simultaneously?

To some extent, the answer to both questions is “yes,” as I have written previously. But the study points out the particular importance of one community on Twitter in particular, concluding, “African American English is the main source of lexical innovation on American Twitter.”

To get to that result, the authors extracted billions of words from tweets by users in the United States. They then identified the words that were very uncommon around October 2013, but had become widely used by November 2014. After getting rid of proper nouns and variations of the same term, they settled on 54 “emerging words,” including famo, tfw, yaas, and rekt.

Identifying those terms allowed the researchers to analyze out how new words spread. That pointed to five “common regional patterns” of lexical creation: the West Coast, centered around California; the Deep South, around Atlanta; the Northwest and New York; the Mid-Atlantic and DC; and the Gulf Coast, centered on New Orleans.

Of those five, the Deep South is exceptional in the way it brings about new terms. Usually, a term starts in a densely populated urban area, then spreads to urban areas in other parts of the country. In the case of the West Coast, for example, terms tend to start in Los Angeles and San Francisco, then make their way to Seattle, Portland, San Diego, Las Vegas, and Phoenix.

That doesn’t happen as much in the Deep South. There, the spread of creative new words appears to be driven more by culture than population density. Atlanta, the authors point out, is small relative to urban powerhouses like LA and New York. And terms that originate in the South do not spread by jumping to other cities; instead, they spread via areas with large black populations.

The map below shows the different regions the study uncovered; each county in the US is colored based on the pattern of spread it is most closely associated with. As you can see, the West Coast map shows several red hotspots well beyond California, popping up as far away as Seattle, Florida, and the Northeast. Several other maps look like that, too—the Northeast pattern has green splotches in Louisiana, the South, and Southern California; the Mid-Atlantic map shows deep purple in Chicago, Texas, and elsewhere. The Deep South, on the other hand, spreads straight out from the area around Atlanta, with only a very faint blue on top of San Francisco.

[maps]

That alone wouldn’t be enough to say that African American English is the “main source” of new terms on American Twitter. But the paper adds that three of the five patterns above seem to be “primarily associated with African American English.” That is to say, these patterns reflect the distribution of the black population in the US. Often, the study finds, the percentage of a county that is black appears to be more important than just the number of people living there in fueling linguistic creativity. In Georgia and North Carolina, for example, linguistically innovative areas “are not necessarily more populous but do generally contain higher percentages of African Americans.” This, they conclude, shows “the inordinate influence of African American English on Twitter.”

Many of the Black Twitter terms identified in the study will be familiar to any frequent Twitter user. Among the ones most associated with the Deep South region are famo (family and friends), fleek (on point), and baeless (single). But the fastest-emerging terms come from other places and cultures, too. Waifu, for example, a Japanese borrowing of the English word “wife,” is associated with the West Coast and anime."
blacktwitter  language  english  communication  invention  culture  2018  2013  nikhilsonnad  jackgrieve  linguistics  deepsouth  sandiego  portland  oregon  seattle  lasvegas  phoenix  westcoast  losangeles  sanfrancisco  california  atlanta  nyc  washingtondc  nola  neworleans  chicago 
september 2018 by robertogreco
The Tangled Language of Jargon | JSTOR Daily
"What our emotional reaction to jargon reveals about the evolution of the English language, and how the use of specialized terms can manipulate meaning."



"How Jargon Can Exclude and Obscure

It turns out that, far from being objective, jargon—outwardly a sober, professional kind of talk for experts from different occupational fields—has always carried with it some very human impulses, placing power and prestige over knowledge. A doctor, for example, might inappropriately use jargon in explaining a diagnosis to a patient, which prevents the patient from participating in their own care. This quality of jargon attracts those that might want to obscure biases, beef up simplistic ideas, or even hide social or political embarrassments behind a slick veneer of seemingly objective, “scientific” language without being challenged.

Latinate forms happen to lend themselves well to new terminology like this, especially technical jargon, for those very perceptions of precision and prestige, as well as detachment. But this detachment comes with a price. The alienness and incomprehensibility of new jargon words we’re unfamiliar with might sometimes make us a mite uncomfortable. It can sound inauthentic, compared to other innovative language change, from slang to secret languages. There are all kinds of innovative speech used by certain groups not just to share information easily, or to talk about new ideas, but also to show belonging and identity—and to keep outsiders out.

It’s one of the reasons people hate jargon with a passion and have been railing against it for years, centuries even. H. W. Fowler called it “talk that is considered both ugly-sounding and hard to understand.” L.E. Sissman is a little more subtle. Sissman defines jargon as “all of these debased and isolable forms of the mother tongue that attempt to paper over an unpalatable truth and/or to advance the career of the speaker (or the issue, cause or product he is agent for) by a kind of verbal sleight of hand, a one-upmanship of which the reader or listener is victim.”

Jargon, as useful as it is in the right contexts, can end up being socially problematic and divisive when it hides and manipulates meanings from those who need to receive the information. This negative reception hasn’t stopped jargon that apes scientific language from being widely produced, by economists, academics, entrepreneurs, journalists… and probably even poets. Jargon has now become the devil’s corporate middle management’s language, making information harder to share and receive. It has seeped into almost every facet of a complex modern life, giving us new buzzwords not even a mother could love, with terms like self-actualization, monetize, incentivize, imagineering, onboarding, synergize, and the like. And there’s so much more where that came from.

When Jargon Becomes Dangerous

William D. Lutz talks about how jargon and doublespeak can often be carefully designed to cover up embarrassing or secret information. For example, a commercial airline that had a 727 crash, killing three passengers, was able to pass off the resulting three million dollar insurance profit on its books as “the involuntary conversion of a 727,” which was unlikely to be questioned by confused shareholders whose eyes would probably have glazed over from the cumbersome legal jargon.

Words aren’t equal just because they mean the same thing, especially when the stakes are high. It’s not simply a matter of knowing or not knowing the meaning of these words, or if they accurately describe facts, but what Sally McConnell-Ginet calls the conceptual or cultural baggage, the hidden background assumptions the language carries with them, the ‘ologies and ‘isms that pretend to be something they’re not. Most recently in politics, the Kavanaugh confirmation hearings showed how deftly legal terminology can be wielded to avoid or plausibly deny or confuse clear facts. For example, denying knowledge of stolen documents is literally not a lie if you steadfastly assume they aren’t stolen, despite textual evidence to the contrary. The statement “I am not sure that all legal scholars refer to Roe as the settled law of the land” literally defers to a fact, the meaning of which is true. The conceptual baggage the statement carries with it, however, strongly suggests the writer does not disagree with the opinion.

Linguist Dwight Bolinger suggests that this is exactly the kind of heinous abuse of meaning that makes linguistic activism critical, shining a spotlight on these egregious cases where lies are hidden by omission or avoidance of the truth in jargon, euphemism, doublespeak, and other linguistic trickery."
jargon  language  specialization  2018  chiluu  communication  manipulation  english  synonyms  williamlutz  georgeorwell  styleguides  writing  linguistics  words 
september 2018 by robertogreco
John McWhorter: How Texting ‘LOL’ Changed Communication - The Atlantic
[on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hA6V_th9rQw ]

"“Today, communication is much more fluid, much more varied, much subtler—it's better,” says John McWhorter, professor of linguistics at Columbia University, author, and frequent contributor to The Atlantic, in a new video from the 2018 Aspen Ideas Festival. A big reason for this advancement in communication is, McWorther argues, the advent of texting—and even more specifically, the proliferation of the acronym “LOL.”

In the video, McWorther explains how LOL “ended up creeping in and replacing involuntary laughter,” and what meant for the new era of informal, nuanced communication. “It used to be that if you were going to write in any real way beyond the personal letter, there were all these rules you were afraid you were breaking—and you probably were,” he says. “It wasn't a comfortable form. You can write comfortably now.”"
johnmcwhorter  texting  texts  lol  2018  communication  language  linguistics  mobile  phones  change  flirting  fluidity  informal  informality  comfort  nuance  optimism 
september 2018 by robertogreco
All Things Linguistic
"prokopetz [https://prokopetz.tumblr.com/post/176881897102/honestly-its-not-even-multiple-exclamation-point ]:
Honestly, it’s not even multiple exclamation point that get me.

It’s the double exclamation specifically.

Ending a sentence with one exclamation point: very good, nice emphasis.

Ending a sentence with three or more exclamation points: okay, we’re going dramatic, right on.

Ending a sentence with exactly two exclamation points: I have no idea what’s going on.

It’s like sentences that conclude with a double bang occupy some sort of semiotic liminal space between the emphatic and the histrionic, and I just don’t know how to respond.

I’ve been using double exclamation marks recently for like a hybrid sincerity/enthusiasm feel, when one exclamation mark doesn’t feel sincere enough but three would be overdoing it. Like “thanks!” is just basic politeness at this point, so “thanks!!” is a genuine note of enthusiasm but not quite as excited as “thanks!!!”.

But I’m pretty sure I’m still in flux with multiple exclamation points, so maybe I’ll upgrade to three for this purpose in a few more months."
punctuation  internet  linguistics  srg  2018  davidprokopetz  language  exclamationpoints  web  online  communication  gretchenmcculloch  change  via:tealtan 
august 2018 by robertogreco
The Legendary Language of the Appalachian "Holler" | JSTOR Daily
"Is the unique Appalachian dialect the preserved language of Elizabethan England? Left over from Scots-Irish immigrants? Or something else altogether?"



"The AAVE Connection
Many have noticed strong similarities between white southern speech and AAVE, although AAVE isn’t necessarily tied to the south. For example, Wolfram highlights language from a KKK pamphlet which reads “Look out liberals: Wallace power gonna get you” showing a similar grammatical construction to AAVE with a missing copula be (e.g. you ugly).

If it’s true that the two dialects have slightly different linguistic sources as their origins, how did they come to be so similar? As we’ve seen, white southern speech has a Scots-Irish origin, sharing some of unusual grammatical structures yet is missing many other distinctive features of those dialects. Meanwhile, though most linguists agree that AAVE originated from the same British dialects as white southern speech, some argue that there was some linguistic influence from an English-based creole formed when millions of Africans speaking many different languages were forced, through slavery, to communicate with each other.

Wolfram suggests that the missing copula is a characteristic sign of creole influence from AAVE. The question is, how did this feature get into white southern speech, especially if the grammar was inherited mostly intact from its monoculture immigrants? It seems likely that while both dialects came from similar sources, AAVE had a significant impact on how the white southern evolved. White southern speech could have adopted and assimilated certain features of AAVE through white children spending formative time with slave caregivers and their children, for example. In a social context where white southerners and black southerners were closely interacting, many elements of African American Vernacular English, from grammar to accent, were likely to have been major influences on how southern speech developed into its own distinctive dialect. The writer of the KKK pamphlet might could have been driven plumb crazy had they known that.

So the theory of the poor, white, rural Appalachian mountain men going it alone, preserving a pure and unchanging strain of archaic British English, isolated in a hardscrabble place far from civilization, could not be further from the truth. Without the influence of diverse communities of other Appalachians such as African American Appalachians, the southern Appalachian speech and culture simply would not be what it is today. To ignore their contributions to culture and language means Appalachia will always be a distant story, burdened by the myths and legends written by others, left half told."
language  us  english  appalachia  chiluu  2018  dialects  linguistics  srg 
august 2018 by robertogreco
Nick Farmer
"Nick Farmer is a writer and linguist based in Oakland, CA. He created the Belter conlang for Syfy’s The Expanse, contributed to the best-selling introductory linguistics textbook published by MIT Press, and works to support endangered and indigenous languages. Raised by his MIT trained linguist mother, and inspired by his godfather, Ken Hale, Nick has long been fascinated by languages and the cultures of those who speak them. When he’s not writing or studying, he loves spending time outdoors, lifting weights, listening to music, puttering around in his mess of a garden, and watching baseball."

[See also:

"How to Teach Yourself a Language (Part 1)"
https://medium.com/@nfarmerlinguist/how-to-teach-yourself-a-language-part-1-484da99cb76b

"How to Teach Yourself a Language (Part 2)"
https://medium.com/@nfarmerlinguist/how-to-teach-yourself-a-language-part-2-f6ae3b0d4777

"Linguistics: An Introduction to Language and Communication"
https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/linguistics

"The Expanse’s Belter Language Has Real-World Roots: That Cool Dialect on The Expanse Mashes Up 6 Languages"
https://www.wired.com/2017/04/the-expanse-belter-language/

Belter Creole
http://expanse.wikia.com/wiki/Belter_Creole ]
nickfarmer  linguistics  theexpanse  language  languages  sciencefiction  scifi  srg 
may 2018 by robertogreco
The surprising pattern behind color names around the world - YouTube
"In 1969, two Berkeley researchers, Paul Kay and Brent Berlin, published a book on a pretty groundbreaking idea: that every culture in history, when they developed their languages, invented words for colors in the exact same order. They claimed to know this based off of a simple color identification test, where 20 respondents identified 330 colored chips by name. If a language had six words, they were always black, white, red, green, yellow, and blue. If it had four terms, they were always black, white, red, and then either green or yellow. If it had only three, they were always black, white, and red , and so on. The theory was revolutionary — and it shaped our understanding of how color terminologies emerge.

Read more on the research mentioned in this video:

Cook, Kay, and Regier on the World Color Survey: goo.gl/MTUi9C
Stephen C. Levinson on Yele color terms: goo.gl/CYDfvw
John A. Lucy on Hanunó'o color terms: goo.gl/okcyC3
Loreto, Mukherjee, and Tria on color naming population simulations: goo.gl/rALO1S

To learn more about how your language's color words can affect the way you think, check out this video lecture: goo.gl/WxYi1q "
color  classideas  perception  language  languages  paulkay  brentberlin  anthropology  linguistics  red  yellow  blue  green 
may 2018 by robertogreco
Why Nouns Slow Us Down, and Why Linguistics Might Be in a Bubble | The New Yorker
"Writers and language geeks inherit a ranking system of sorts: verbs good, adjectives bad, nouns sadly unavoidable. Verbs are action, verve! “I ate the day / Deliberately, that its tang / Might quicken me into verb, pure verb,” Seamus Heaney writes, in “Oysters.” A sentence can be a sentence without nouns or adjectives, but never without a verb. For the most part.

But nouns deserve more cognitive credit. A study published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that nouns actually take longer to spit out than verbs do, presumably because they require more thought to produce. In the study, researchers led by Frank Seifart, a linguist at the University of Amsterdam, and Balthasar Bickel, of the University of Zurich, analyzed hundreds of recordings of spontaneous speech from nine very different languages from around the world: English and Dutch, as well as several others from as far afield as Amazonia, Siberia, the Kalahari, and Tibet. They picked out and compared the spoken renditions of the nouns and verbs, focussing not on how long it took for each word to be spoken but on what was happening in the half-second preceding each word. That tiny window is informative: cognitive scientists have concluded that it takes the brain about that long to formulate its next word, which happens even as a current word or phrase is being spoken.

Which is to say, the future word casts a shadow over the present one. And that shadow is measurable: the researchers found that, in all nine languages, the speech immediately preceding a noun is three-and-a-half-per-cent slower than the speech preceding a verb. And in eight of nine languages, the speaker was about twice as likely to introduce a pause before a noun than before a verb—either a brief silence or a filler, such as “uh” or “um” or their non-English equivalents. That future word, when it’s a noun, is more of a footfall than a shadow, creating a hole in the phrase right before it.

Seifart and Bickel think that this has to do with the different roles that nouns and verbs play in language. Nouns require more planning to say because they more often convey novel information, Seifart told me—that’s one reason why we quickly transition from nouns to pronouns when speaking. Listeners are sensitive to those tiny pauses before a noun, and interpret them as indicating that what follows will be something new or important.

Unlike nouns and pronouns, verbs don’t have “proverbs” to pick up the pace, although we cheat a little with sentences such as, “Susan drank wine and Mary did, too.” Verbs are grammatically more complex than nouns but have less to reveal. When you’re about to say a verb, you’re less likely to be saying something new, so your brain doesn’t have to slow down what it’s already doing to plan for it.

Oddly enough, the one language that doesn’t seem to pre-think its nouns as thoroughly as its verbs is English, Seifart and Bickel found. Although English speakers do slow down their speech immediately before a noun, they use fewer pauses beforehand, not more, when compared to verbs.

“English is peculiar,” Seifart said. English is less useful than we might imagine for understanding what our speech has to say about how we think: “It can never be representative of human language in general,” he said. “To make claims about human language in general, we need to look at much broader array of them.”

In recent years, scientists have grown concerned that much of the literature on human psychology and behavior is derived from studies carried out in Western, educated, industrialized, rich, democratic countries. These results aren’t necessarily indicative of how humans as a whole actually function. Linguistics may face a similar challenge—the science is in a bubble, talking to itself. “This is what makes people like me realize the unique value of small, often endangered languages and documenting them for as long as they can still be observed,” Seifart said. “In a few generations, they will not be spoken anymore.” In the years to come, as society grows more complex, the number of nouns available to us may grow exponentially. The diversity of its speakers, not so much."
language  languages  weird  nouns  verbs  communication  linguistics  2018  alanburdick  action  frankseifart  balthasarbickel  future  present  speed  speaking  english 
may 2018 by robertogreco
wikipedia brown, unstable genius on Twitter: "someone please write an essay about Cookie Monster and minstrelsy please https://t.co/Ms5gbNahVr"
"someone please write an essay about Cookie Monster and minstrelsy please

Cookie Monster is an expression of the unruly black body viewed through the 19th century white gaze, a reflection of a Cartwright-esque vision of unfettered, almost beastlike corporeal desire

😂😂😂😂😂

“gimme dat cookie,” says Cookie Monster, a reflection at once of his presentist thinking and his black vernacular linguistic practice. he is unable to see past the cookie. He is at once “monstrous” and a site of American fetishization.

my flight is delayed. I got time

Feel free to quote me in your next media studies term paper kids

During the height of 90s era globalism-and-multiculturalism neoliberal fantasia, Cookie Monster was briefly reimagined as a vegetable connoisseur, a new configuration through a lens that at once called upon a commodified hip-hop aesthetic and a respectability politic.

The fact that C is for Cookie is, simply put, *good enough* for Cookie Monster, whose literacy practices and ideological concerns are limited to this unidimensional question. It’s a hyper-reduced identity politic, one unconcerned with the nuances of modernity.

I crack myself up"
cookiemonster  sesamestreet  2018  eveewing  monsters  minstrels  aav  africanamericanvernacular  language  linguistics  fetishes  fetishization  cookies  respectabilitypolitics  hiphop  1990s  identitypolitics 
january 2018 by robertogreco
Human cumulative culture: a comparative perspective [.pdf]
"Lewis G. Dean, Gill L. Vale, Kevin N. Laland, Emma Flynn and Rachel L. Kendal"

"Many animals exhibit social learning and behavioural traditions, but human culture exhibits unparalleled complexity and diversity, and is unambiguously cumulative in character. These similarities and differences have spawned a debate over whether animal traditions and human culture are reliant on homologous or analogous psychological processes. Human cumulative culture combines high-fidelity transmission of cultural knowledge with beneficial modifications to generate a ‘ratcheting’ in technological complexity, leading to the development of traits far more complex than one individual could invent alone. Claims have been made for cumulative culture in several species of animals, including chimpanzees, orangutans and New Caledonian crows, but these remain contentious. Whilst initial work on the topic of cumulative culture was largely theoretical, employing mathematical methods developed by population biologists, in recent years researchers from a wide range of disciplines, including psychology, biology, economics, biological anthropology, linguistics and archaeology, have turned their attention to the experimental investigation of cumulative culture. We review this literature, highlighting advances made in understanding the underlying processes of cumulative culture and emphasising areas of agreement and disagreement amongst investigators in separate fields."
lewisden  gillvale  kevinlaland  emmaflynn  rachelkendal  2013  culture  animals  human  humans  anthropology  biology  crows  corvids  multispecies  psychology  economics  cumulativeculture  apes  chimpanzees  orangutans  linguistics  archaeology  morethanhuman 
january 2018 by robertogreco
John McWhorter on his book Talking Back, Talking Black.
"John McWhorter discusses the subject of his new book, Talking Back, Talking Black: Truths About America's Lingua Franca."

[via: "This podcast on Black English by John McWhorter contains an audio clip a freed slave's oral history. Incredible."
https://twitter.com/cmonstah/status/870127827030429697 ]
language  africanamericanvernacular  blackenglish  linguistics  2017  johnmcwhorter  chancetherapper  slang  vernacular 
june 2017 by robertogreco
MLE or multi-cultural London English - YouTube
"MLE or Multi-cultural London English is a mixture of accents for both British an foreign English speakers in the UK. This comes from the BBC's One show"
language  england  london  change  2013  linguistics  mle  cockney  evolution  english 
march 2017 by robertogreco
K.T. Billey: Utmost Import: Instagram & the Future of the Icelandic Language - Guernica / A Magazine of Art & Politics
[about: https://www.instagram.com/everysinglewordinicelandic/

"Futbol vikings, moonbeams, Björk—Iceland has long-since captured the global imagination, often capitalizing on foreign fascination. Tourism has been essential to the country’s post-crash economic recovery and guerrilla activities in the form of social media have emerged as a complement to ad campaigns and travel initiatives. Put simply, the posted image is the new word of mouth and Iceland is Instagrammer heaven. When cabin porn is a noun-ed phenomenon, Grade-A bragging visuals have brought hordes of visitors and money to the Nordic island. However, the influx has not been without anxiety. One Instagram account embodies the bane and boon of tourism for contemporary Icelandic identity.

Every Single Word in Icelandic, @everysinglewordinicelandic, is one of the most charming mini-galleries around. The concept is simple: pictographs break down the etymology of Icelandic words, illustrating cultural personality and the magic of language while teaching interested followers a thing or two.

Created by Eunsan Huh, a graphic designer who began learning Icelandic in New York City, many Every Single Word entries are Icelandic symbology: wool sweater, hot dog, whale (peysa, pylsa, hvalur). Others reflect Iceland’s absorption of new practices. In a shepherding country, chopsticks are called matprjónar or “food knitting needles.” Idioms also pop up—in Icelandic a tough cookie could be called a harðjaxl, a “hard molar.” The ranks of the account’s followers has steadily grown. Particularly in terms of nature and ‘folk’ attitudes, we seem collectively predisposed to being amused by Iceland the way audiences at comedy shows come ready to laugh.

The interest in Icelandic is certainly welcome. A language spoken by about 300 000 people must work to preserve itself. Reliance on importation and a history of Danish rule make Iceland no stranger to fears of foreign influence. A vital function of the Icelandic Language Council is to establish Icelandic words for new inventions. Drawing on Old Norse and Icelandic roots, the goal is to prevent an influx of loanwords—once Danish, now English—from taking over. Some borrowed words have taken hold—the use of banani far surpasses bjúgaldin “sausage fruit”—but preservation efforts have paid off in terms of language survival and intrigue. The word for television is a popular example that reminds us of how strange tv was upon its invention, as well as of the beauty of the English word. Sjónvarp breaks down into “vision caster.” Tele-vision. It may seem obvious, augljós, (auga<, eye, + ljós, light), but is there anything we take more for granted?

Perhaps one thing. The internet, whose here-to-eternity English poses an unprecedented threat to Iceland’s notoriously difficult, poetic, and odd tongue. Icelandic schooling has long included English, Danish, Latin, and various other languages, but English is particularly alluring for young people looking to participate in global arenas. Not just the online, but in technology use in general. As the Icelandic writer Sjón put it in an interview I conducted with him for Asymptote International Literary Journal,“When the day comes that we have to speak to our refrigerators in English (which I believe is not far in the future), Icelandic will retreat very fast.”

Former President of Iceland Vigdis Finnbogadóttir drew an oft-repeated distinction: Icelandic is not a ‘small language’ but rather ‘a language spoken by few.’ According to Finnbogadóttir, an active linguistic advocate (and the world’s first elected woman head of state—fewer speakers often boast when they can), there are no small languages. This rings true to anyone who has been mouth-baffled in a land of extensive compound words. It is not a numbers game, but hundreds of years of Nordic literature—an immeasurable contribution to world culture and mythology—is contingent on linguistic knowledge."



"Tomorrow’s folk tale might be a cautionary yarn about the Pokémon hunter who fell into Goðafoss. Purists might cringe at the notion, romantics might refuse to read it—or watch the trailer. There is much to bemoan about the evolving tension between technology and our physical and social lives: bodily detachment, fractured attention, intimate dis-ease. Worries about Icelandic are well-founded, but its speakers are aware. Gerður Kristný responded to the ‘why not write in English’ question by explaining that language has so much to do with Icelandic independence and identity, she will always write in Icelandic. It is her language. Technology looms, but pride and artistry is made of different stuff. Human obstinacy is a phenomenon unto itself.

The fate of Icelandic and other languages spoken by few remains to be seen, read, and heard. For now, as with anything, we can take the mixed bag, if we believe we have a choice. Absorbing positive resonance when we can is a coping skill as venerable as sagas. Marveling at inventions creates space for thought about how to use them well.

Rarity may protect languages via the kind of cult interest Icelandic enjoys. Print was supposed to be dead by now, or the realm of fetishized art objects and eccentric collectors. Yet book-devices haven’t supplanted books themselves. There are simply more ways to read. The internet is akin to Borges’ Babel in both threat and potential—it cultivates a browsing attitude that eats its children but also offers a place to be intentionally communicative. Never have we had such a grand chance to self-define or such an audience for our own terms.

“Orchestra” is a pertinent Every Single Word in Icelandic entry. Hljómsveit, literally “sound team.” The ancient chorus persists, in one form or another, and it is what we make of it."

[See also: http://grapevine.is/author/eunsan-huh/
https://www.behance.net/gallery/28612451/Every-Single-Word-In-Icelandic ]
iceland  icelandic  language  languages  instagram  ktbilley  eunsanhuh  symbols  symbology  history  linguistics  audio  pronunciation  translation  english  illustration  via:tealtan  instagrams 
august 2016 by robertogreco
The Color Gradient Reader BeeLine Shows Promise for Speed and Attention in Reading - The Atlantic
"In the era of attention deficits, the new text will not be black and white."



"The colors in this text are rendered in a precise and strategic way, designed to help people read quickly and accurately.

The most important feature is that each line begins with a different color than the line above or below. As Matthew Schneps, director of the Laboratory for Visual Learning at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, explained it to me, the color gradients also pull our eyes long from one character to the next—and then from the end of one line to the beginning of the next, minimizing any chance of skipping lines or making anything less than an optimally efficient word-to-word or line-to-line transition.

Improving the ease and accuracy of the return sweep is a promising idea for readers of all skill levels. And yet it’s one that’s gone largely ignored in the milieu of media technologies. Today many of us read primarily on screens–and we have for years–yet most platforms have focused on using technology to attempt to recreate text as it appears in books (or in newspapers or magazines), instead of trying to create an optimal reading experience.

The format—black text on white lines of 12 to 15 words of equal size—is a relic of the way that books were most easily printed on early printing presses. It persists today out of tradition, not because of some innate tendency of the human brain to process information in this way.

Meanwhile, people who aren’t especially skilled at intake of text in the traditional format are systematically penalized. People who don’t read well in this one particular way tend to fall behind scholastically early in life. They might be told they’re not as bright as other people, or at least come to assume it. They might even be diagnosed with ADHD, dyslexia, or a learning disability, or overlooked as academically mediocre.

“The book format was effective, but not for everyone,” said Schneps. “This is not just technology that could help people who are struggling with reading; this is technology that could help a lot of people.”

* * *

Our minds are not as uniform as our text. We all take in information in different ways. Some people read more quickly and retain more information when lines are shorter, or when fonts are bolder, or in different colors. The color-gradient pattern above is rendered by a product called BeeLine, developed by armchair linguist Nick Lum. He got the idea after learning about the Stroop Effect, the famous phenomenon where it becomes difficult to read words like “yellow” and “red” when they are written in different colors. Lum thought, “What if instead of screwing people up, we tried to use color in a way that helps people?”

After he won the Stanford Social Entrepreneurship and Dell Education startup competitions with the idea in 2014, Lum took to developing the technology full time. So far, the response from people tends to be binary: for some it’s a shrug, but for others, particularly people with dyslexias, it’s like turning on a light bulb. As Lum describes it, people tell him “Holy cow, this is how everybody else reads.”

The idea has been well received by reading experts, too.

“Most of the academic research is figuring out entirely what your eyes are going to do on one line,” said psychologist and Microsoft researcher Kevin Larson. “That has been such a challenge that it's rare for anyone to pay much attention to what happens during that line return movement.”

At the University of Texas at Austin, Randolph Bias has studied the optimal length of lines of text for reading comprehension and speed. The two are generally at odds: Short lines make for a quick and accurate return (the movement is easier because it allows our eyes to take a greater downward angle than if the line were longer.) The downside is that because our brains process information during return sweeps, shorter lines don't afford us that time. We also don’t get to take full advantage of peripheral vision – which is key. (He cites this as the problem with Spritz, the reading technology where single words rapidly flash before a reader.)"



"The other big opportunity for the technology is in educational settings. Later this year, BeeLine will be rolling out in libraries across California, as part of a licensing partnership. This is how Lum sees the company growing. The basic Google Chrome extension and iPhone app are free. But large-scale licensing deals with platforms and institutions like school systems could be more lucrative—and make the option accessible to people who wouldn’t otherwise think to try reading in color.

In early experiments, some students do seem to benefit from the color gradients. Last year, first-grade students in two general-education classrooms in San Bernardino, California, tried out Beeline, and many did better with comprehension tests afterword. “Because of my background in visual processing, I immediately wanted to check it out,” said Michael Dominguez, an applied behavioral analyst who directs the San Bernardino school district’s special education program. “Based on everything I know, it should work great.”"

[See also (referenced in the article):
http://www.beelinereader.com/
https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/ie/2014/03/04/introducing-reading-view-in-ie-11/ ]
howweread  reading  dyslexia  education  cyborgs  adhd  color  text  jameshamblin  kevinlarson  via:ayjay  michaeldominguez  beeline  chrome  browser  browsers  extensions  accessibility  assistivetechnology  microsoft  attention  technology  edtech  nicklum  linguistics  randolphbias  spritz  ereading  kindle  pdfs  epub  pdf 
july 2016 by robertogreco
Fighting Illiteracy With Typography by Yara Khoury Nammour (Works That Work magazine)
"The intriguingly beautiful calligraphic principles of Arabic script have long defied attempts to facilitate mass production by print technologies developed for Roman letters. Unified Arabic is one such attempt, and significant obstacles stand between it and widespread adoption.

In 1932, a Lebanese architect walked into a classroom at the American University of Beirut to fill in for a professor who taught basic Arabic typing skills. In an effort to welcome the class, he started typing ahlan wa sahlan (‘welcome’), but, finding it difficult to locate the right keys for the right variation of the letter heh, he mistakenly typed an initial heh form instead of a medial one. He noticed, however, that what he had typed was still perfectly legible. He suddenly realised that by reducing the number of letter variations, the problem of finding keys on the typewriter could be easily solved without affecting the legibility of the text. He decided then and there to work on unifying all the variations of the Arabic letters. The architect’s name was Nasri Khattar, and he called his project Unified Arabic.

Students of Arabic start by learning its basic, unconnected letter shapes, only to be confronted with a myriad of wildly differing variations. The letter meem, aside from its four basic shapes, has more than 30 ligature forms.

Unified Arabic (UA) is basically a set of 30 letterforms, one for each letter of the Arabic alphabet, plus hamza and lam alef, eliminating the variant forms that make reading and writing Arabic difficult for beginners. The Arabic writing system is based on flowing calligraphic forms that connect letters within words, and the letters vary in shape according to their position in the word. Most of its 28 letters have four varying shapes, initial, medial, final and isolated, but, with the addition of ligature forms (used when writing specific letter combinations) and vocalisation marks, a complete set of glyphs can easily reach up to 150 shapes, depending on the complexity of the script. This made typing Arabic immensely complicated, as the large number of Arabic letter variants was too large to fit on the 44 available keys but Khattar realised that matters could be greatly simplified by distilling the hundreds of variant shapes into their most characteristic forms.

Using a reductive design process, Khattar worked to discover these characteristic shapes. Hundreds of sketches reveal a struggle with the most basic forms on both the functional and aesthetic levels, while other sketches try to find solutions—ranging from the simple to the bizarre—for the dots and the vocalisation marks. Furthermore, the letters are designed to be representative of the streamlined spirit of Western civilisation: quick, mechanised and labour saving, similar to Latin type forms and proportions, which Khattar acknowledged as one of his inspirations.

But would typewriter manufacturers be interested enough to invest in the project? Remington Rand was the first to be approached, but the project quickly proved unrewarding, although one prototype Unified Arabic machine was actually produced. IBM, however, was quick to recognise UA’s socio-political implications, and so the journey began.

‘I am going to stake my reputation as a literacy man: I believe that, using this alphabet, the illiterate will learn in one-tenth the time that it now takes; and that means that probably ten times as many people will learn to read.’ — Frank Laubach

Unified Arabic was not the first attempt to adapt Arabic to mechanical printing processes. As early as the 15th century, printers had attempted to simulate the cursive forms using movable type, but their efforts to stay true to the script’s calligraphic nature resulted in type cases of up to 500 characters per font (roughly eight times the size of the Latin character set), making manual and mechanical typesetting a laborious task at odds with the demands of unit-based mass production.

By the end of the 19th century, the detrimental social and economic effects of the impracticality of printed Arabic were clear: throughout the Levant region (modern-day Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine and Egypt) illiteracy was widespread, and books were scarce and expensive, available exclusively to the ruling class and clergy. However, after 400 years of stagnation under Ottoman rule in Syria and Lebanon, and influenced by French and English colonial rule in Egypt, the people of the region were gradually waking up to the distant thunder of the Industrial Revolution coming from the West, setting the stage for renewed efforts to facilitate reproduction of the Arabic printed word.

Spurred by a growing rate of literacy, inadequate supply of books and favourable political circumstances, several reform trials in the Arab region began, instigating a movement of cultural change closely linked to the printed word. This movement, a form of a revived Arab Renaissance, called for a literary cultural awakening, new religious interpretations, modernised political ideas and language reform, opening the door to a new visual interpretation of the Arabic letterforms. By the beginning of the 20th century, the time was ripe for rapid modernisation. Unified Arabic, whose core idea was simplification by eliminating the unnecessary, seemed perfectly matched to its time."
arabic  typography  middleeast  literacy  language  education  yatakhourynammour  unifiedarabic  typewriters  print  printability  masrikhattar  linguistics 
may 2016 by robertogreco
The Internet Isn't Available in Most Languages - The Atlantic
"Tweet, tuít, or giolc? These were the three iterations of a Gaelic version of the word “tweet” that Twitter’s Irish translators debated in 2012. The agonizing choice between an Anglicized spelling, a Gaelic spelling, or the use of the Gaelic word for “tweeting like a bird” stalled the project for an entire year. Finally, a small group of translators made an executive decision to use the Anglicized spelling of “tweet” with Irish grammar. As of April 2015, Gaelic Twitter is online.

Indigenous and under-resourced cultures face a number of obstacles when establishing their languages on the Internet. English, along with a few other languages like Spanish and French, dominates the web. People who speak these languages often take for granted access to social-media sites with agreed-upon vocabularies, built-in translation services, and basic grammar and spell-checkers.

For Gaelic, a minority language spoken by only two to three percent of the Irish population, it can be difficult to access these digital services. And even languages with millions of speakers can lack the resources needed to make the Internet relevant to daily life.

In September of this year, the Broadband Commission for Digital Development, an organization established five years ago to monitor the growth and use of the Internet around the world, released its 2015 report on the state of broadband. The report argues that representation of the world's languages online remains one of the major challenges in expanding the Internet to reach the four billion people who don’t yet have access.

At the moment, the Internet only has webpages in about five percent of the world's languages. Even national languages like Hindi and Swahili are used on only .01 percent of the 10 million most popular websites. The majority of the world’s languages lack an online presence that is actually useful.

Ethnologue, a directory of the world’s living languages, has determined that 1,519 out of the 7,100 languages spoken today are in danger of extinction. For these threatened languages, social-networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, which rely primarily on user-generated content, as well as other digital platforms like Google and Wikipedia, have a chance to contribute to their preservation. While the best way to keep a language alive is to speak it, using one’s native language online could help.

The computational linguistics professor Kevin Scannell devotes his time to developing the technical infrastructure—often using open-source software—that can work for multiple languages. He’s worked with more than 40 languages around the world, his efforts part of a larger struggle to promote under-resourced languages. “[The languages] are not part of the world of the Internet or computing,” he says. “We’re trying to change that mindset by providing the tools for people to use.”

One such under-resourced language is Chichewa, a Bantu language spoken by 12 million people, many of whom are in the country of Malawi. According to Edmond Kachale, a programmer who began developing a basic word processor for the language in 2005 and has been working on translating Google search into Chichewa for the last five years, his language doesn’t have sufficient content online. This makes it difficult for its speakers to compete in a digital, globalized world. “Unless a language improves its visibility in the digital world,” he says, “it is heading for extinction.”

In Malawi, over 60 percent of the population lacks Internet access; but Kachale says that “even if there would be free Internet nation-wide, chances are that [Chichewa speakers] may not use it at all because of the language barrier.” The 2015 Broadband Report bears Kachale’s point out. Using the benchmark of 100,000 Wikipedia pages in any given language, it found that only 53 percent of the world’s population has access to sufficient content in their native language to make use of the Internet relevant.

People who can’t use the Internet risk falling behind economically because they can’t take advantage of e-commerce. In Malawi, Facebook has become a key platform for Internet businesses, even though the site has not yet been translated into Chichewa. Instead, users tack-on a work-around browser plug-in, a quick-fix for languages that don’t have official translations for big social-media sites.

“Unless a language improves its visibility in the digital world, it is heading for extinction.”
In 2014, Facebook added 20 new languages to its site and launched several more this year, bringing it to more than 80 languages. The site also opens up languages for community-based translation. This option is currently available for about 50 languages, including Aymara, an indigenous language spoken mainly in Bolivia, Peru, and Chile. Though it has approximately 2 million speakers, UNESCO has designated Aymara as “vulnerable.” Beginning in May of 2014, a group of 20 volunteer translators have been chipping away at the 25,000 words used on the site—and the project is on course to be finished by Christmas.

The project is important because it will encourage young people to use their native language. “We are sure when Aymara is available on Facebook as an official language, it will be a source of motivation for Aymara people,” says Elias Quisepe Chura, who manages the translation effort (it happens primarily online, unsurprisingly via a Facebook page).

Ruben Hilari, another member of the translation team, told the Spanish newspaper El Pais, “Aymara is alive. It does not need to be revitalized. It needs to be strengthened and that is exactly what we are doing. If we do not work for our language and culture today, it will be too late tomorrow to remember who we are, and we will always feel insecure about our identity.”

Despite its reputation as the so-called information superhighway, the Internet is only legible to speakers of a few languages; this limit to the web’s accessibility proves that it can be as just as insular and discriminative as the modern world at large."
internet  languages  language  linguistics  2015  translation  insularity  web  online  gaelic  hindi  swahili  kevinscannell  via:unthinkingly  katherineschwab  edmondkachele  accessibility  enlgish  aymara  rubenhilari  eliasquisepechura  bolivia  perú  chile  indigenous  indigeneity  chichewa  bantu  google  kevinsannell  twitter  facebook  instagram  software  computation  computing  inclusivity 
january 2016 by robertogreco
From Digital Divide to Language Divide: Language Inclusion for Asia’s Next Billion — Words About Words — Medium
"Thinking through language divides in online platforms and what we can do to reduce them"



"New Internet users who don’t speak majority languages will likely be unable to participate in global Internet culture and conversations as both readers and contributors; as Mark Graham and Matthew Zook have noted, minority languages speakers, especially those from the global south, will experience substantial information inequality online (Young, 2015). Indeed, people’s inability to speak English can significantly afect their very adoption and use of the Internet, even if they are aware of its existence (Pearce et al., 2014)."
anxiaomina  2015  language  languages  inclusion  internet  web  online  accessibility  kevinscannell  stevenbird  aikuma  translation  meedan  socialmedia  twitter  linguistics  katypearce  power  english  scotthale  technology  edbice  digitaldivide  asia 
december 2015 by robertogreco
Where's Me a Dog? Here's You a Dog: The South's Most Unusual Regionalism | Atlas Obscura
"Regions of America have their own grammar, just like they have their own vocabulary.

Ohioans, for instance, call the wheeled conveyances used in grocery stores "shopping carts," rather than shopping wagons, carriages, buggies, or any of the other terms used around the country. And if that shopping cart gets dirty, in Ohio, it doesn’t need to be washed; it needs washed.

Sometimes, grammatical variations are obvious to the ear: the “habitual be” of African American Vernacular English–as in "we be showing off" or “who be eating cookies?”–stands out to American English speakers, even if they don’t know its proper use. But sometimes these grammatical variations sneak by.

“New words are being created all the time, and they’re easy to spread,” says Jim Wood, a visiting lecturer at Yale University. “Syntactic constructions, a lot of them are more under the radar, and when you ask about the variation, people often aren’t aware there’s anything surprising about it at all.”

Compared to vocabulary and accents, the regional variations of English grammar in America have not been studied much. So when Wood and his colleagues at the Yale Grammatical Diversity Project started documenting variations, they quickly found unusual constructions—including one that’s not only unique to the American South but that has no parallel in any language they’ve looked at so far.

This discovery began with a blog titled “Here’s you a blog,” which Larry Horn, one of the project’s founders, had come across. This blogger had first come across this grammatical quirk–”here’s you a…”–while traveling in Kentucky: a post office clerk had handed over a stamp featuring a dog, and said, “Here’s you a dog.” The phrase delighted the blogger, and she started using it to label pictures of dogs, until she realized she could apply it to other nouns–like her blog.

When Wood first read that sentence, “it was a sharply ungrammatical sentence to me,” he says. He wanted to find out where it was used and in what forms. By running surveys through Mechanical Turk, the Amazon service which connects workers with paid tasks, Wood and his colleagues determined it was mostly used in the South. When they looked for variations, though, they found an entirely unknown type of sentence.

The linguists wanted to know if “here’s me a…” could be turned into a question—”where’s me a..?” One of their first steps: just Google that phrase. Immediately, they started finding examples. They’re all over the internet, mostly on social media and in the comments sections of websites:

Where's me a bae?

Where's me a good decent guy at?!

Now, where's me a half-ton Dodge Long-Bed?

Where's me a big yellow "GEEKY" button to click on?

When linguists think they’ve found something new, they look for the same construction elsewhere. “The way we tread new ground is asking people: can you say this in your language?” says Wood. Languages are generally similar enough that there are analogues. For “here’s you a…” that was true: there are examples in French, Latin, Russian and Hebrew. But the “where’s” version had no parallels.

“People would wrinkle their nose and say, ‘You can’t say that,’” Wood says.

When Wood and his colleagues investigated the construction, they found that it, too, is used mostly in the American South, stretching west through Texas. In other words, it seems like the South has invented a way of speaking that, as far as anyone knows, doesn’t exist anywhere else in the world right now–and may never have.

“One day we might find a language that has it,” says Wood. “But its absence so far is pretty remarkable.”"
english  language  linguistics  south  2015  regionalism  grammar 
december 2015 by robertogreco
All Things Linguistic
"You guys, this is 70 pages of analysis of tumblr language and you should probably read it. I know I’m going to."

[PDF at https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B-eolrBhv5RFLU5zQVJPOWNjLUE/edit ]
via:tealtan  tumblr  language  socialmedia  internet  web  linguistics  haleygrant 
november 2015 by robertogreco
Human language may be shaped by climate and terrain | Science/AAAS | News
"Why does the Hawaiian language flow melodically from vowel to vowel, whereas Georgian is peppered with consonants? It may have something to do with the climate and terrain where those languages developed, a new study of more than 600 languages from around the world suggests.

Previous research has shown that some other species’ vocalizations are shaped by their environment. Birds such as the song sparrow, for example, sing at higher pitches in cities, where lower frequency notes would be drowned out by urban noise. And birds living in forested areas tend to sing at lower frequencies than birds living in open spaces, suggesting different species and populations may optimize their vocalizations to travel through branches and other obstacles that deflect high-frequency sounds. The phenomenon—called “acoustic adaptation”—“is seen in species after species,” of birds, bats, and other animals, says Caleb Everett, an anthropological linguist at the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida, who was not involved in the new work.

How much, if any, acoustic adaptation occurs in human languages is unclear, says Ian Maddieson, a linguist at the University of California, Berkeley. To explore that question, Maddieson and colleague Christophe Coupé, of the French National Center for Scientific Research’s Laboratoire Dynamique du Langage, combined data on 633 languages worldwide with ecological and climatic information on the regions where those languages developed, excluding internationally spoken languages—such as English, Mandarin Chinese, and Spanish—that are no longer restricted to the geographic regions where they emerged.

A subtle, but clear pattern emerged: Languages in hotter, more forested regions such as the tropics tended to be “sonorous,” employing lower frequency sounds and using fewer distinct consonants, whereas languages in colder, drier, more mountainous places were consonant-heavy, the team reported today at the 170th Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America (ASA) in Jacksonville, Florida. Taken together, these ecological variables accounted for about one-fourth of the variation in how “consonant-heavy” a language is, Maddieson says. One possible explanation for why vowel-rich languages appear more frequently in the tropics is that they travel farther than languages dominated by rapid-fire, high-frequency consonants, which lose their fidelity in humid, forested environments, he says. Heat and humidity interrupt sound, as do solid tree branches and leaves, he adds.

In the study, Maddieson and Coupé simply looked at the number of vowels, consonants, and consonants per syllable for each language. Next, they plan to use data taken directly from spoken recordings to examine “how these elements are actually put together in a continuous flow of speech,” Maddieson says.

The data lend credence to an older, much smaller study of 70 languages, which found a similar pattern, and are “very much in line” with studies of acoustic adaptation in other species, Everett says. Although the findings remain purely correlational, and not based on any experimental evidence, he notes, the notion that ecological factors such as tree cover could affect the sounds a language develops is “a totally reasonable idea.”"

[See also: http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/d-brief/2015/11/04/langauge-environment-acoustics/ ]
languages  language  2015  geography  climate  linguistics  anthropology  calebeverett  ianmaddieson 
november 2015 by robertogreco
SF: Science Fiction, Speculative Fabulation, String Figures, So Far - Ada: A Journal of Gender, New Media, and Technology
"The British social anthropologist Marilyn Strathern, who wrote The Gender of the Gift based on her ethnographic work in highland Papua New Guinea (Mt. Hagen), taught me that “It matters what ideas we use to think other ideas (with)” (Reproducing the Future 10). Marilyn embodies for me the practice of feminist speculative fabulation in the scholarly mode. It matters what matters we use to think other matters with; it matters what stories we tell to tell other stories with; it matters what knots knot knots, what thoughts think thoughts, what ties tie ties. It matters what stories make worlds, what worlds make stories. Marilyn wrote about accepting the risk of relentless contingency; she thinks about anthropology as the knowledge practice that studies relations with relations, that puts relations at risk with other relations, from unexpected other worlds. In 1933 Alfred North Whitehead, the American mathematician and process philosopher who infuses my sense of worlding, wrote The Adventures of Ideas. SF is precisely full of such adventures. Isabelle Stengers, a chemist, scholar of Whitehead, and a seriously quirky Belgian feminist philosopher, gives me “speculative thinking” in spades. Isabelle insists we cannot denounce the world in the name of an ideal world. In the spirit of feminist communitarian anarchism and the idiom of Whitehead’s philosophy, she maintains that decisions must take place somehow in the presence of those who will bear their consequences.[2] In this same virtual sibling set, Marleen Barr morphed Heinlein’s speculative fiction into feminist fabulation for me. In relay and return, SF morphs in my writing and research into speculative fabulation and string figures. Relays, cat’s cradle, passing patterns back and forth, giving and receiving, patterning, holding the unasked-for pattern in one’s hands, response-ability, Octavia Butler’s Patternmaster series. My debts mount. Again and again, SF has given me the ideas, the stories, and the shapes with which I think ideas, shapes, and stories in feminist theory and science studies. There is no way I can name all of my debts to SF’s critters and worlds, human and not, and so I will record only a few and hope for a credit extension for years yet to come. I will enter these debts in a short ledger of my teaching and publishing. I start with Marge Piercy’s Woman on the Edge of Time, a typescript of my curriculum vitae that was part of a file for consideration for promotion in the History of Science Department at Johns Hopkins in 1979-80, and a bottle of chalky white out. I had written an essay review of Woman on the Edge of Time for the activist publication, Women, a Journal of Liberation and duly recorded this little publication on the CV. “The past is the contested zone”—the past that is our thick, not-yet-fixed, present, wherewhen what is yet-to-come is now at stake—is the meme that drew me into Piercy’s story, and I was proud of the review. A senior colleague in History of Science, a supporter of my promotion, came to me with a too-friendly smile and that betraying bottle of white-out, asking me to blot out this publication from the scholarly record, “for my own good.”[3] He also wanted me to expunge “Signs of Dominance,” a long, research-dense essay about the semiotics and sociograms developed in mid-20th-century primate field studies of monkeys and apes.[4] To my shame to this day, I obeyed; to my relief to this day, no one was fooled. Piercy’s temporalities and my growing sense of the SF-structure of primate field work made me write two essays for the brave, new, hyper-footnoted, University of Chicago feminist theory publication, Signs, and to title the essays in recognition of Piercy’s priority and patterned relay to me.[5] I could not forget—or disavow—Piercy’s research for Woman on the Edge of Time, which led her to psychiatrist José Delgado’s Rockland State Hospital experiments with remote-controlled telemetric implants, and my finding in my own archival research Delgado’s National Institutes of Mental Health-funded work applied to gibbon studies in the ape colony on Hall’s Island. The colonial and imperial roots & routes of SF are relentlessly real and inescapably fabulated. Later, living (non-optionally, in really real SF histories) with and as cyborgs, Piercy and I played cat’s cradle again, this time with my “Cyborg Manifesto” and then her He, She, and It. Cyborgs were never just about the interdigitations of humans and information machines; cyborgs were from the get-go the materialization of imploded (not hybridized) human beings-information machines-multispecies organisms. Cyborgs were always simultaneously relentlessly real and inescapably fabulated. Like all good SF, they redid what counts as—what is—real. The obligatory multispecies story-telling script was written in 1960 United States space research, when Manfred Clynes and Nathan Kline coined the word “cyborg” in an article about their implanted rats and the advantages of self-regulating human-machine systems in outer space."
speculativefiction  scifi  sciencefiction  donnaharaway  toread  speculativefabrication  isabellestrengers  alfrednorthwhitehead  knowledge  ideas  philosophy  anarchism  marilynstrathern  octaviabutler  manfredclynes  nathankline  cyborgs  joannaruss  samueldelany  evahayward  katieking  gregorybateson  historyofconsciousness  hiscon  herscam  jamestiptree  suzettehadenelgin  linguists  linguistics  johnvarley  fredjameson  suzymckeecharnass  ursulaleguin  worlding  cat'scradle  anthropology  ethnography  gwynethjones  heidegger  kant  multispecies  sheritepper  laurenoyaolamina  helenmerrick  margaretgrebowicz  dogs  animals  marleenbarr  marilynhacker  sarahlefanu  pamelasargent  viviansobchack  margaretatwood  vondamcintyre  ericrabkin  laurachernaik  sherrylvint  joshualebare  istvancsicsery-ronay  shulamithfirestone  judithmerril  franbartkowsky  2013 
october 2015 by robertogreco
Fight on to preserve Elfdalian, Sweden's lost forest language | ScienceNordic
"OPINION: Secret language has preserved linguistic features that are to be found nowhere else in Scandinavia."
languages  language  sweden  2015  scandinavia  linguistics  history 
october 2015 by robertogreco
Tumblr Staff — prismatic-bell: atomicairspace: copperbooms: ...
"
prismatic-bell:
atomicairspace:
copperbooms:
when did tumblr collectively decide not to use punctuation like when did this happen why is this a thing


it just looks so smooth I mean look at this sentence flow like a jungle river

ACTUALLY

This is really exciting, linguistically speaking.

Because it’s not true that Tumblr never uses punctuation. But it is true that lack of punctuation has become, itself, a form of punctuation. On Tumblr the lack of punctuation in multisentence-long posts creates the function of rhetorical speech, or speech that is not intended to have an answer, usually in the form of a question. Consider the following two potential posts. Each individual line should be taken as a post:

ugh is there any particular reason people at work have to take these massive handfuls of sauce packets they know they’re not going to use like god put that back we have to pay for that stuff

Ugh. Is there any particular reason people at work have to take these massive handfuls of sauce packets they know they’re not going to use? Like god, put that back. We have to pay for that stuff.

In your head, those two potential posts sound totally different. In the first one I’m ranting about work, and this requires no answer. The second may actually engage you to give an answer about hoarding sauce packets. And if you answer the first post, you will likely do so in the same style.

Here’s what makes this exciting: the English language has no actual punctuation for rhetorical speech–that is, there are no special marks that specifically indicate “this speech is in the abstract, and requires no answer.” Not only that, it never has. The first written record of English (actually proto-English, predating even Old English) dates to the 400s CE, so we’re talking about 1600 years of having absolutely no marker whatsoever for rhetorical speech.

A group of teens and young adults on a blogging website literally reshaped a deficit a millennium and a half old in our language to fit their language needs. More! This group has agreed on a more or less universal standard for these new rules, which fits the definition of “language.” Which is to say Tumblr English is its own actual, real, separate dialect of the English language, and because it is spoken by people worldwide who have introduced concepts from their own languages into it, it may qualify as a written form of pidgin.

Tumblr English should literally be treated as its own language, because it does not follow the rules of any form of formal written English, and yet it does have its own consistent internal rules. If you don’t think that’s cool as fuck then I don’t even know what to tell you."
language  tumblr  internet  english  grammar  via:robinsloan  pigdin  linguistics 
august 2015 by robertogreco
Toki Pona: A Language With a Hundred Words - The Atlantic
[Toki Pona website: http://tokipona.org/ ]

"In Chinese, the word computer translates directly as electric brain.

In Icelandic, a compass is a direction-shower, and a microscope a small-watcher.

In Lakota, horse is literally dog of wonder.

These neologisms demonstrate the cumulative quality of language, in which we use the known to describe the unknown.

“It is by metaphor that language grows,” writes the psychologist Julian Jaynes. “The common reply to the question ‘What is it?’ is, when the reply is difficult or the experience unique, ‘Well, it is like —.’”

That metaphorical process is at the heart of Toki Pona, the world’s smallest language. While the Oxford English Dictionary contains a quarter of a million entries, and even Koko the gorilla communicates with over 1,000 gestures in American Sign Language, the total vocabulary of Toki Pona is a mere 123 words. Yet, as the creator Sonja Lang and many other Toki Pona speakers insist, it is enough to express almost any idea. This economy of form is accomplished by reducing symbolic thought to its most basic elements, merging related concepts, and having single words perform multiple functions of speech.

In contrast to the hundreds or thousands of study hours required to attain fluency in other languages, a general consensus among Toki Pona speakers is that it takes about 30 hours to master. That ease of acquisition, many of them believe, makes it an ideal international auxiliary language—the realization of an ancient dream to return humanity to a pre-Babel unity. Toki Pona serves that function already for hundreds of enthusiasts connected via online communities in countries as diverse as Japan, Belgium, New Zealand, and Argentina.

In addition to making Toki Pona simple to learn, the language’s minimalist approach is also designed to change how its speakers think. The paucity of terms provokes a kind of creative circumlocution that requires careful attention to detail. An avoidance of set phrases keeps the process fluid. The result, according to Lang, is to immerse the speaker in the moment, in a state reminiscent of what Zen Buddhists call mindfulness.

“What is a car?” Lang mused recently via phone from her home in Toronto.

“You might say that a car is a space that's used for movement,” she proposed. “That would be tomo tawa. If you’re struck by a car though, it might be a hard object that’s hitting me. That’s kiwen utala.”

The real question is: What is a car to you?

As with most things in Toki Pona, the answer is relative.

“We wear many hats in life,” Lang continued, “One moment I might be a sister, the next moment a worker, or a writer. Things change and we have to adapt.”

The language’s dependence on subjectivity and context is also an exercise in perspective-taking. “You have to consider your interlocutor’s way of understanding the world, or situation,” the Polish citizen Marta Krzeminska stated. “For that reason, I think it has great potential for bringing people together.”

To create her new language, Lang worked backwards—against the trend of a natural lexicon. She began by reducing and consolidating the specific into the general."
language  english  linguistics  tokipona  rocmorin  2015  communication  vocabulary  minimalism  languages 
july 2015 by robertogreco
Michael Arcega - Lexical Borrowing: Saw Horse by the Sea Shore- Understanding Manifest Destiny2011Mat board, wood, found plastic bottles, river water, and mixed media4' x 7' x 3'
"This work describes lexical borrowing through the transformation of an American kayak into a Pacific outrigger canoe. Lexical borrowing is a linguistic process that contribute to the generation and changes in languages- a process that is essential for generating Pidgin and Creole languages. The structure, saw horses and table tops, obscures the boat models and the makeshift outrigger, suggesting instability and constant shift.

At the base of the saw horses is a make-shift outrigger that was made on the James River, VA. During an extremely rough tidal event, we fashioned this pontoon onto the American canoe- inspired by Baby, the Pacific outrigger canoe. This object is a material analog of how linguistic shifts occur."

[See also: “Baby (Medium for Intercultural Navigation)”
http://arcega.us/artwork/2258125_Baby_Medium_for_Intercultural_Navigation.html

"This work explores contact languages (Pidgins and Creoles known as Medium for Interethnic Communication) as a metaphor for intercultural navigation. Baby, the protagonist, is a tandem Bangka (Pacific outrigger canoe) derived from a mutation from a single plyak (plywood kayak- 50's era), and a collapsible kayak design.

Through the summer of 2011, Baby navigated numerous bodies of water across the United States. The first leg of Baby’s journey occurred on May 21, 2011 from Richmond, VA (seat of the Confederacy) and concluded near Jamestown, VA (the first successful British colony). Later Baby sailed in Chincoteage Bay, Pokemoke River, Mississippi River, Bayou St. John, Rio Grande/Pecos River, and San Francisco Bay.

Loosely imitating Lewis & Clark's expedition, this endeavor was to describe the people of the Nacirema. These plates, cultural artifacts, and water samples (not shown) were collected during this time. These artifacts serve as a cultural constellation for navigation."]
michaelarcega  art  language  boats  kayaks  2011  instability  change  borrowing  linguistics 
june 2015 by robertogreco
The habitual be: Why cookie monster be eating cookies, whether he is eating cookies or not.
"Who be eating cookies? That’s the question that the University of Maryland at Baltimore’s Janice Jackson asked children in a now-famous study on “the habitual be.” Have you heard of this creature? Though it sounds like the yellowjacket perpetually hard at work on your hydrangea, it is not. It is but one way in which African-American English (AAE, to linguists) adds nuance to traditional verb forms, and it is the reason that “she be walking the dog” signifies differently to different listeners.

If you are speaking so-called white English, “Mara be walking the dog” means the same thing as “Mara is walking the dog.” If you are communicating in AAE, “Mara be walking the dog” says that Mara customarily walks the dog—that dog-walking has some definitional sway over her daily existence. It doesn’t guarantee that she is out walking the dog at this moment.

In that 2005 University of Maryland at Baltimore study, groups of black and white children were shown images from Sesame Street. In the crucial picture, a sick Cookie Monster languished in bed without any cookies, while Elmo stood nearby eating a cookie. “Who is eating cookies?” Jackson asked her test subjects, and all of them indicated Elmo. “Who be eating cookies?” Jackson then asked. The white kids replied that it was Elmo, while the black kids pointed to Cookie Monster. After all, it is the existential state of Cookie Monster to be eating cookies, while Elmo just happened to be earing a cookie at that moment. Cookie Monster, to those conversant in AAE, be eating cookies, whether he is eating cookies or not. The kids in Jackson’s experiment picked up on the subtle difference when they were as young as five or six.  

Other features of AAE—a dialect individuals might move in and out of at will—include copula absence (the omission of certain forms of “to be,” as in “they angry” instead of “they are angry,” or the currently vogueish Twitter declaration “it me”) and the deletion of s’s after third person singular verbs. (Think “Hulk smash,” not “Hulk smashes.”) But the meaning of such variations is relatively transparent regardless of your comfort level with AAE. The habitual be seems slyer, not just a simple signifier of black speech (though it’s been used to that purpose) but a separate, specialized verb tense masquerading as a “standard” one. Gaelic, Jackson pointed out, also uses verb forms that distinguish between habitual action and currently occurring action. The habitual be be reminding us of the richness of English’s many dialects."
language  aae  african-americanenglish  us  linguistics  2015  habitualbe  dialects  tense  verbs 
june 2015 by robertogreco
The future of the Icelandic language may lie in its past | Public Radio International
"But is it true? Has the language really not changed? Yes and no.

“If the people of Iceland create their own myth that this is the same language that we had in the old times, it’s going to be perhaps borne out,” University of Iceland linguist Kristján Árnason.

If everyone buys into the idea that the language isn’t evolving, then it won’t evolve. Or at least, you can put the brakes on it.

You can form committees to retrieve words from the past and recycle them in modern usage. So the language does evolve — but with a guiding hand.

That’s been tried elsewhere, usually with a heavier hand. Government-appointed scholars insisting on keeping their language old school — no modernizations, no bastardizations. But, of course, the people often ignore them, they speak how they want to speak.

In Iceland, the scholars are more like practitioners, knitware store owners and the like — they are the people. And nearly everyone buys into it.

“The idea of a language which is a treasure, something that we have to preserve has been very strong in Iceland,” says Árnason. “And with this comes purism, trying to keep the language pure.”

Ok, so the word ‘pure’ can be creepy. Flip the conversation from language to, say, ethnicity — and it can become the rhetoric of racism.

But most Icelanders believe that purity of language should be valued. The tongue they speak, they believe, has advantages over the likes of English, which has adopted foreign words, and maybe lost something along the way.

This policy of linguistic purity amounts to a refusal to lose words — or rather, the loss is temporary, thanks to the knitters, and all those other committees that are unearthing all those long-forgotten expressions.

“I thought it would be so difficult, that it would take us weeks to find one good word,” says knitware store owner Henttinen. “But when we started talking about it, good words emerged. So it was surprising to me how easy it was.”

Not so easy really — but that’s how Icelanders use their language to maintain of an intimate connection with the past."
iceland  language  icelandic  2015  linguistics  purity  history 
june 2015 by robertogreco
The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Vowels
"How many vowels have you used today?

Five? Ten? Likely thousands.

But when was the last time you stopped to think about how those vowels live? These vowels have friends, family, and natural classes, but yet they never hesitate to resonate for you in your time of need.

Yet every day, vowels are bought and sold on national television, subjected to reduction (or even deletion) in unstressed environments and worst of all, in elementary and middle schools, students are systematically taught to deny the existence of more than two thirds of their ranks, focusing instead on five (sometimes six) lies spread by the million-dollar-a-year spelling bee industry.

Vowels are under threat, not just in schools, not just on TV, but in syllables in our very own words. Read on to hear heartbreaking tales of vowels in danger around the world.

The War on Vowels in Schools

“A, E, I, O, U and sometimes Y”. This is the battle cry of a vile revisionist movement, a policy instituted by a shady cabal of scribes, printers, teachers and spelling-bee industry insiders.

Rather than telling our children of all the wonderful vowel qualities that they produce on a regular basis, teachers instead teach only the “letters”, orthographic representations designed to disguise the true nature of our speech. These so-called “letters”, A, E, I, O, U and Y are diphthongs in disguise, vowel/glide packages designed to cover up the 16 legitimate English vowels and keep them hidden from inquiring young minds.

So instead of acknowledging the spoken vowels which so enrich our lives and provide nuclei for the syllables we use everyday, our school systems continue to propagate these lies, while hosting events for the lucrative spelling bee industry in the very same buildings.

You wouldn’t accept a history book which doesn’t mention the Renaissance. You wouldn’t teach a chemistry course without discussing the Periodic Table. So why would we allow these so-called “English Teachers” to discuss our language without mention of a single schwa? Don’t revise history, don’t hide our grammar. Tell our schoolchildren the truth.

Our children are our most important resource. Don’t you think they should get all the vowels they deserve?"
vowels  linguistics  english  language  spelling  willstyler  humor 
april 2015 by robertogreco
Conversation in Truro about accent, dialect and attitudes to language. - BBC Voices - Accents and dialects | British Library - Sounds
[via: “Chacking to hear some Cornish dialects?”
http://britishlibrary.typepad.co.uk/sound-and-vision/2015/03/chacking-to-hear-some-cornish-dialects.html ]

[See also:
"The BBC Voices Recordings is an audio archive of group conversations made in 303 locations across the UK by BBC Local and Nations Radio in 2004 and 2005. The recordings involve 1,293 speakers discussing their words for 40 prompt terms (e.g. 'mother', 'tired' and 'to play truant') and exploring the language they use and encounter in their daily lives."
http://www.bl.uk/reshelp/bldept/socsci/research/voicesuk/voices.html ]

"Abstract
[00:00:00] Speakers introduce themselves. Discussion of words used to describe EMOTIONS. Comment that her hairdressing voice is very polite. Mention multiple meanings of hanging and minging. Discussion about speaking differently when talking to different people: friends/clients/parents, use of slang. Description of fathers Cornish accent, swear words he uses. Things that make them jumping (annoyed). Comment that she has picked up the Cornish phrase cheers my lover, used to address boyfriend, since moving to Cornwall.[00:07:38] Discussion of words used to describe ACTIONS. Anecdote about playing truant from school, playing truant from college during second year. Discussion about meaning, use and offensiveness of twatted.[00:11:44] Discussion of words used to describe CLOTHING. Description of clothes they wear when clubbing. Discussion about attitudes towards cheap, trendy clothes, designer labels and fakes; different fashion expectations for boys/girls, their shopping habits. Discussion of words used to mean lacking money/rich. Description of plimsolls, compulsory footwear for physical education when they were at school, comment that her six-year old cousin now wears Nike trainers for physical education at school.[00:17:58] Discussion of words used to describe PERSONAL ATTRIBUTES. Comment that as hairdressers they have to get used to using both right and left hands. Description of person who is hanging/munting/minging meaning extremely unattractive; clothes skaters wear which she thinks look awful. Discussion about subtle differences in meaning between pretty/attractive/stunning/gorgeous used to describe females, examples of women who fit each category. Description of how she reacts to rude customers.[00:28:00] Discussion of words used to describe WEATHER AND SURROUNDINGS. Comment that peoples speech reveals their age. Discussion about words they would/wouldnt use to describe different types of relationships with men, words used to describe promiscuous woman, words used to mean male partner. Discussion about what they would say to each other on seeing a man they really like in a nightclub, euphemisms used when working behind bar in nightclub; words used by men to describe women they like, how they would feel if these words were used to describe them; words used by males/females to describe wanting to have sex with someone, comment that females arent more reserved but they describe it more politely than males who use more boastful language, possibly because male/female sexual activity is judged differently by other people. Mention words used to describe being desperate to go to the toilet.[00:40:55] Discussion of words used to describe PEOPLE AND THINGS. Mention words used to mean father. Use and meaning of Cornish word dreckly.[00:49:25] Discussion about their attitudes towards the way they speak and the words they use, changing speech in different situations/when talking to different people. Attitudes towards regional accents, description of their own accents, attitudes towards Cornish accent, difference between accent of old/young Cornish people, Cornish language, accents that sound educated, how language relates to class. Comment that David Beckhams voice doesnt match his appearance. Discussion about other peoples attitudes towards and assumptions about Cornish accent, changing/losing accent over generations/when moving across country, future of Cornish accent/regional accents, regional accents on television, how accent changes across Cornwall, pride in their accents, pride in being Cornish.

Description
All three interviewees are hairdressers who are also keen clubbers and very good friends. BBC warning: this interview contains strong or offensive language. Recording made for BBC Voices project of a conversation guided by a BBC interviewer. The conversation follows a loose structure based on eliciting opinions about accents, dialects, the words we use and people's attitude to language."
truro  language  accents  dialects  english  cornish  2004  linguistics  slang  words  uk  cornwall  voices 
march 2015 by robertogreco
8 pronunciation errors that made the English language what it is today | David Shariatmadari | Comment is free | The Guardian
"The point is malapropisms and mispronunciations are fairly common. The 20-volume Oxford English Dictionary lists 171,476 words as being in common use. But the average person's vocabulary is tens of thousands smaller, and the number of words they use every day smaller still. There are bound to be things we've read or are vaguely familiar with, but not able to pronounce as we are supposed to.

The term "supposed" opens up a whole different debate, of course. Error is the engine of language change, and today's mistake could be tomorrow's vigorously defended norm. There are lots of wonderful examples of alternative pronunciations or missteps that have become standard usage. Here are some of my favourites, complete with fancy technical names.

Words that used to begin with "n"
Adder, apron and umpire all used to start with an "n". Constructions like "A nadder" or "Mine napron" were so common the first letter was assumed to be part of the preceding word. Linguists call this kind of thing reanalysis or rebracketing.

When sounds swap around
Wasp used to be waps; bird used to be brid and horse used to be hros. Remember this when the next time you hear someone complaining about aks for ask or nucular for nuclear, or even perscription. It's called metathesis, and it's a very common, perfectly natural process.

When sounds disappear
English spelling can be a pain, but it's also a repository of information about the history of pronunciation. Are we being lazy when we say the name of the third day of the working week? Our ancestors might have thought so. Given that it was once "Woden's day" (named after the Norse god), the "d" isn't just for decoration, and was pronounced up until relatively recently. Who now says the "t" in Christmas? It must have been there at one point, as the messiah wasn't actually called Chris. These are examples of syncope.

When sounds intrude
Our anatomy can make some changes more likely than others. The simple mechanics of moving from a nasal sound ("m" or "n") to a non-nasal one can make a consonant pop up in-between. Thunder used to be "thuner", and empty "emty". You can see the same process happening now with words like hamster, which often gets pronounced with an intruding "p". This is a type of epenthesis.

When "l" goes dark
A dark "l", in linguistic jargon, is one pronounced with the back of the tongue raised. In English, it is found after vowels, as in the words full or pole. This tongue raising can go so far that the "l" ends up sounding like a "w". People frown on this in non-standard dialects such as cockney ("the ol' bill"). But the "l" in folk, talk and walk used to be pronounced. Now almost everyone uses a "w" instead- we effectively say fowk, tawk and wawk. This process is called velarisation.

Ch-ch-ch-changes
Your grandmother might not like the way you pronounce tune. She might place a delicate "y" sound before the vowel, saying tyune where you would say chune. The same goes for other words like tutor or duke. But this process, called affrication, is happening, like it or not. Within a single generation it has pretty much become standard English.

What the folk?
Borrowing from other languages can give rise to an entirely understandable and utterly charming kind of mistake. With little or no knowledge of the foreign tongue, we go for an approximation that makes some kind of sense in terms of both sound and meaning. This is folk etymology. Examples include crayfish, from the French écrevisse (not a fish but a kind of lobster); sparrow grass as a variant for asparagus in some English dialects; muskrat (conveniently musky, and a rodent, but named because of the Algonquin word muscascus meaning red); and female, which isn't a derivative of male at all, but comes from old French femelle meaning woman.

Spelling it like it is
As we've mentioned, English spelling can be a pain. That is mainly because our language underwent some seismic sound changes after the written forms of many words had been more or less settled. But just to confuse matters, spelling can reassert itself, with speakers taking their cue from the arrangement of letters on the page rather than what they hear. This is called spelling pronunciation. In Norwegian, "sk" is pronounced "sh". So early English-speaking adopters of skiing actually went shiing. Once the rest of us started reading about it in magazines we just said it how it looked. Influenced by spelling, some Americans are apparently starting to pronounce the "l" in words like balm and psalm (something which actually reflects a much earlier pronunciation).

My head is spinning now, so it's over to you. Which words do you mispronounce, and which common mispronunciations do you think we should resign ourselves to? And please share your most toe-curling linguistic gaffes below."

[via: http://boingboing.net/2014/03/12/english-mispronunciations-that.html ]
english  language  linguistics  pronunciation  change  history  2015  davidshariatmadari 
march 2015 by robertogreco
That Way We’re All Writing Now — The Message — Medium
"[When you(r)…
That moment when…]

This style has been huge for some time now. Do you love it, or hate it?

Me—I’m in! Mind you, I’m a fan of all the betentacled linguistic lifeforms that have emerged from our cambrian explosion online. These days, people write insanely more text than they did before the Internet and mobile phones came along. So the volume of experimentation is correspondingly massive and, for me, delightful. One joy of our age is watching wordplay evolve at the pace of E.coli.

But this trend: What’s going on with it? How does it work? Why do people employ it so frequently?

It turns out there are four big reasons why.

To suss this out, I called up some linguists: Gretchen McCulloch, a who specializes in analyzing netspeak (her Toast essay explaining “the grammar of Doge” is a gorgeous example), and Ben Zimmer, a linguist with Vocabulary.com who writes for the Wall Street Journal. As they pointed out, this style of wordplay initially appeared—like most online memes — on image-boards, Tumblr and Youtube. An early version was the meme “that feel when”; variants morphed into the standalone phrase “that awkward moment when”, which by last year was common enough to appear as a movie title.

But it’s more than just movie titles. This stylistic gambit— “that moment when …”, “the thing where …”, “when you realize …” — is omnipresent now. And that’s because it achieves a few conversational goals:

1) It creates a little puzzle. …

2) It makes your feeling seem universal. …

3) It’s short. …

4) It’s a glimpse of the next big way the Internet is changing language. …

For the first fifteen years of the mainstream Internet, the main way language changed was at the level of the individual word. We invented a lot of ‘textisms’ — short forms like ‘ur’ for “you’re”, LOL-style acronyms, or alphanumeric l33tspe@k. And of course, a lot of words got invented, like “selfie”.

What’s happening now is different. Now we’re messing around with syntax — the structure of sentences, the order in which the various parts go and how they relate to one another. This stuff people are doing with the subordinate clause, it’s pretty sophisticated, and oddly deep. We’re not just inventing catchy new words. We’re mucking around with what makes a sentence a sentence.

“Playing with syntax seems to be the broad meta trend behind a whole bunch of stuff that’s going on these days,” McCulloch tells me. And it goes beyond this subordinate-clause trend. Many of the biggest recent language memes were about syntax experimentation, such as the “i’ve lost the ability to can” gambit, or the gnarly elocution of doge, or the “because” meme. (Indeed, Zimmer points out, the American Dialect Society proclaimed “Because” the Word of the Year for 2013, largely because it had been revitalized by this syntax play.)

Why would we be suddenly messing around with syntax? It’s not clear. McCulloch thinks it may be related to a larger trend she’s identified, which she calls “stylized verbal incoherence mirroring emotional incoherence”. Most of these syntax-morphing memes consist of us trying to find clever new ways to express our feelings.

“You want to convey that you’re kind of overwhelmed by your emotions,” she says. “But you don’t want people to think that you’re completely naive about it. So you’re maintaining a certain level of sophistication. You need to stylize your incoherence, so that it’s part of a broader thing people are doing. You don’t just kind of keysmash all over the place. You also want to be witty while you’re doing it.

“You get more attention online if you’re witty, and people actually engage with you if you’re witty about your feelings.”

On the other hand, if you really don’t like this trend, there is—as it happens —an image-meme for your feelings, too. Better yet, it’s a complete sentence!"
clivethompson  2015  language  internet  memes  syntax  linguistics  writing  howwewrite  gretchenmcculloch  doge  grammar  text  texting  play  communication  brevity  universality  belonging  humor  emotions  benzimmer  wordplay  words  sentences  that 
march 2015 by robertogreco
Wordly Treasures – The New Inquiry
"The colonized owe nothing, not even words, to their colonizers."



"These languages are not the world’s, these treasures are “theirs,” not “ours.” Languages belong to their speakers, as do the intellectual traditions and cultural complexes they encode and preserve. Support, or even enthusiastic commitment to language preservation, if predicated solely on values of humanism and universality, replicates the colonizing, imperial moves that continue to push these communities to marginalization, subalterity, and death. Australians, Hawaiians, and the Welsh do not owe their cultures and languages to anyone but themselves, and the rights of a culture are not contingent on certain of their artifacts’ circulation in depoliticized market of ideas or some similar multiculturalist fantasy. The turn toward native language reclamation and revitalization in Wales, Hawai’i, or Austrailia does not hinge on the pleasures of the Anglophone imagination, but represent the application, in that rarefied space of organic virtuality where humans’ signifying behavior occurs, of a complex of strategies devised by indigenous communities for effective decolonization and national liberation.

Besides their exonyms—names applied by neighbors and colonizers—many indigenous languages have an internal name, which speakers use to refer to their tongue in private. Often, this name translates to simply “true speech,” or “human speech.” Even in regions rich in linguistic diversity, even when they themselves are fluent polyglots, people will continue to say, each in their own language, “We, it is we who are special,” if only to hear themselves say it.

Upholding indigenous communities’ rights to linguistic self-determination necessarily entails upholding the right to self-determination in all aspects of social, political and economic life, however much their exercise might disturb, baffle, or otherwise ignore Western sensibilities. The colonized owe nothing, not even words, to their colonizers. In a humorous, telling moment near the film’s conclusion, Bob Holman asks Lolena Nicholas, one of the first teachers in the first punana leo, Hawaiian language immersion schools founded in the 1980s, if she thinks about the possibility of Hawaiian dying out. “There is a chance it might be,” he insists. Nicholas replies curtly, “‘A‘ole paha,” “maybe not.” Holman takes it in stride, and Nicholas’s interpreter makes a joke, at which Nicholas, in a casual act of ethnographic refusal, does not smile."
language  languages  2015  franciscosalaspérez  colonization  decolonization  ownership  liberation  davidgrubin  bobholman  resilience  self-organization  linguistics  languagematters  endangeredlanguagealliance  film  kdavidharrison  danielkaufman  rossperlin  capitalism  colonialism  preservation  refusal  ethnographicrefusal 
february 2015 by robertogreco
Random thoughts on Charlie Hebdo | Snakes and Ladders
"1) I don’t think the most important question about what happened is “Do we support Charlie Hebdo?” I think the most important question is, “Do we support, and are we willing to fight for, a society in which people who make things like Charlie Hebdo can work in peace and sleep in their beds each night without fear?”

2) Freddie deBoer wrote,
Peter Beinart and Ross Douthat and Jon Chait and hundreds more will take the time in the week to come to beat their chests and declare themselves firmly committed to brave ideas like “murder is bad” and “free speech is good.” None of them, if pressed, would pretend that we are at risk of abandoning our commitment against murder or in favor of free speech. None of them think that, in response to this attack, we or France or any other industrialized nation is going to pass a bill declaring criticism of Islam illegal.


That last sentence is true enough, as far as it goes. But it doesn’t go nearly far enough. The measure of freedom of speech in a society is not simply a matter of what laws are or are not passed. We must also ask which existing laws are or are not enforced; and what self-censorship people perform out of fear that their societies will not or cannot protect them. Freddie writes as though freedom of speech can be adequately evaluated only by reference to the situation de jure; but there are de facto issues that must also be considered.

3) One of the more interesting comments on this whole affair is that of Giles Fraser:
In one sense an iconoclast is someone who refuses the established view of things, who kicks out against cherished beliefs and institutions. Which sounds pretty much like Charlie Hebdo. But the word iconoclast also describes those religious people who refuse and smash representational images, especially of the divine. The second of the Ten Commandments prohibits graven images – which is why there are no pictures of God in Judaism or Islam. And theologically speaking, the reason they are deeply suspicious of divine representation is because they fear that such representations of God might get confused for the real thing. The danger, they believe, is that we might end up overinvesting in a bad copy, something that looks a lot like what we might think of as god, but which, in reality, is just a human projection. So much better then to smash all representations of the divine.

And yet this, of course, is exactly what Charlie Hebdo was doing. In the bluntest, rudest, most scatological and offensive of terms, Charlie Hebdo has been insisting that the images people worship are just human creations – bad and dangerous human creations. And in taking the piss out of such images, they actually exist in a tradition of religious iconoclasts going back as far as Abraham taking a hammer to his father’s statues. Both are attacks on representations of the divine. Which is why the terrorists, as well as being murderers, are theologically mistaken in thinking Charlie Hebdo is the enemy. For if God is fundamentally unrepresentable, then any representation of God is necessarily less than God and thus deserves to be fully and fearlessly attacked. And what better way of doing this than through satire, like scribbling a little moustache on a grand statue of God.


I would love to agree with this, but can’t quite. All iconoclasm is not alike. Reading Fraser’s essay I found myself remembering Mikhail Bakhtin’s great essay “From the Prehistory of Novelistic Discourse,” in which he compares ancient and medieval parody with its modern equivalent.
Ancient parody was free of any nihilistic denial. It was not, after all, the heroes who were parodied, nor the Trojan War and its participants; what was parodied was only its epic heroization; not Hercules and his exploits but their tragic heroization. The genre itself, the style, the language are all put in cheerfully irreverent quotation marks, and they are perceived against a backdrop of contradictory reality that cannot be confined within their narrow frames. The direct and serious word was revealed, in all its limitations and insufficiency, only after it had become the laughing image of that word — but it was by no means discredited in the process.


By contrast, “in modem times the functions of parody are narrow and unproductive. Parody has grown sickly, its place in modem literature is insignificant. We live, write and speak today in a world of free and democratized language: the complex and multi-leveled hierarchy of discourses, forms, images, styles that used to permeate the entire system of official language and linguistic consciousness was swept away by the linguistic revolution of the Renaissance.” Parody for us is too often merely iconoclastic, breaking images out of juvenile delight in breaking, not out of commitment to a reality too heteroglot (Bakhtin’s term) to fit within the confines of standardized religious practices. I think Charlie Hebdo is juvenile in this way.

But feel free agree with that judgment or not — it’s not germane. As I said, the truly vital question here is not whether the magazine’s satire is worthwhile. The truly vital question is how badly — if at all — we want to live in a society where people who make such magazines can live without fear of losing their lives."
alanjacobs  charliehebdo  2015  satire  politics  gilesfraser  mikhailbakhtin  heroes  heroization  heteroglots  parody  society  freddiedeboer  freedom  #JeSuisCharlieHebdo  france  freespeech  freedomofspeech  islam  gravenimages  middleages  medieval  renaissance  power  language  linguistics  religion  #JeSuisCharlie 
january 2015 by robertogreco
Talk to Your Kids: The poorer parents are, the less they talk with their children. The mayor of Providence is trying to close the “word gap.”
"Providence Talks had its critics, some of whom thought that the program seemed too intrusive. The A.C.L.U. raised questions about what would happen to the recordings, and one of the organization’s Rhode Island associates, Hillary Davis, told National Journal, “There’s always a concern when we walk in with technology into lower-income families, immigrant populations, minority populations, and we say, ‘This will help you.’ ” She continued, “We don’t necessarily recognize the threat to their own safety or liberty that can accidentally come along with that.”

Others charged that Providence Talks was imposing middle-class cultural values on poorer parents who had their own valid approaches to raising children, and argued that the program risked faulting parents for their children’s academic shortcomings while letting schools off the hook. Nobody contested the fact that, on average, low-income children entered kindergarten with fewer scholastic skills than kids who were better off, but there were many reasons for the disparity, ranging from poor nutrition to chaotic living conditions to the absence of a preschool education. In a caustic essay titled “Selling the Language Gap,” which was published in Anthropology News, Susan Blum, of Notre Dame, and Kathleen Riley, of Fordham, called Providence Talks an example of “silver-bullet thinking,” the latest in a long history of “blame-the-victim approaches to language and poverty.”

To some scholars, the program’s emphasis on boosting numbers made it seem as though the quality of conversation didn’t matter much. As James Morgan, a developmental psycholinguist at Brown University, put it, obsessive word counting might lead parents to conclude that “saying ‘doggy, doggy, doggy, doggy’ is more meaningful than saying ‘doggy.’ ” Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, a psychologist at Temple University, told me that Hart and Risley had “done a very important piece of work that pointed to a central problem”; nevertheless, their findings had often been interpreted glibly, as if the solution were to let words “just wash over a child, like the background noise of a TV.” Her own research, including a recent paper written with Lauren Adamson and other psychologists, points to the importance of interactions between parents and children in which they are both paying attention to the same thing—a cement mixer on the street, a picture in a book—and in which the ensuing conversation (some of which might be conducted in gestures) is fluid and happens over days, even weeks. “It’s not just serve and return,” Hirsh-Pasek said. “It’s serve and return—and return and return.”

The original Hart and Risley research, whose data set had only six families in the poorest category, was also called into question. Mark Liberman, a linguist at the University of Pennsylvania, said, “Do low-income people talk with their kids less? Well, that’s a question about millions of people. Think of people in the survey business, trying to predict elections or develop a marketing campaign. They would find it laughable to draw conclusions without a large randomized sample.” Encouraging adults to talk more to children was all to the good, Liberman said, but it was important to remember that “there are some wealthy people who don’t talk to their children much and some poor people who talk a lot.”

Indeed, recent research that supports Hart and Risley’s work has found a great deal of variability within classes. In 2006, researchers at the LENA Foundation recorded the conversations of three hundred and twenty-nine families, who were divided into groups by the mothers’ education level, a reasonable proxy for social class. Like Hart and Risley, the LENA researchers determined that, on average, parents who had earned at least a B.A. spoke more around their children than other parents: 14,926 words per day versus 12,024. (They attributed Hart and Risley’s bigger gap to the fact that they had recorded families only during the late afternoon and the evening—when families talk most—and extrapolated.) But the LENA team also found that some of the less educated parents spoke a lot more than some of the highly educated parents.

Anne Fernald, a psychologist at Stanford, has published several papers examining the influence of socioeconomic status on children’s language development. In one recent study, Fernald, with a colleague, Adriana Weisleder, and others, identified “large disparities” among socioeconomic groups in “infants’ language processing, speech production, and vocabulary.” But they also found big differences among working-class families, both in terms of “the children’s language proficiency and the parents’ verbal engagement with the child.” Fernald, who sits on the scientific advisory board for Providence Talks, told me, “Some of the wealthiest families in our research had low word counts, possibly because they were on their gadgets all day. So you can see an intermingling at the extremes of rich and poor. Socioeconomic status is not destiny.”

In response to the privacy concerns, Mayor Taveras and his team volunteered their own households to be the first ones recorded. They also guaranteed that the LENA Foundation’s software would erase the recordings after the algorithm analyzed the data. Though this probably reassured some families, it also disappointed some scholars. “That’s a huge amount of data being thrown out!” James Morgan, of Brown, told me. “There were real concerns whether families would participate otherwise. But as a scientist it breaks my heart.”

To those who argued that Providence Talks embodied cultural imperialism, staff members responded that, on the contrary, they were “empowering” parents with knowledge. Andrea Riquetti, the Providence Talks director, told me, “It really is our responsibility to let families know what it takes to succeed in the culture they live in. Which may not necessarily be the same as the culture they have. But it’s their choice whether they decide to. It’s not a case of our saying, ‘You have to do this.’ ” Riquetti grew up in Quito, Ecuador, came to America at the age of seventeen, and worked for many years as a kindergarten teacher in Providence schools. In Latino culture, she said, “the school is seen as being in charge of teaching children their letters and all that, while parents are in charge of discipline—making sure they listen and they’re good and they sit still. Parents don’t tend, overall, to give children a lot of choices and options. It’s kind of like ‘I rule the roost so that you can behave and learn at school.’ ” The Providence Talks approach “is a little more like ‘No, your child and what they have to say is really important.’ And having them feel really good about themselves as opposed to passive about their learning is important, because that’s what’s going to help them succeed in this culture.”

Riquetti and the Providence Talks team didn’t seem troubled by the concerns that Hart and Risley’s data set wasn’t robust enough. Although no subsequent study has found a word gap as large as thirty million, several of them have found that children in low-income households have smaller vocabularies than kids in higher-income ones. This deficit correlates with the quantity and the quality of talk elicited by the adults at home, and becomes evident quite early—in one study, when some kids were eighteen months old. Lack of conversation wasn’t the only reason that low-income kids started out behind in school, but it was certainly a problem.

The biggest question was whether Providence Talks could really change something as personal, casual, and fundamental as how people talk to their babies. Erika Hoff, of Florida Atlantic University, told me, “In some ways, parenting behavior clearly can change. I have a daughter who has a baby now and she does everything differently from how I did it—putting babies to sleep on their backs, not giving them milk till they’re a year old. But patterns of interacting are different. You’re trying to get people to change something that seems natural to them and comes from a fairly deep place. I don’t know how malleable that is.”

After decades of failed educational reforms, few policymakers are naïve enough to believe that a single social intervention could fully transform disadvantaged children’s lives. The growing economic inequality in America is too entrenched, too structural. But that’s hardly an argument for doing nothing. Although improvements in test scores associated with preschool programs fade as students proceed through elementary school, broader benefits can be seen many years later. A few oft-cited studies have shown that low-income kids who attended high-quality preschool programs were more likely to graduate from high school and less likely to become pregnant as teen-agers or to be incarcerated; they also earned more money, on average, than peers who were not in such programs. Such data suggest that a full assessment of Providence Talks will take decades to complete."
class  language  cultue  education  parenting  2015  margarettalbot  headstart  bettyhart  toddrisley  nclb  learning  vocabulary  rttt  policy  angeltaveras  providence  rhodeisland  conversation  words  children  howwelearn  providencetalks  andreariquetti  jamesmorgan  linguistics  annettelareau  patriciakuhl  richardweissbourd  debate  verbalacuity  advocacy  self-advocacy  academics  schoolreadiness  kennethwong 
january 2015 by robertogreco
There is no language instinct – Vyvyan Evans – Aeon
"For decades, the idea of a language instinct has dominated linguistics. It is simple, powerful and completely wrong"



"In the 1960s, the US linguist and philosopher Noam Chomsky offered what looked like a solution. He argued that children don’t in fact learn their mother tongue – or at least, not right down to the grammatical building blocks (the whole process was far too quick and painless for that). He concluded that they must be born with a rudimentary body of grammatical knowledge – a ‘Universal Grammar' – written into the human DNA. With this hard-wired predisposition for language, it should be a relatively trivial matter to pick up the superficial differences between, say, English and French. The process works because infants have an instinct for language: a grammatical toolkit that works on all languages the world over.

At a stroke, this device removes the pain of learning one’s mother tongue, and explains how a child can pick up a native language in such a short time. It’s brilliant. Chomsky’s idea dominated the science of language for four decades. And yet it turns out to be a myth. A welter of new evidence has emerged over the past few years, demonstrating that Chomsky is plain wrong.

But let’s back up a little. There’s one point that everyone agrees upon: our species exhibits a clear biological preparedness for language. Our brains really are ‘language-ready’ in the following limited sense: they have the right sort of working memory to process sentence-level syntax, and an unusually large prefrontal cortex that gives us the associative learning capacity to use symbols in the first place. Then again, our bodies are language-ready too: our larynx is set low relative to that of other hominid species, letting us expel and control the passage of air. And the position of the tiny hyoid bone in our jaws gives us fine muscular control over our mouths and tongues, enabling us to make as the 144 distinct speech sounds heard in some languages. No one denies that these things are thoroughly innate, or that they are important to language.

What is in dispute is the claim that knowledge of language itself – the language software – is something that each human child is born with. Chomsky’s idea is this: just as we grow distinctive human organs – hearts, brains, kidneys and livers – so we grow language in the mind, which Chomsky likens to a ‘language organ’. This organ begins to emerge early in infancy. It contains a blueprint for all the possible sets of grammar rules in all the world’s languages. And so it is child’s play to pick up any naturally occurring human language. A child born in Tokyo learns to speak Japanese while one born in London picks up English, and on the surface these languages look very different. But underneath, they are essentially the same, running on a common grammatical operating system. The Canadian cognitive scientist Steven Pinker has dubbed this capacity our ‘language instinct’.

There are two basic arguments for the existence of this language instinct. The first is the problem of poor teachers. As Chomsky pointed out in 1965, children seem to pick up their mother tongue without much explicit instruction. When they say: ‘Daddy, look at the sheeps,’ or ‘Mummy crossed [ie, is cross with] me,’ their parents don’t correct their mangled grammar, they just marvel at how cute they are. Furthermore, such seemingly elementary errors conceal amazing grammatical accomplishments. Somehow, the child understands that there is a lexical class – nouns – that can be singular or plural, and that this distinction doesn’t apply to other lexical classes.

This sort of knowledge is not explicitly taught; most parents don’t have any explicit grammar training themselves. And it’s hard to see how children could work out the rules just by listening closely: it seems fundamental to grasping how a language works. To know that there are nouns, which can be pluralised, and which are distinct from, say, verbs, is where the idea of a language instinct really earns its keep. Children don’t have to figure out everything from scratch: certain basic distinctions come for free."



"In his book The Language Instinct (1994), Steven Pinker examined various suggestive language pathologies in order to make the case for just such a dissociation. For example, some children suffer from what is known as Specific Language Impairment (SLI) – their general intellect seems normal but they struggle with particular verbal tasks, stumbling on certain grammar rules and so on. That seems like a convincing smoking gun – or it would, if it hadn’t turned out that SLI is really just an inability to process fine auditory details. It is a consequence of a motor deficit, in other words, rather than a specifically linguistic one. Similar stories can be told about each of Pinker’s other alleged dissociations: the verbal problems always turn out to be rooted in something other than language."



"Stop and think about this: it is a very weird idea. For one thing, Chomsky’s claim is that language came about through a macro-mutation: a discontinuous jump. But this is at odds with the modern neo-Darwinian synthesis, widely accepted as fact, which has no place for such large-scale and unprecedented leaps. Adaptations just don’t pop up fully formed. Moreover, a bizarre consequence of Chomsky’s position is that language couldn’t have evolved for the purpose of communication: after all, even if a grammar gene could have sprung up out of the blue in one lucky individual (already vanishingly unlikely), the chances of two individuals getting the same chance mutation, at exactly the same time, is even less credible. And so, according to the theory of the language instinct, the world’s first language-equipped human presumably had no one to talk to."



"According to the US comparative psychologist Michael Tomasello, by the time the common ancestor of Homo sapiens and Homo neanderthalensis had emerged sometime around 300,000 years ago, ancestral humans had already developed a sophisticated type of co‑operative intelligence. This much is evident from the archaeological record, which demonstrates the complex social living and interactional arrangements among ancestral humans. They probably had symbol use – which prefigures language – and the ability to engage in recursive thought (a consequence, on some accounts, of the slow emergence of an increasingly sophisticated symbolic grammar). Their new ecological situation would have led, inexorably, to changes in human behaviour. Tool-use would have been required, and co‑operative hunting, as well as new social arrangements – such as agreements to safeguard monogamous breeding privileges while males were away on hunts.

These new social pressures would have precipitated changes in brain organisation. In time, we would see a capacity for language. Language is, after all, the paradigmatic example of co‑operative behaviour: it requires conventions – norms that are agreed within a community – and it can be deployed to co‑ordinate all the additional complex behaviours that the new niche demanded.

From this perspective, we don’t have to assume a special language instinct; we just need to look at the sorts of changes that made us who we are, the changes that paved the way for speech. This allows us to picture the emergence of language as a gradual process from many overlapping tendencies. It might have begun as a sophisticated gestural system, for example, only later progressing to its vocal manifestations. But surely the most profound spur on the road to speech would have been the development of our instinct for co‑operation. By this, I don’t mean to say that we always get on. But we do almost always recognise other humans as minded creatures, like us, who have thoughts and feelings that we can attempt to influence.

We see this instinct at work in human infants as they attempt to acquire their mother tongue. Children have far more sophisticated learning capacities than Chomsky foresaw. They are able to deploy sophisticated intention-recognition abilities from a young age, perhaps as early as nine months old, in order to begin to figure out the communicative purposes of the adults around them. And this is, ultimately, an outcome of our co‑operative minds. Which is not to belittle language: once it came into being, it allowed us to shape the world to our will – for better or for worse. It unleashed humanity’s tremendous powers of invention and transformation. But it didn’t come out of nowhere, and it doesn’t stand apart from the rest of life. At last, in the 21st century, we are in a position to jettison the myth of Universal Grammar, and to start seeing this unique aspect of our humanity as it really is."
language  linguistics  instinct  languageinstinct  2014  vyvyanevans  noamchomsky  michaeltomasello  behavior  psychology  evolution  cooperation  howwelearn  languages  communication  universalgrammar  stevenpinker  genetics  languageacquisition 
december 2014 by robertogreco
Register (sociolinguistics) - Wikipedia
"In linguistics, a register is a variety of a language used for a particular purpose or in a particular social setting. For example, when speaking in a formal setting, an English speaker may be more likely to use features of prescribed grammar—such as pronouncing words ending in -ing with a velar nasal instead of an alveolar nasal (e.g. "walking", not "walkin'"), choosing more formal words (e.g. father vs. dad, child vs. kid, etc.), and refraining from using contractions such as ain't—than when speaking in an informal setting.

As with other types of language variation, there tends to be a spectrum of registers rather than a discrete set of obviously distinct varieties – numerous registers could be identified, with no clear boundaries between them. Discourse categorisation is a complex problem, and even in the general definition of "register" given above (language variation defined by use not user), there are cases where other kinds of language variation, such as regional or age dialect, overlap. As a result of this complexity, scholarly consensus has not been reached for the definitions of terms such as "register", "field" or "tenor"; different scholars' definitions of these terms are often in direct contradiction of each other. Additional terms such as diatype, genre, text types, style, acrolect, mesolect and basilect, among many others, may be used to cover the same or similar ground. Some prefer to restrict the domain of the term "register" to a specific vocabulary (Wardhaugh, 1986) (which one might commonly call jargon), while others[who?] argue against the use of the term altogether. These various approaches with their own "register," or set of terms and meanings, fall under disciplines such as sociolinguistics, stylistics, pragmatics or systemic functional grammar."



"See also
• Child-directed speech
• Diglossia
• Elderspeak
• Honorific speech in Japanese
• Korean speech levels
• Literary language
• Prestige (sociolinguistics)
• Tone (literature)
• Vernacular
• Code-switching"

[Related: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ain%27t#Prescription_and_stigma ]
linguistics  sociolinguistics  via:debcha  register  codeswitching  elderspeak  honorifics  vernacular  language  formality 
august 2014 by robertogreco
Computational Linguistics of Twitter Reveals the Existence of Global Superdialects | MIT Technology Review
"Gonçalves and Sánchez begin by sampling all of the tweets written in Spanish over two years and that also contain geolocation information. That gave them a database of 50 million geolocated tweets, with most from Spain, Spanish America, and the United States.

They then searched these tweets for word variations that are indicative of specific dialects. For example, the word for car in Spanish can be auto, automóvil, carro, coche, concho, or movi, with each being more common in different dialects. Different words for bra include ajustador, ajustadores, brasiel, brassiere, corpiño, portaseno, sostén, soutien, sutién, sujetador, and tallador while variations on computer include computador, computadora, microcomputador, microcomputadora, ordenador, PC, and so on.

They then plotted where in the world these different words were being used, producing a map of their distribution. This map clearly shows how different words are commonly used in certain parts of the world.

However, they also looked at the environments in which the words were used, whether in large cities or in rural locations. And that revealed a major surprise.

It turns out that Spanish dialects falls into two major groups which Gonçalves and Sánchez call superdialects. The first of these is used more or less exclusively in major Spanish and American cities. This is an international variety of Spanish that is similar across continents. Gonçalves and Sánchez speculate that this is the result of an increasing homogenization of language caused by global communication systems like Twitter.

The second superdialect is used almost exclusively in rural areas. Gonçalves and Sánchez used a machine learning algorithm to find subclusters within this group and discovered three different variations. These correspond to a dialect used in Spain, a Caribbean and Latin American dialect and another variation used exclusively in South America.

The researchers say these regions reflect the settlement patterns of Spanish immigrants dating back many centuries. “Conquerors and settlers occupied first the territories of Mexico, Peru and the Caribbean, and only much later colonists established permanent residence in [South America], which stayed away from prestigious linguistic norms,” they say.

The fact that patterns of language have preserved this history is fascinating. “This strong cultural heritage that can still be observed, centuries later, in our datasets deserves to be further analyzed in future works,” say Gonçalves and Sánchez."

[Study: http://arxiv.org/abs/1407.7094 ]
spanish  linguistics  twitter  language  expañol  dialects  superdialects  rural  urban  urbanism  history 
august 2014 by robertogreco
The Conscientiousness of Kidspeak - The New Yorker
"Often enough, something we propose as a serious idea turns out to be more or less a joke. It’s much rarer that something proposed as a joke—or, at least, proposed as a semi-serious conceit, offered in the spirit of what’s often called, grimly, “tongue in cheek”—turns out to be, or to have the germ of, a serious idea. So I was startled and delighted the other morning to find out that a small joke I made a few years ago turns out to be true (or true-ish, anyway) and can be shown to be so by a recent scientific (or scientific-ish) paper. It started when, in 2011, I was writing about attempts to computerize the translation of natural language. I touched on the omnipresence of “like” and similar verbal tics in Kidspeak—the language of twelve- to fourteen-year-olds, particularly girls—a dialect about which I have what social scientists refer to as “a strong informant” right here at home. The ubiquitous qualifiers in this dialect—the constant “um”s, the continual “you know”s, and, above all, the unending stream of “like”s—are, it’s usually said, a barrier in the way of lucidity, brevity, and making a point.

But, as I wrote then, we’re all naturally quite good at compressed, or telegraphic, speech, where what is omitted is implicitly understood by the listener. For the sake of economy, we have to leave a lot of information out of everything we say, and one of our special human abilities is to make that economy itself eloquent and informative. Kidspeak is a classic instance of compression in balance with concision. What sounds limited and repetitive to the outsider is, to the knowing listener, as nuanced as a Henry James passage.

If, for instance, a fourteen-year-old girl says, “So we, like, um, went to the pizza place, but the, uh, you know—the guy?—said, like, no, so we were, like, O.K., so we, uh, decided that we’d go to, like, a coffee shop, but, uh, Colette can’t—she has, like, a gluten thing. You know what I mean? So that’s, like, why we came home, and, um, you know, would you, like, make us eggs?” To a sensitized listener, who recognizes the meaning of the circumlocutions, the nuanced space between language and event, the sentence really means: “So we tried, as it were, to go and enjoy a pizza, but the, so to speak, maître d’ of the establishment claimed—a statement that we were in no social position to dispute—that there was, so to speak, ‘no room for us at the inn.’ And then Colette insisted—and far be it for me either to contest or endorse her self-diagnosis—that she could not eat wheat-based food, so, knowing full well that it is likely to be irksome and ill-timed, could you feed us with scrambled eggs?” The point of the “likes”s and other tics is to supply the information that there is a lot more information not being offered, and that the whole thing is held at a certain circumspect remove. It didn’t happen exactly this way, and, of course, one might quibble with a detail here or there, but this is the gist of what happened. Each “like” is a Jamesian “as it were.”

It turns out that three sociolinguists at the University of Texas at Austin have been studying these things systematically. The paper they produced, published in the Journal of Language and Social Psychology, has the beautiful title “Um … Who Like Says You Know: Filler Word Use as a Function of Age, Gender and Personality.” The study they conducted “aimed to investigate how the frequency of filled pauses and discourse markers used in the English language varies with two basic demographic variables (gender and age) and personality traits.” The researchers explain that, to do this, they “focused on three common discourse markers … (I mean, you know, and like) and two filled pauses (uh and um).”

They recorded and transcribed interviews with the speakers, noted how often the speakers used so-called “discourse markers,” and concluded that these markers are, indeed, used most frequently by women and girls. More important, the study also shows that the use of the discourse markers is particularly common among speakers who score on a personality test as “conscientious”—“people who are more thoughtful and aware of themselves and their surroundings.” Discourse markers, far from being opaque, automatic, or zombie-like, show that the speaker has “a desire to share or rephrase opinions to recipients.” In other words, those “like”s are being used to register that what’s being narrated may not be utterly faithful to each detail—that it may not be, as a fourteen-year-old might say, “literally” true—but that it is essentially true, and, what’s more, that an innate sense of conscientiousness and empathy with the listener forbids the speaker from pretending to a more closely tuned accuracy than she in fact possesses. As one commenter on the paper writes,
The researchers believe the explanation is that “conscientious people are generally more thoughtful and aware of themselves and their surroundings,” and their use of discourse markers shows they have a “desire to share or rephrase opinions to recipients.” Stated slightly differently, discourse fillers are a sign of more considered speech, and so it makes sense that conscientious people use them more often.

So it seems that the conscientiousness of “like” is what makes it appear so often. All of the circumlocutions of Kidspeak underline not sloppy indifference but undue scrupulousness. We should admire, not belittle, kids who use it. Far from being banished from polite or public dialogue, their discourse markers should mark our own—they should be imported as a sign of a meticulous grasp of the truth that there is no settled truth, that all narration is subjective, that every account must always be qualified. A headline in the Times, to be so, might read: “SCALIA, LIKE, SAYS THAT OBAMA, IS, YOU KNOW? LIKE, NOT COOL, BUT, O.K., DO IT. WHATEVER.” If the people at the Times wanted to run a truly conscientious newspaper, anyway, they would.""
language  conscientiousness  adamgopnik  2014  kidspeak  awareness  discourse  empathy  thoughtfulness  fillerwords  communication  like  research  linguistics  brevity  lucidity  compression  concision  henryjames 
july 2014 by robertogreco
Wears Jump Suit. Sensible Shoes. Uses Husband's Last Name. (originally titled "Marked Women, Unmarked Men") by Deborah Tannen, NY Times Magazine, June 20, 1993
"As I amused myself finding coherence in these styles, I suddenly wondered why I was scrutinizing only the women. I scanned the eight men at the table. And then I knew why I wasn't studying them. The men's styles were unmarked.

THE TERM "MARKED" IS a staple of linguistic theory. It refers to the way language alters the base meaning of a word by adding a linguistic particle that has no meaning on its own. The unmarked form of a word carries the meaning that goes without saying -- what you think of when you're not thinking anything special.

The unmarked tense of verbs in English is the present -- for example, visit. To indicate past, you mark the verb by adding ed to yield visited. For future, you add a word: will visit. Nouns are presumed to be singular until marked for plural, typically by adding s or es, so visit becomes visits and dish becomes dishes.

The unmarked forms of most English words also convey "male." Being male is the unmarked case. Endings like ess and ette mark words as "female." Unfortunately, they also tend to mark them for frivolousness. Would you feel safe entrusting your life to a doctorette? Alfre Woodard, who was an Oscar nominee for best supporting actress, says she identifies herself as an actor because "actresses worry about eyelashes and cellulite, and women who are actors worry about the characters we are playing." Gender markers pick up extra meanings that reflect common associations with the female gender: not quite serious, often sexual.

Each of the women at the conference had to make decisions about hair, clothing, makeup and accessories, and each decision carried meaning. Every style available to us was marked. The men in our group had made decisions, too, but the range from which they chose was incomparably narrower. Men can choose styles that are marked, but they don't have to, and in this group none did. Unlike the women, they had the option of being unmarked."



"To say anything about women and men without marking oneself as either feminist or anti-feminist, male-basher or apologist for men seems as impossible for a woman as trying to get dressed in the morning without inviting interpretations of her character. Sitting at the conference table musing on these matters, I felt sad to think that we women didn't have the freedom to be unmarked that the men sitting next to us had. Some days you just want to get dressed and go about your business. But if you're a woman, you can't, because there is no unmarked woman."
clothing  fashion  feminism  gender  language  linguistics  1993  via:kissane  women  hair  presentationofself 
january 2014 by robertogreco
University of California Research: The universal language is in our minds  As a deaf....
"As a deaf person in a hearing world, “I am bound to negotiate in the realm of non-verbal communication,” says UC Berkeley linguistics lecturer Patrick Boudreault. “I’m adept at communication with anyone, every day of my life — people who know sign or don’t know sign.”

Born deaf to deaf parents, Boudreault’s first languages were Quebec Sign Language, then French, which he learned to read and write as a child. He added English and American Sign Language to his repertoire in his early teens. In introducing himself to students, he adds that he’s married to a Russian woman whose native languages are Russian and Russian Sign Language.
I meet a lot of people and sometimes they ask, “what are your dreams like?" I have to smile. Of course, that depends on the individual! “But, are you signing in your dreams? Speaking? Processing thought conceptually?" And my answer is, it depends…but from my perspective, language is a fluid thing.  Whether it’s spoken or signed, it always starts as a fluid thing inside your head.  So, maybe the only place a universal language will happen is in our minds, not our hands or our mouths.

"

[Embedded video is also here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pQtrPpkCRBM ]
asl  deafness  deaf  language  linguistics  communication  universality  patrickboudreault  dreaming  nonverbalcommunication 
june 2013 by robertogreco
The Surprising Psychology of How Names Shape Our Thoughts : The New Yorker
"These studies suggest a sort of linguistic Heisenberg principle: as soon as you label a concept, you change how people perceive it. It’s difficult to imagine a truly neutral label, because words evoke images (as do maluma and takete), are associated with other concepts (as are “north” with up and “south” with down), and vary in complexity (from KAR to RDO). Still, you don’t need to worry too much about what you name your children. The effects are subtle, people with non-fluent names succeed all the time, and norms change."
names  naming  language  2013  linguistics  sound  directions  perception  simonlaham  peterkoval  danieloppenheimer  adamalter  christianmorgenstern  words  wolfgangköhler  bentleycoffey  patrickmclaughlin  leifnelson  josephsimmons  psychology  maps  mapping  direction  elizabethloftus  johnpalmer 
june 2013 by robertogreco
Joshua Foer: John Quijada and Ithkuil, the Language He Invented : The New Yorker
"Natural languages are adequate, but that doesn’t mean they’re optimal,” John Quijada, a fifty-four-year-old former employee of the California State Department of Motor Vehicles, told me. In 2004, he published a monograph on the Internet that was titled “Ithkuil: A Philosophical Design for a Hypothetical Language.” Written like a linguistics textbook, the fourteen-page Web site ran to almost a hundred and sixty thousand words. It documented the grammar, syntax, and lexicon of a language that Quijada had spent three decades inventing in his spare time. Ithkuil had never been spoken by anyone other than Quijada, and he assumed that it never would be."
constructedlanguages  conlang  politics  2004  2012  johnquijada  psychology  ithkuil  linguistics  language  from delicious
december 2012 by robertogreco
Performative turn - Wikipedia
"The performative turn is a paradigmatic shift in the humanities and social sciences that has affected such disciplines as anthropology, archaeology, linguistics, ethnography, history and the relatively young discipline of performance studies. Central to the performative turn is the concept of performance.

Previously used as a metaphor for theatricality, performance is now often employed as a heuristic principle to understand human behaviour. The assumption is that all human practices are 'performed', so that any action at whatever moment or location can be seen as a public presentation of the self. This methodological approach entered the social sciences and humanities in the 1990s but is rooted in the 1940s & 1950s. Underlying the performative turn was the need to conceptualize how human practices relate to their contexts in a way that went beyond the traditional sociological methods that did not problematize representation.

Performance is a bodily practice that produces meaning."

[via: http://sb129.wordpress.com/2012/08/29/on-performance/ ]
ervinggoffman  presentationofself  performancestudies  history  linguistics  archaeology  anthropology  behavior  theatricality  performance  ethnography  socialsciences  humanities  performitiveturn  from delicious
september 2012 by robertogreco
Northern Cities Vowel Shift: How Americans in the Great Lakes region are revolutionizing English. - Slate Magazine
"In any case, fears that TV and the Internet are funneling us toward a standard dialect don’t hold up to basic scrutiny. Dialect formation occurs long before we become ensnared in the web of modern communications technology. Children acquire language from face-to-face interaction with their parents and peers, and this learning is shaped profoundly by our desire to fit in. People wring their hands about the supposed disappearance of dialectic diversity for the same reason that such diversity is not, in fact, going anywhere: We cling to our specific identities and peer groups, and we defend our individual and regional idiosyncrasies when and where we can. Our dialects are often the weapon readiest to hand in that fight.

Which doesn’t mean that aspects of our dialects won’t evolve—and even, in some cases, blend with others over time. But years from now you’ll still learn a lot about a person’s identity just by listening closely."
via:litherland  dialects  media  robmifsud  northerncitiesshift  vowels  greatvowelshift  english  buffalo  canada  speech  linguistics  greatlakes  change  2012  pronunciation  language  us  accents  from delicious
august 2012 by robertogreco
American English Dialects, Based on Pronunciation Patterns
[Somehow I never bookmarked this amazing personal project before.]

"This is just a hobby of mine, that I thought might be interesting to a lot of people. Some people collect stamps. Others collect coins. I collect dialects. Please let me know what you think of this page. - Rick Aschmann (Last updated: July 21, 2012.)"

"There are 8 major English dialect areas in North America, listed below the map at left. These are shown in blue, each with its number, on the map and in the Dialect Description Chart below, and are also outlined with blue lines on the map. The first 6 of these begin at the eastern seaboard and proceed west, reflecting western settlement patterns.

The many subdialects are shown in red on the map and in the chart, and are outlined with red lines on the map. All of these are listed in the margins of the map as well.

In the Dialect Description Chart additional features not shown on the map are provided for distinguishing the dialects."
rickaschmann  canada  us  northamerica  mapping  pronunciation  accents  dialects  english  maps  linguistics  language  from delicious
july 2012 by robertogreco
Penny Eckert's Web Page
[Heard here: http://www.cbc.ca/q/weekly/2012/05/18/this-week-on-q---may-21-2512/ ]

"The goal of my research is to understand the social meaning of linguistic variation. In order to do this, I pursue my sociolinguistic work in the context of in-depth ethnographic fieldwork, focusing on the relation between variation, linguistic style, social identity and social practice.

Gender has been the big misunderstood in studies of sociolinguistic variation - in spite of the fact that some of the most exciting intellectual developments over the past decades have been in theories of gender and sexuality ... so I have been spending a good deal of time working on language and gender as well.

Since adolescents and preadolescents are the movers and shakers in linguistic change, I concentrate on this age group, and much of my research takes place in schools. The institutional research site has made me think a good deal about learning and education, but particularly about the construction of adolescence in American society."
sexuality  socialpractice  socialidentity  sociolinguistics  ethnography  society  vocalfry  research  adolescents  gender  language  linguistics  penelopeeckert  from delicious
may 2012 by robertogreco
Distinguishing blue from green in language - Wikipedia
"The English language makes a distinction between blue and green, but some languages do not. Of these, quite a number, mostly in Africa, do not distinguish blue from black either, while there are a handful of languages that do not distinguish blue from black but have a separate term for green.[1] Also, some languages treat light (often greenish) blue and dark blue as separate colors, rather than different variations of blue, while English does not."

[via: http://bobulate.com/post/21832744467/everything-you-know-lost-in-translation ]
blue  languages  linguistics  perception  green  psychology  color  language  from delicious
may 2012 by robertogreco
Endangered Languages
"Of course, even under the previously mentioned worst-case scenario, the Japanese language itself is currently in Category (3), "safe" languages. However, the answers to the questions of whether Japanese will continue to be safe forever, and whether the Japanese people will maintain an adherence to established forms (kodawari) of their language, are by no means certain. The term kodawari has come to have a positive meaning in recent years (as seen in advertising by companies who use it to stress their pursuit of excellence in their products), but in the past, it used to have an exclusively negative connotation as a sort of stubborn reluctance to alteration. Might that not be why the Japanese, lacking much of a kodawari toward their traditional culture, have been so receptive to the foreign and the heterogeneous, in response to the times, their situation, and the countries they are dealing with? The uncritical acceptance of foreign loanwords may be one example of this phenomenon…"
extinction  linguistics  loanwords  craft  adaptability  languages  language  osahitomiyaoka  kodawari  via:tealtan  japanese  japan  from delicious
march 2012 by robertogreco
Inundated with placenames « Derek Watkins
"I like this map because it illustrates the range of cultural and environmental factors that affect how we label and interact with the world. Lime green bayous follow historical French settlement patterns along the Gulf Coast and up Louisiana streams. The distribution of the Dutch-derived term kill (dark blue) in New York echoes the colonial settlement of “New Netherland” (as well as furnishing half of a specific toponym to the Catskill Mountains). Similarly, the spanish-derived terms rio, arroyo, and cañada (orange hues) trace the early advances of conquistadors into present-day northern New Mexico, an area that still retains some unique cultural traits. Washes in the southwest reflect the intermittent rainfall of the region, while streams named swamps (desaturated green) along the Atlantic seaboard highlight where the coastal plain meets the Appalachian Piedmont at the fall line."

[See also: https://sites.google.com/site/streamgenerics/ ]
history  language  geography  infographics  linguistics  placenames  creeks  streams  us  maps  mapping  toponyms  genericplacenames  2011  derekwatkins  from delicious
september 2011 by robertogreco
Inca Paradox: Maybe the pre-Columbian civilization did have writing. - By Mark Adams - Slate Magazine
"But what if the khipus don't fit neatly into the precise criteria established for true writing? It's possible, says Wisconsin's Salomon, that khipus were actually examples of semasiography, a system of representative symbols—such as numerals or musical notation—that conveys information but isn't tied to the speech sounds of a single language, in this instance Quechua. (By contrast, logographic languages such as Chinese and Japanese are phonetic as well as character-based.) The Incas conquered a huge number of neighboring peoples in a short time span, between 1438 and 1532; each of these groups had its own language or dialect, and the Incas wanted to integrate those new territories into their hyperefficient organizational network quickly. "It makes sense that they'd use a system that could transcend languages," Salomon says."
language  linguistics  history  writing  quechua  inca  ancientcivilization  communication  khipus  semasiography  knots  2011  perú  from delicious
july 2011 by robertogreco
I Read Where I Am
"Exploring New Information Cultures"

"For example, words are colour-coded in a gradient from dark (more) to light (less) as a comparative value of frequency versus uniqueness. Also, several indexes are featured as random access interfaces to the articles. And finally, the subject matter in the texts is extended beyond the book through comparisons with Wikipedia entries of similar semantic meaning (micro- versus macro-context).So in essence, in the conceptualization of this book, we are not only trying to produce graphic and typographic design. But, by augmenting code and form with critical language theories, we are also practising what we like to call Digital Anthropology."
design  art  culture  future  writing  reading  toread  ellenlupton  kevinkelly  erikspiekermann  dunne&raby  jamesbridle  bobstein  digital  books  text  digitalanthropology  wikipedia  indexing  typography  criticallanguage  language  narrative  semantic  literaryanthropology  screens  screen  behavior  etexts  linguistics  bookfuturism  experience  fionaraby  anthonydunne  from delicious
may 2011 by robertogreco
Chrestomathy - Wikipedia
"Chrestomathy (Pronounced krɛsˈtɑːmʌθiː/kres-TA-muh-thee from the Greek words khrestos, useful, and mathein, to know) is a collection of choice literary passages, used especially as an aid in learning a foreign language.

In philology or in the study of literature, it is a type of reader or anthology which presents a sequence of example texts, selected to demonstrate the development of language or literary style.

In computer programming, a program chrestomathy is a collection of similar programs written in various programming languages, for the purpose of demonstrating differences in syntax, semantics and idioms for each language. This term is thought[according to whom?] to have been first used by Eric S. Raymond in the Retrocomputing Museum web site. It is used by analogy to a linguistic chrestomathy."

[Found in: http://www.ftrain.com/times-inverted-index.html ]
learning  language  linguistics  words  chrestomathy  philology  programming  compsci  syntax  semantics  paulford  from delicious
may 2011 by robertogreco
Endangered Alphabets
"Moreover, at least a third of the world’s remaining alphabets are endangered–-no longer taught in schools, no longer used for commerce or government, understood only by a few elders, restricted to a few monasteries or used only in ceremonial documents, magic spells, or secret love letters.

The Endangered Alphabets Project, which consists of an exhibition of fourteen carvings and a book, is the first-ever attempt to bring attention to this issue.

Every one of the Endangered Alphabets (Inuktitut, Baybayin, Manchu, Bugis, Bassa Vah, Cherokee, Samaritan, Mandaic, Syriac, Khmer, Pahauh Hmong, Balinese, Tifinagh and Nom), carved and painted into a slab of Vermont curly maple, challenges our assumptions about language, about beauty, about the fascinating interplay between function and grace that takes place when we invent symbols for the sounds we speak, and when we put a word on a page—or a piece of bamboo, or a palm leaf."
linguistics  language  art  books  research  alphabet  languages  endangeredalphabets  extinction  universaldeclarationofhumanrights  humanrights  culture  preservation  from delicious
april 2011 by robertogreco
Thinking the Impossible: French Philosophy Since 1960 by Gary Gutting – review | Books | The Observer
"The theories of Derrida and Foucault are revisited in this fair-minded history of French deconstructionism, and guess what? It wasn't all bunkum…"

"Because, so the theory goes, you don't speak language. Language speaks you. You might think of speech or writing as ways of expressing what's on your mind or in your heart but all you're really doing is mouthing the cliches that linguistic structures (and strictures) permit. Marx said man was alienated from his nature. Freud said man was alienated from his desires. But for the post-structuralists, the very idea of man was itself alienating. Had Descartes really had a self, he'd have been kidding it when he said, "I think, therefore I am". "I think, therefore I am being thought" is nearer to the deconstructionist mark. Or as Derrida more famously put it, "There is nothing outside the text"."
philosophy  foucault  deconstruction  deconstructionist  language  post-structuralism  karlmarx  linguistics  speech  writing  2011  books  reviews  france  theory  jacquesderrida  michelfoucault  from delicious
april 2011 by robertogreco
California English - Wikipedia
"California English (or Californian, Californian English) is a dialect of the English language spoken in California.[1] California is home to a highly diverse population, which is reflected in the historical and continuing development of California English."

[Of particular interest is "freeway nomenclature" of Northern and Southern California: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_English#Freeway_nomenclature

[via: http://latimes.tumblr.com/post/4102291799/10-freeway ]
language  english  california  linguistics  dialects  accents  vocabulary  usage  phonology  nocal  socal  losangeles  sanfrancisco  sandiego  orangecounty  inlandempire  freeways  carculture  cars  from delicious
march 2011 by robertogreco
Uncleftish Beholding - Wikipedia
"Uncleftish Beholding (1989) is a short text written by Poul Anderson. It is written using almost exclusively words of Germanic origin, and was intended to illustrate what the English language might look like if it had not received its considerable number of loanwords from other languages, particularly Latin, Greek and French.

The text is about basic atomic theory and relies on a number of word coinings, many of which have analogues in modern German. The title "uncleftish beholding" calques "atomic theory". The text begins:

"For most of its being, mankind did not know what things are made of, but could only guess. With the growth of worldken, we began to learn, and today we have a beholding of stuff and work that watching bears out, both in the workstead and in daily life.""
language  history  english  linguistics  via:migurski  uncleftishbeholding  1989  poulanderson  theory  german  germanic  constraints  classideas  writing  literature  from delicious
february 2011 by robertogreco
American English Dialects
As Michal Migurski puts it: "Completely ludicrous dialect superpage:"<br />
"This is just a little hobby of mine, that I thought might be interesting to a lot of people. Some people collect stamps. Others collect coins. I collect dialects. Please let me know what you think of this page. - Rick Aschmann (Last updated: December 27, 2010.)"
language  linguistics  metafilter  dialect  maps  mapping  english  northamerica  us  canada  hobbies  hardcorehobbyists  location  regional  from delicious
december 2010 by robertogreco
20 Awesomely Untranslatable Words from Around the World
[via: http://caterina.net/wp-archives/39 ]

"1. Toska [Russian]: At deepest & most painful…sensation of great spiritual anguish, often w/out any specific cause. At less morbid levels…dull ache of soul, longing w/ nothing to long for…

2. Mamihlapinatapei [Yagan (indigenous to Tierra del Fuego]: wordless, yet meaningful look shared by two people who both desire to initiate something but are both reluctant to start

3. Jayus

4. Iktsuarpok [Inuit]: “To go outside to check if anyone is coming.”

5. Litost 6. Kyoikumama 7. Tartle 8. Ilunga 9. Prozvonit 10. Cafuné 11. Schadenfreude

12. Torschlusspanik [German]: means “gate-closing panic,” but…refers to “the fear of diminishing opportunities as one ages."

13. Wabi-Sabi 14. Dépaysement

15. Tingo [Pasquense]: “act of taking objects one desires from house of a friend by gradually borrowing all of them.”

16. Hyggelig 17. L'appel du vide 18. Ya'aburnee

19. Duende: “the mysterious power that a work of art has to deeply move a person.”

20. Saudade"
language  translation  culture  linguistics  words  hyggelig  duende  saudade  tingo  wabi-sabi  schadenfreude  Mamihlapinatapei  toska  litost  tartle  cafuné  portugués  portuguese  español  spanish  russian  german  french  danish  arabic  time  age  precision  art  glvo  scottish  japanese  czech  inuit  yagan  milankundera  vladmirnavakov  from delicious
december 2010 by robertogreco
Portmanteau - Wikipedia [bookmark points to the Japanese section, but also see the "Portmanteau word/morph (linguistics)" section]
"There are many examples of borrowed word blends in Japanese. The word パソコン (pasokon?), meaning PC, as in personal computer, is not officially an English loan word. The word does not exist in English; however, it is a uniquely Japanese contraction of the English personal computer (パーソナル・コンピュータ, pāsonaru konpyūta?). Another example, Pokémon (ポケモン?), is a contracted form of the English words pocket (ポケット, poketto?) and monsters (モンスター, monsutā?).

Sometimes Japanese and English words are blended together. One very famous example, karaoke (カラオケ, karaoke?), is the blend of the Japanese word for empty (空っぽ, karappo?) and the English word orchestra (オーケストラ, ōkesutora?)."
japanese  words  language  portmanteau  classideas  wordplay  japan  pokemon  karaoke  linguistics  pokémon  from delicious
november 2010 by robertogreco
OK: How Two Letters Made 'America's Greatest Word' : NPR
"OK, it's quiz time: You probably say it dozens of times every day. It may be the most widely used expression in the world. And yet it's so simple.

OK, ready for the answer?

That's it — the word "OK."

Allan Metcalf is so enthralled by those two letters that he's written an entire book about them: OK: The Improbable Story of America's Greatest Word.

Metcalf tells NPR's Guy Raz that he sifted through a handful of conflicting stories and discovered the birthplace of "OK" — a 19th century Boston newsroom."
language  us  english  international  ok  words  history  humor  books  linguistics  acronyms  from delicious
november 2010 by robertogreco
Principle of compositionality - Wikipedia
"Jump to: navigation, search<br />
<br />
In mathematics, semantics, and philosophy of language, the Principle of Compositionality is the principle that the meaning of a complex expression is determined by the meanings of its constituent expressions and the rules used to combine them. This principle is also called Frege's Principle, because Gottlob Frege is widely credited for the first modern formulation of it. However, the idea appears already among Indian philosophers of grammar such as Yāska, and also in Plato's work such as in Theaetetus."
language  linguistics  semantics  sarcasm  from delicious
november 2010 by robertogreco
Pleonasm - Wikipedia
"use of more words or word-parts than is necessary for clear expression: examples…black darkness, burning fire, digital download or redundant pleonasm. Such redundancy is, by traditional rhetorical criteria, a manifestation of tautology. The term "tautology" is derived from 2 Greek words meaning It says this, i.e. the same thing.

Often, pleonasm is understood to mean a word or phrase which is useless, clichéd, or repetitive, but a pleonasm can also be simply an unremarkable use of idiom. It can even aid in achieving a specific linguistic effect, be it social, poetic, or literary. In particular, pleonasm sometimes serves same function as rhetorical repetition—it can be used to reinforce an idea, contention or question, rendering writing clearer & easier to understand. Further, pleonasm can serve as a redundancy check: If a word is unknown, misunderstood, or misheard, or the medium of communication is poor, pleonastic phrases can help ensure that the entire meaning gets across"
english  grammar  language  linguistics  words  semantics  pleonasm  writing  via:thelibrarianedge  from delicious
october 2010 by robertogreco
Synecdoche - Wikipedia
"Synecdoche (pronounced /sɪˈnɛkdəkiː/; from Greek synekdoche (συνεκδοχή), meaning "simultaneous understanding") is a figure of speech[1] in which a term is used in one of the following ways:

*Part of something is used to refer to the whole thing (Pars pro toto), or
*A thing (a "whole") is used to refer to part of it (Totum pro parte), or
*A specific class of thing is used to refer to a larger, more general class, or
*A general class of thing is used to refer to a smaller, more specific class, or
*A material is used to refer to an object composed of that material, or
*A container is used to refer to its contents."
synecdoche  metaphor  grammar  linguistics  literature  words  writing  philosophy  metonymy  language  communication  definitions  english  relationships  containers  rhetoric  device  from delicious
october 2010 by robertogreco
Language Log » Are “heavy media multitaskers” really heavy media multitaskers?
"But in my opinion, it doesn't support it nearly strongly enough. What's at stake here is a set of major choices about social policy and personal lifestyle. If it's really true that modern digital multitasking causes significant cognitive disability and even brain damage, as Matt Richtel claims, then many very serious social and individual changes are urgently needed. Before starting down this path, we need better evidence that there's a real connection between cognitive disability and media multitasking (as opposed to self-reports of media multitasking). We need some evidence that the connection exists in representative samples of the population, not just a couple of dozen Stanford undergraduates enrolled in introductory psychology. And we need some evidence that this connection, if it exists, has a causal component in the multitasking-to-disability direction."
multitasking  psychology  linguistics  internet  language  brain  2010  science  disability  cognition  cognitive  cognitivedisability  media  society  mattrichtel  socialpolicy  via:preoccupations  disabilities  from delicious
october 2010 by robertogreco
Prosody (linguistics) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
"Emotional prosody is the expression of feelings using prosodic elements of speech. It was recognized by Charles Darwin in The Descent of Man as predating the evolution of human language: "Even monkeys express strong feelings in different tones – anger and impatience by low, – fear and pain by high notes."[2] Native speakers listening to actors reading emotionally neutral text while projecting emotions correctly recognized happiness 62% of the time, anger 95%, surprise 91%, sadness 81%, and neutral tone 76%. When a database of this speech was processed by computer, segmental features allowed better than 90% recognition of happiness and anger, while suprasegmental prosodic features allowed only 44%–49% recognition. The reverse was true for surprise, which was recognized only 69% of the time by segmental features and 96% of the time by suprasegmental prosody.[3] In typical conversation (no actor voice involved), the recognition of emotion may be quite low, of the order of 50%…"
prosody  emotionalprosody  linguistics  language  communication  emotion  stress  intonation  rhythm  speech  from delicious
august 2010 by robertogreco
YouTube - David Crystal - Texts and Tweets: myths and realities
"Professor David Crystal, one of the world's leading linguistic experts, challenges the myth that new communication technologies are destroying language"

[via: http://www.minddump.org/the-best-texters-tend-to-be-the-best-spellers via: http://twitter.com/TeachPaperless/status/17732152590 ]
davidcrystal  linguistics  twitter  texting  language  english  myth  communication  writing  reading  tcsnmy  chat  sms 
july 2010 by robertogreco
‘So’ Pushes to the Head of the Line « Anand Giridharadas
"So, it is widely believed that the recent ascen­dancy of “so” began in Sil­i­con Val­ley. The jour­nal­ist Michael Lewis picked it up when research­ing his 1999 book “The New New Thing”: “When a com­puter pro­gram­mer answers a ques­tion,” he wrote, “he often begins with the word ‘so.”’ Microsoft employ­ees have long argued that the “so” boom began with them.

In the soft­ware world, it was a tic that made sense. In immigrant-filled tech­nol­ogy firms, it democ­ra­tized talk by replac­ing a world of pos­si­ble tran­si­tions with a catchall.
And “so” sug­gested a kind of think­ing that appealed to problem-solving types: con­ver­sa­tion as a log­i­cal, uni­di­rec­tional process, pro­ceed­ing much in the way of soft­ware code — if this, then that.

This log­i­cal tinge to “so” has fol­lowed it out of soft­ware. Start­ing a sen­tence with “so” uses the whiff of logic to relay author­ity. Where “well” vac­il­lates, “so” declaims."

[via: http://www.clusterflock.org/2010/06/meet-the-flockers-luke-neff.html ]
so  via:lukeneff  culture  english  semantics  slang  language  psychology  meaning  linguistics  journalism  writing  words  speech  anandgiridharadas 
june 2010 by robertogreco
« earlier      
per page:    204080120160

related tags

#JeSuisCharlie  #JeSuisCharlieHebdo  1990s  aae  aav  aave  academics  accents  accessibility  accommodation  acronyms  acting  action  adamalter  adamgopnik  adaptability  adhd  adolescents  advice  advocacy  african-americanenglish  africanamericanvernacular  age  ai  aikuma  alanburdick  alanjacobs  alfrednorthwhitehead  alphabet  amazon  american  americas  analogy  anandgiridharadas  anarchism  ancientcivilization  ancienthistory  andreariquetti  angeltaveras  animals  annettelareau  anthonydunne  anthropology  anxiaomina  apatternlanguage  apes  appalachia  arabic  archaeology  architecture  archive  archives  argentina  art  artificial  artists  asia  asl  assistivetechnology  atlanta  attention  audio  australia  autism  automation  awareness  aymara  aztec  balthasarbickel  bantu  beausage  beauty  beeline  behavior  belonging  bentleycoffey  benzimmer  bettyhart  bias  bidialectalism  bilingualism  biology  blackenglish  blacktwitter  blogs  blue  boats  bobholman  bobstein  bolivia  bookfuturism  bookmarklet  books  borrowing  brain  brainstorming  brasil  brazil  brentberlin  brevity  browser  browsers  buffalo  cafuné  calebeverett  calebgattegno  california  canada  capitalism  carculture  cars  cartoons  cat'scradle  census  chancetherapper  change  characters  charliehebdo  charts  chat  chemistry  chicago  chichewa  children  chile  chiluu  chimpanzees  china  chinese  chrestomathy  christianmorgenstern  christopheralexander  chrome  cinema  cjbmacmillan  class  classideas  clever  climate  clivethompson  clothing  cockney  codeswitching  cognition  cognitive  cognitivedisability  coincidences  collaboration  collections  collective  collectiveintelligence  colleges  colonialism  colonization  color  comfort  comics  communication  community  comparison  compression  compsci  computation  computers  computing  concision  conlang  conscientiousness  consonants  constraints  constructedlanguages  containers  context  convention  conversation  cookiemonster  cookies  cooperation  copyright  cornish  cornwall  corvids  craft  creativity  creeks  creole  criticallanguage  criticism  critique  crossdisciplinary  crowdsourcing  crows  cultue  culture  cumulativeculture  cyborgs  czech  danielkaufman  danieloppenheimer  danish  data  database  datamining  dataviz  davidbowles  davidcrystal  davidfosterwallace  davidgrubin  davidprokopetz  davidshariatmadari  deaf  deafness  debate  decolonization  deconstruction  deconstructionist  deepsouth  definition  definitions  demographics  derekwatkins  deschooling  design  development  device  dialect  dialects  dictionaries  dictionary  digital  digitalanthropology  digitaldivide  digitalliteracy  digraphs  direction  directions  disabilities  disability  discourse  diversity  documentary  doge  dogs  donnaharaway  doomsayers  dreaming  duende  dunne&raby  dutch  dyslexia  E-prime  ebonics  economics  edbice  edg  editing  edmondkachele  edtech  education  elderspeak  eliasquisepechura  elizabethloftus  ellenlupton  emmaflynn  emotion  emotionalprosody  emotions  empathy  encyclopedia  endangeredalphabets  endangeredlanguagealliance  england  english  enlgish  enlish  epub  ereading  ericrabkin  erikspiekermann  ervinggoffman  españa  español  etexts  ethics  ethnographicrefusal  ethnography  etiquette  etymology  eunsanhuh  euphemisms  europe  evahayward  eveewing  evolution  exclamationpoints  expañol  experience  expressions  extensions  extinction  facebook  faces  fact  facts  fardi  fashion  favoritewords  feminism  fetishes  fetishization  fiction  fillerwords  film  fionaraby  flirting  fluidity  folksonomy  food  football  foreign  formality  foucault  fragmentation  framing  franbartkowsky  france  franciscosalaspérez  frankseifart  freddiedeboer  fredjameson  freedom  freedomofspeech  freespeech  freeways  french  fun  futbol  future  futurism  gaelic  game  games  gaming  gender  generator  genericplacenames  genetics  geography  georgeorwell  georgezimmerman  german  germanic  gilesfraser  gillvale  global  globalization  glvo  google  graffiti  grammar  graphic  graphics  gravenimages  greatlakes  greatvowelshift  greek  green  gregorybateson  gretchenmcculloch  gwynethjones  h&fj  habitualbe  hair  haleygrant  hangul  happiness  hardcorehobbyists  headstart  health  healthcare  heidegger  helenmerrick  henryjames  heroes  heroization  herscam  heteroglots  hindi  hip  hiphop  hiscon  history  historyofconsciousness  hivemind  hobbies  honesty  honorifics  howto  howwelearn  howweread  howwewrite  human  humanities  humanrights  humans  humor  hyggelig  ianmaddieson  iceland  icelandic  iconography  icons  ideas  identification  identity  identitypolitics  idioglossia  ij  illustration  images  immigration  impersonations  improvisation  inca  inclusion  inclusivity  incomprehension  indexing  indigeneity  indigenous  indusvalley  infographics  informal  informality  information  inlandempire  instability  instagram  instagrams  instinct  insularity  intelligence  intercapping  interesting  international  internet  intonation  inuit  invention  isabellestrengers  islam  istvancsicsery-ronay  italian  italy  ithkuil  jackgrieve  jacquesderrida  jamesbridle  jameshamblin  jamesmorgan  jamestiptree  japan  japanese  jargon  javascript  jazz  joannaruss  johnholt  johnmcwhorter  johnpalmer  johnquijada  johnrickford  johnvarley  josephsimmons  joshualebare  journalism  judgement  judithmerril  justice  kant  karaoke  karlmarx  katherineschwab  katieking  katypearce  kayaks  kdavidharrison  kennethwong  kerning  kevinkelly  kevinlaland  kevinlarson  kevinsannell  kevinscannell  keyboards  keypads  khipus  kidspeak  kindle  knots  knowledge  kodawari  korea  korean  kottke  ktbilley  kurosawa  lajolla  langauages  language  languageacquisition  languagegames  languageinstinct  languagematters  languages  lasvegas  latin  latinamerica  latinos  latinx  laurachernaik  laurenoyaolamina  law  lcproject  learning  legal  lego  leifnelson  leraboroditsky  letters  lewisden  lexicography  liberation  libraries  like  lingo  linguistics  linguists  lists  literacy  literaryanthropology  literatura  literature  litost  litotes  loanwords  loc  location  logic  logos  lol  london  losangeles  lucidity  maciejceglowski  maciejcegłowski  Mamihlapinatapei  mandarin  manfredclynes  manipulation  mapping  maps  margaretatwood  margaretgrebowicz  margarettalbot  marilynhacker  marilynstrathern  marleenbarr  masrikhattar  math  mattrichtel  meaning  media  medicine  medieval  meedan  memes  messaging  metafilter  metaphor  metaphors  metonymy  mexico  michaelarcega  michaeldominguez  michaeltomasello  michelfoucault  microsoft  middleages  middleeast  mikhailbakhtin  milankundera  mind  mindmap  mindmapping  mindset  minimalism  minstrels  mle  mmog  mobile  monsters  morality  morethanhuman  movies  multiplayer  multispecies  multitasking  muscles  museums  music  myth  nahuatl  names  naming  narrative  nathankline  nclb  neanderthals  neuroscience  newmedia  neworleans  nickfarmer  nicklum  nikhilsonnad  noamchomsky  nocal  nola  nomenclature  nonce  nonverbalcommunication  northamerica  northerncitiesshift  norway  norwegian  nostalgia  nouns  nuance  numbers  nyc  nytimes  octaviabutler  oddities  oed  ok  online  onlinetoolkit  opinion  opposites  optimism  orangecounty  orangutans  oregon  osahitomiyaoka  oulipo  ownership  pamelasargent  parenting  parody  passivetense  pataphysics  patriciakuhl  patrickboudreault  patrickmclaughlin  patterns  paulford  paulkay  pdf  pdfs  pedagogy  penelopeeckert  people  perception  performance  performancestudies  performitiveturn  persian  personalities  perspective  perú  pessimism  peterkoval  philology  philosophy  phoenix  phones  phonology  phrases  physics  pictograms  pigdin  placenames  play  pleonasm  poetry  pokemon  pokémon  policy  politics  portland  portmanteau  portuguese  portugués  post-structuralism  poulanderson  power  pragmaticparticles  prataxis  precision  present  presentationofself  presentations  preservation  print  printability  problems  problemsolving  process  productivity  programming  pronouns  pronunciation  prosody  providence  providencetalks  psychology  punctuation  purity  puzzles  quechua  quiz  race  racheljeantel  rachelkendal  racism  radicals  randolphbias  reading  reasoning  recipes  red  reference  refusal  regional  regionalism  register  relationships  relativity  religion  renaissance  research  resilience  resources  respectabilitypolitics  reviews  rhetoric  rhodeisland  rhythm  richardweissbourd  rickaschmann  robertsapolsky  robmifsud  robots  rocmorin  rossperlin  rotation  rttt  rubenhilari  rural  russian  sameoldstory  samueldelany  sandiego  sanfrancisco  sapir-whorf  sapir-whorfhypothesis  sarahlefanu  sarcasm  satire  saudade  scandinavia  schadenfreude  schoolreadiness  schools  science  sciencefiction  scifi  scotthale  scottish  screen  screens  search  seattle  secularism  self-advocacy  self-organization  semantic  semantics  semanticweb  semasiography  semiotics  sentences  sesamestreet  sexuality  shapes  share  shareseking  sheritepper  sherrylvint  shulamithfirestone  signing  signs  simonlaham  slang  slash  smiling  sms  snowclones  so  socal  soccer  social  socialidentity  socialmedia  socialpolicy  socialpractice  socialsciences  socialsecurity  society  sociolinguistics  sociology  software  solresol  sophistication  sound  south  spain  spanish  speaking  specialists  specialization  speculativefabrication  speculativefiction  speech  speed  spelling  spoken  spokenlanguage  sports  spritz  srg  statistics  stevenbird  stevenpinker  strange  streams  street  streetart  stress  structure  strunk&white  students  style  styleguides  superdialects  suzettehadenelgin  suzymckeecharnass  swahili  swearing  sweden  swedish  symbology  symbols  synecdoche  synonyms  syntax  t9  tartle  taxonomy  tcsnmy  teaching  technology  tense  test  text  texting  textonyms  texts  that  theatricality  theexpanse  theory  thesaurus  thesimpsons  thoughtfulness  time  tingo  tips  tobe  toddrisley  tokipona  tools  toponyms  topost  toread  toska  toys  translation  travel  trayvonmartin  trends  truro  tumblr  tutorial  tutorials  twins  twitter  typewriters  typography  ucsc  uk  uncleftishbeholding  understatement  unifiedarabic  universaldeclarationofhumanrights  universalgrammar  universality  unschooling  urban  urbanism  ursulaleguin  us  usage  use  verbalacuity  verbs  vernacular  via:ayjay  via:debcha  via:kissane  via:kottke  via:litherland  via:lukeneff  via:mattwebb  via:migurski  via:preoccupations  via:robinsloan  via:russelldavies  via:tealtan  via:thelibrarianedge  via:tomc  via:unthinkingly  video  visual  visualization  viviansobchack  vladmirnavakov  vocabulary  vocalfry  voice  voices  vondamcintyre  vowels  vyvyanevans  wabi-sabi  washingtondc  wcydwt  wear  web  webapps  weird  westcoast  whorfianism  wikipedia  williamlutz  willstyler  wittgenstein  wolfgangköhler  women  wordnik  wordplay  words  wordsneededinenglish  world  worlding  writing  x  yagan  yatakhourynammour  yellow 

Copy this bookmark:



description:


tags: