Monthly Archives: October 2010


There’s a microblogging service that is allowed by the Chinese Government, who have armies of censors making sure it doesn’t allow the same freedom of expression as Twitter. More on this can be read in the recent Economists Article. But what’s really great is running it through Google Translator. Google Translate works by looking at […]

Posted in Linguistics Musing | Leave a comment


Anyone who reads Language Log regularly probably has noted that Mark Liberman repeatedly references the song ‘Oxford Comma’ by Vampire Weekend. A few days ago I found out that another famous indie band (which I like), Yeasayer, have a song called ‘Mondegreen.’ A mondegreen is a misheard lyric: an example being something like “You can’t […]

Posted in Linguistics Musing | Leave a comment

Case ‘n Point

I  identified this lovely little eggcorn a little while ago. In case you didn’t already know, an eggcorn is an idiosyncratic substitution of a word or phrase for a word or words that sound similar or identical in the speaker’s dialect. The word was coined by our very own GK Pullum, who heard of an American woman […]

Posted in Linguistics Musing | Leave a comment

The Ideophonic Glede

This morning I picked up The Ring of Words again, as I mark the pages and stop reading whenever I get an idea for something that should go on here. I had stopped at the word ‘gleed,’ which is an obsolete term for an ember or coal. ‘Gleed’ is another word, now sadly ignored as […]

Posted in Linguistics Musing | Leave a comment


From time to time, I find myself desiring to read books which are not related to linguistics in any possible way. Mostly, this means that I want to read science fiction or fantasy books. So, yesterday, instead of working like the diligent student I am, I sat down and read Ender’s Shadow by Orson Scott […]

Posted in Linguistics Musing | Leave a comment

Ken More

Ken More – Graffiti on Old College I was walking by Old College yesterday when I saw this graffiti on the side. I didn’t make much of it, but my flatmate pointed it out and gave a perfunctory ‘heh.’ “Know more,” he said, in his upper-class Scottish accent. And so I started thinking. It’s possible […]

Posted in Linguistics Musing | 3 Comments

Rosetta Stone 300

The Rosetta Stone company has a new project out. Here’s the details, copied verbatim from the Linguist List email. If you have 10-30 minutes and a keyboard or a microphone, please consider making a submission to The Rosetta Project’s latest volunteer-based linguistic documentation project: The 300 Languages Project is a special effort by The […]

Posted in Linguistics Musing | Leave a comment

“I don’t know the meaning of the word!”

We’ve probably all heard them before: ”X isn’t in my dictionary/vocabulary!”, or  ”I don’t know the meaning of the word X!”, and variations on that theme. Language Log is notorious for fighting campaigns against the “no word for x” construction, used by poor journalists and politicians to equate lack of a term for something (often wrong) […]

Posted in Linguistics Musing | 3 Comments

Look Not To This Post

My friend Jack was remarking on our fish tank. It is remarkable in that it has no fish, but rather a half inch of water and an apparently autochthonous snail population. (This is the first time I’ve used this, my favourite word, correctly and not metaphorically.) He was looking for them on the landward end […]

Posted in Linguistics Musing | Leave a comment

Bilingualism’s Cognitive Effects in Children

In a recent Discovery News Article, Bilingualism Good for the Brain, three points were used to sum up a recent article in Science related to bilingualism. “Speaking two or more languages appears to enhance executive function — the ability to focus on the information needed to complete a task. Bilinguals with Alzheimer’s disease retained brain […]

Posted in Linguistics Musing | 16 Comments