Link love: language (24)

Prepositional cannibalism.

The history of w00t. [via]

Chicago Manual of Style outtakes.

Morphology of the Folktale.

Parallels between babbling and birdsong.

“They come from unknown darkness”: When words slip away.

Flummoxed, flabbergasted and gobsmacked.

How idioms from the Bible have been fruitful and multiplied.

New ways to track and analyse language.

Linguistic diversity of aboriginal Europe.

Truthy truth about truthiness.

The strange syntax of news.

Phonology and Phonetics 101.

Illustrated alphabet of Japanese culture.

The meaning of manky.

[more]
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9 Responses to Link love: language (24)

  1. John Cowan says:

    I once saw an alphabetical inventory of the complete contents of a London bedroom, which included the following:

    sheets
    sheets, manky
    sheets, extraordinarily manky

    I burst into laughter. Whoever wrote that had a funky (original meaning: ‘smelly’) sense of humor.

  2. Fran says:

    A great selection as usual. These posts are to the linguistically-fascinated what a box of assorted chocolates is to the average woman. Sometimes these things exist in the same person, so I’m told … I really like the prepositional cannibalism post especially. I’m going to follow that blog.

  3. Stan says:

    John: Heh. I can’t help but wonder how manky is an extraordinarily manky sheet. There’s a curious derivation that I’ve heard locally: mank, used either as a noun to describe manky matter, or as an adjective equivalent to manky, and sometimes as a standalone expression (like ‘Gross!’).

    Fran: The average man, too. I suspect that the co-existence of linguistic fascination and chocophilia is very widespread, but I’m unaware of any reliable surveys that might confirm this. You’ll like Literal-Minded; it’s consistently fun and fascinating.

  4. John Cowan says:

    Well, I guess a sheet stripped off the bed after long hard use and stuffed in a corner would be manky; only after it remains there for six months does it become extraordinarily so. By the way, I should clarify that this list was of a (stereo)typical bedroom rather than an actual, specific one.

  5. wisewebwoman says:

    thanks for the list, Stan. Some wonderful links there…
    XO
    WWW

  6. Claude says:

    I remember, after 6 months of English immersion, the first time I could use flabbergasted at ease, in a conversation. I was so proud! I thought it was very sophisticated. It was fun to learn, here, that the name of the adjectif is flabbergastation. Who would have known?

    When I asked a Writing Teacher what would he advise a would-be-writer to read to improve one’s English, he answered, “The King James Bible.” It is beautifully written. How interesting that we have adopted so many figures of speech from its pages.

    As always, thank you for your posts, Stan.

  7. Stan says:

    John: It depends, I suppose, on where one places the limits of ordinary mankiness.

    WWW: You’re very welcome. It’s a pleasure to share them.

    Claudia: Flabbergasted is a fun word to use, too. Something about its sound helps to convey the sense of amused astonishment. I don’t think I’ve ever used flabbergastation, but I will!

    The King James Bible’s linguistic legacy is an aspect of its influence not often reflected upon; I found that article very interesting, too.

  8. On Colbert, I dimly remember hearing some authority on the radio back in the nineties saying that the root of many problems with American politics was a lack of political comedy: that American culture didn’t permit people to make fun of politicians very much, hence no cultural safety valve.

    That was surely too simple a diagnosis then, and now in the Colbert age I doubt it would be made at all.

  9. Stan says:

    Dragon: That’s an oversimplification all right. The quality of political comedy gains and falls, so maybe the speaker generalised based on an impression that it was low at the time.

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