Link love: language (4)

Mark Peters writes about mystery-y-ish-y and other strange -y suffixations.

The wonderful Wordnik: no ordinary dictionary. Might not be a dictionary at all. TED Talks video: Erin McKean redefines the dictionary.

kikiClassic music albums re-imagined as Penguin books.

A really important hyphen.

P. W. Joyce explains Irish place names.

The taste of words (like “kiki” and “bouba”, pictured).

Jesse Sheidlower’s review of The New Fowler’s Modern English Usage.

Sometimes behave so strangely“: Diana Deutsch shows how speaking voices sing.

Edited to add: Evolutionary division of labour in the human brain.

14 Responses to Link love: language (4)

  1. Sean Jeating says:

    In praise of hyphen and y: Awesome-y!

  2. Stan says:

    A novel usage, Sean! Or perhaps I should say, novelty-y.

  3. Sean Jeating says:

    Ha ha. Just my (strange) way to show how much I do appreciate your language links.
    The novelty-y ‘thingie’ is a bit gaga, though, would you agree?

  4. Claudia says:

    Interesting links. Specially, for me, the music related speaking voice. As for hyphens, they’re a great help when one never feels that familiar with the written words of another language. I would not put one for re-run but I often use re-read. We also know that mothers have said yummy-y to their children for years to induce them to eat broccoli. It might be acceptable but I would call this a dishonest hyphen.

  5. Stan says:

    Sean: Just as I invariably enjoy your playful and thoughtful comments! I wouldn’t call -y suffixation gaga, but it has become very faddish. It is often self-consciously silly, but that’s implicit in the phenomenon, the context of which is generally conversational and playful. Obviously there is great variation in how useful, innovative, illogical, lazy, funny, awkward, redundant, etc. these coinages are, but the underlying act (word formation through -y suffixation) has a long and illustrious history. We may blame TV’s Buffy (or credit it, if you are feeling generous) – and, indeed, the internet – for the recent surge in the form.

    Claudia: I’m glad you enjoyed them. I don’t know whether you looked at the rest of Diana Deutsch’s audio illusions website: it has several other experiments you might find interesting. (New Scientist drew my attention to a few more.)

    Do you mean that yummy-y‘s hyphen is dishonest because you don’t think broccoli is yummy? If so, I must politely but emphatically disagree.

  6. Claudia says:

    To understand my negativeness about broccoli (which I do not refuse when it’s offered with creamy cheese) you would have to accept that I suffer from synaestesia. Broccoli provokes a kiki reaction in my taste bud. The cheese softens it with its bouba sensation. If only my mother had known…..Of course, being French, she didn’t say ‘yummy-y’. “Pas de broccoli, pas de dessert!” était la sanction. Heroism, at 5 years old, builds you up for the more difficult adult choices on the battlefied of life. Do I remain French and burn at the stakes? Or do I fall in love with the British?

  7. Claudia says:

    Thank you for the extra audio links. No silence in the world (or in space). Every sound meaningful, though not always agreeable. Cage had a way to symphonize everything into beauty.

  8. Stan says:

    Claudia, I am most relieved you didn’t burn at the stake. Thank you for another gracious and fascinating post. I would never have known that broccoli was kiki. Was “suffer from synaesthesia” just a turn of phrase, or is it really more a misery than a blessing? (Maybe that’s a foolish question.) Cage was certainly a remarkable character, a sort of sonic alchemist. No silence, indeed – at least, not while there are sound waves and nervous systems.

    “Pas de broccoli, pas de dessert!”

    Chez moi, au moins une fois, c’était “pas de tomate, pas de truc sucré!” Le dessert, on ne l’a appelé pas “le dessert” mais “un truc sucré”, ou – si on avais de la chance – “des trucs sucrés”. Pour reprendre et adapter les mots de Mlle Minogue, je ne sais pas pourquoi “truc sucré”. D’habitude c’était du chocolat ou des biscuits. Si on a mangé la tomate.

    Short editing notes to follow, since you asked so nicely before :)
    The singular “stake” is used in the expression “burn at the stake”. “Synaesthesia” is usually spelt with -th- (though -t- might not be wrong; I’ve yet to confirm this). And: was “battlefied” a typo? It needs an l near the end. Shall I make the changes and delete these notes, or leave everything as it landed?

  9. Claudia says:

    I self-diagnosed my neurological condition only this morning while reading one of your links:The taste of Words. A bit hard to catch the right spelling instantly. Of course, I’m just having fun. It would have been a blessing, in childhood, to suffer from synaesthesia.. Specially at mealtime! :)))))) Maybe you had it too?

    J’aurais mangé 10 tomates pour un truc sucré. Elle est entichante ‘Mlle Minogue”! Comment trouves-tu tous ces renseignements et vidéos? C’est si intéressant. Juste une petite erreur dans le message (t pour s):’si on avait de la chance’.

    Now that I know where I failed, please, leave everything as it landed, with your notes. Someone else might learn from my mistakes. Which reasons would I have to visit such a tremendous teacher if I had no need for corrections? The missing l was a typo. Thank you again for your courteous attention.

  10. Stan says:

    J’aurais mangé 10 tomates pour un truc sucré.

    Moi, j’aurais dû t’inviter manger mes tomates. On aurait pu partager les trucs sucrés. C’était un plaisir de t’aider. Merci pour la correction – j’étais négligent!

    Les renseignements, je les trouve comme ci.

  11. Claudia says:

    Tu es drôle, Stan… :))))) À la prochaine!

  12. Sean Jeating says:

    Ha, once again I took my intention for the deed.
    Thus, with some weeks delay:
    The gaga came from the stomach, spontaneously. Reading your reply, I felt reminded of that sometimes I do not think things through.
    Ah, Stan: Thanks a lot.
    By the way, lovely to read the dialogues of Claude and you.

  13. Stan says:

    Claudia: I am sorry, I intended to add: Toi, t’es gentille, et oui, à la prochaine!

    Sean: Gut reactions are often very valuable; indeed, they sometimes kick-start my posts here (the rants, anyway), which only subsequently become tempered and rationalised. Mais comment est ton français?

  14. Claudia says:

    Merci! Mais ce n’était pas nécessaire. J’aime beaucoup avoir le dernier mot.À bientôt!

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