Link love: language (8)

‘The Integrated Adjective’, a poem by John O’Grady.

Even T-Rex struggles to imitate Irish accents.

In defence of the passive voice.

Even for such an elaborate dish, that is a very long word.

Jeanette Winterson gives up the goat on damp squids.

Medieval and early modern punctuation.

Curl up with a good book on a good book. (Hat tip to pretty far west.)

Startling starlings: recursion in primate language and birdsong (PDF, 285 KB).

The Ogham Stone. (More on Ogham here.)

Ben Zimmer and Carl Zimmer chat about the origins of the word jazz, AKA jas, among other things (video, 65 minutes).

5 Responses to Link love: language (8)

  1. Claudia says:

    Interesting links, as always. Didn’t give up the goat yet! Back home. The Chocolate Zucchini Bread was very successful. But I have some bananas ready for this week-end baking. I might vary the recipe a bit. Although when something works, why change it?

    Those peculiar English expressions are very difficult for foreigners. They’re really more cultural than grammatical. It’s a bit like what we did with the French in Quebec countryside.

  2. Stan says:

    Welcome back, Claudia! I will try to email you later. Varying the recipe is a good idea, I’m sure. The original recipe worked well, but I gradually changed bits of it here and bits of it there, and although I am very much an amateur in the kitchen, these adaptations all tended to work quite well. I’m sure your experimentation would be very successful – and the proof of the pudding is, as they say, in the eating.

    English is immeasurably rich in idioms, and there is tremendous geographical variation in these expressions. (I will try to return to grammar here soon!)

  3. A few comments on some items.

    My first comment relates (indirectly) to the very long word. I recently started a competition over at http://ficly.com/ in which I first asked people to nominate words, and then challenged people to write a story using as many of the nominated words as possible. Several people nominated very long words, but the fictional Greek dish was not among them. (The competition is here, by the way, and there’s still a few days remaining before it closes.)

    In relation to the Jeanette Winterson article, the introduction got me singing one of the traditional songs that I have on CD (as sung by Jimmy Gregory):

    I’m an honest Irish labourer and I come from the County Clare
    And once I had a farm there with nothing much to spare
    But I had to sell my donkey and my famous billy goat
    And with the money I received to Glasgow took the boat . . .

    Finally, the medieval punctuation article looks particularly interesting, and I will read it thoroughly when I have the time.

  4. Stan says:

    Thanks for your comments, Flesh-eating Dragon. (May I call you ‘Dragon’, or is the full name or some other short version more to your liking? I will use ‘Dragon’ for now.) I don’t know the ‘Honest Irish Labourer’ song, but I found the rest of the lyrics online and was duly amused.

    The challenges on Ficly seem like fun; maybe I will join in another time. I agree with the site’s creators that constraints are good, and can help shape creativity, but there would not have been much room to manoeuvre had you included Lopado­temakhko­selakho­galeo­kranio­leipsano­drim­hypo­trimmato­silphio­karabo­melito­katakekhy­meno­kikhl­epi­kossypho­phatto­perister­alektryon­opto­kephallio­kigklo­peleio­lagōio­siraio­baphē­tragano­pterýgōn!

  5. Re: names, I really don’t mind. An alternative with a little more precedent is F.E.D. but I have no problem with Dragon.

    On blogs where the most convenient way to sign in is through OpenID, I appear as “outerhoard”. It’s always slightly disconcerting to be addressed by the name of my blog, but I accept that as a small price to pay for the convenience of not having to type my full name and URL. By comparison, “Dragon” (or even “Flesh”, for that matter) is quite unremarkable.

    I spent four years in Glasgow as a child. Never set foot in Ireland, though.

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