Link love: language (36)

If you’re new here, welcome, and if you’re not, welcome back.

Every 6–12 posts or so I gather a bunch of language-related links, old and new, long and short.* Slang is a recurring theme this time round.


On the language of Michael D. Higgins, Ireland’s new president.

Love among the participles.

Word surprise, or: What the hell kind of word is [X]?

How do you pronounce uilleann pipes?

Blogtailing betapreneurs: new words of forecasting journalism.

Slang is the pleasure principle.

Street slang – the dodgy-looking geezer.

Why do we use whose with inanimate objects?

Try to try out “try and”.

Assertionism: prescriptivism without evidence.

The Irish “strut”.

Punctuation is important.

Words of America: a field guide.

How language could have evolved without language-specific constraints (PDF).


The next few focus on Twitter, but don’t be put off if you don’t use it.

Maps of language communities on Twitter: Europe; world.

Is Twitter eroding language? (Clue: No.)

Twitterology, and on the front lines of Twitter linguistics.

Local Twitter slang, and all that jawn.

How pencils are made.


* Also, if we can trust this man, “luscious”. Here are the archives.


5 Responses to Link love: language (36)

  1. johnwcowan says:

    If it weren’t for the Net, I’d have entirely the wrong idea about dodgy-looking geezer, since dodgy is not AmE at all and geezer means an old man (which gives the song “Geezers Need Excitement” a whole new meaning).

  2. johnwcowan says:

    Oh, that reminds me. Poking around on Dialect Blog (where I can’t seem to leave comments any more) showed a reference to a partial START-SQUARE merger in Dublin speech, such that stars and stairs sound similar or the same. Do you know anything about this? It might cast a light on the following anecdote by Alfred Noyes:

    Punch discovered a misprint in one of my peace poems [“In Time Of War”, 1907] in the Irish Times. My verses had depicted a family dreaming of the homecoming of their soldier from the wars, while

    All night he lies beneath the stars,
    And dreams no more out there.

    The Irish Times printed it as

    All night he lies beneath the stairs,

    and made matters worse by adding, “Only a true artist could achieve this effect of quietly hopeless tragedy.” Punch seized upon this, and said that if I could express a wish for the New Year, it would probably be to meet the editor of the Irish Times. Oddly enough, a week or two later I found myself sitting next to him at a public dinner and, as an opening gambit in our conversation, remarked that we had recently met in Punch. To my surprise he blushed violently, and said something about having dismissed two printers, for it was the fourth time during the last month or two he had found himself in Punch .

  3. Another excellent selection. I must admit the list of forecasting buzzwords was frightening – Major updates to bullshit bingo will be required!

    I see your “Punctuation is important” pic is cleaner that the Capitalization one I posted a couple of days ago!

  4. Stan says:

    John: Dodgy is quite common in Irish English, but geezer is virtually unheard of – at least in my experience – unless someone is aping a character in a British crime film or something like that. I don’t know much about the partial START-SQUARE merger in Dublin; maybe a more phonetics-savvy reader can help? But I wonder whose reading, and whose interpretation, conspired to turn stars into stairs. It turns the poem on its head.

    Jams: It’s a disconcerting list. Except for slowtopia, which sounds very pleasant, though it very much depends on the Slowtopians who inhabit it. Yes, my punctuation pic skipped Uncle Jack for Jim and Joe!

  5. John Cowan says:

    It turns out that in Local Dublin, the traditional working-class Dublin accent, the START vowel is heavily fronted to [ɛː]. Since Local Dublin is generally non-rhotic (very unlike most varieties of Hiberno-English), stars is [stɛːz], stairs something like [stɛəz], a very small difference. Surely the Irish Times editor didn’t speak Local Dublin, but the typesetter may well have.

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