Link love: language (58)

A quick roundup of links on language, words, and linguistics in the news and around the web over the last few weeks (plus one or two from the archives):

The linguistics of ventriloquism.

Exclamation marks in graphic design.

Linguistic maps of the world, 1741.

A monumental curse.

The importance of paragraphs.

Is this what Proto-Indo-European sounded like?

Cute little Cholera Plague: the worst baby names in history.

Ironic dictionary of literary terms.

Rickrolling in Klingon.

Jigsaw family.

A tip-top primer on reduplication.

Joseph Stalin’s passion for editing.

A lingua-licious tour of libfixes.

On anchor(man) vs. news reader.

Do marmosets take turns to communicate?

[Update: more on marmoset conversation from Margaret Wilson.]

Is it wrong to put two spaces after a full stop? (My thoughts on this.)

Dog fooding, yak shaving: hacker terms for Ada Lovelace Day.

How old is TGIF?

The rise of the text tattoo.

On criticising “poor grammar”.

A hithertofore unrecognised neologism.

Words through which the root curr- courses.

How early modern English grammar differs from today’s.

Why dictionaries define words everyone supposedly knows.

Holy Sh*t and the history of swearing (book review).

The Seeing Speech phonetics project.

Are poisonous and venomous mutually distinct?

BuzzFeed and Duolingo are crowdsourcing translation.

The Chicago Manual of Style chats with Ben Zimmer.

Accent discrimination in the UK.

Linguistic ruin? LOL! A study of teens’ instant messaging language (PDF).

The poetics of babytalk (PDF).

Are Elvish, Klingon, Na’vi and Dothraki real languages?

[language links archive]

12 Responses to Link love: language (58)

  1. Barrie says:

    Thanks for the mention, Stan.

  2. wisewebwoman says:

    Paragraphs. I’m reading a rather densely printed Daphne du Maurier at the moment (it’s about West Cork, thinly disguised given to me by a bro) and finding it rough on the eyes and the imagination.

    I need to breathe and reflect and this is not allowing me.

    Paragraphs rock. Great post as always.


  3. Stan says:

    You’re welcome, Barrie, and kudos on an excellent series addressing the ‘Negative Canon’.

    WWW: I know what you mean. Dense text without visual breaks can weigh down the reading experience; sometimes this is all to the good, and lends a suitably claustrophobic element, but it can also be hard work.

  4. rcayley says:

    Great list, Stan. Thanks for including me. (I bet there are people out there–people who get a lot of actual work done–who could resist clicking on Rickrolling in Klingon, but I’m not one of them. So funny!)

  5. alexmccrae1546 says:

    First off, thanks Stan for this motley ‘Link Love’ mix. Lots to learn and ruminate upon.

    I thoroughly enjoyed Holly Case’s recent article, “The Tyrant as Editor”, appearing in The Chronicle Review, particularly her noting Joseph Stalin’s dualistic ‘editor’ persona, as it were— the editor as revisionist historian and self-promoting propagandist, and the more troubling– ‘Editor’, writ large, and fearsome—the ‘Supreme Editor’ of actual flesh-and-blood people… his legions of political adversaries, or those who didn’t conveniently fit into his schema of Stalinist hegemony. They merely vanished into thin air, or were literally given a one-way train ticket to the Siberian gulags.

    Clearly, as an astute revisionist of Russian history, Stalin, in a sense, set the guiding template for a generation of future Soviet historical chroniclers to come*; shaping the ‘Party line’ up to and immediately after his mortal demise, throughout the span of The Cold War freeze w/ the West; essentially ending w/ the tearing down of ‘That Wall’**, and eventually the Gorbachev regime’s dissolution of the old repressive, closed Soviet Union, w/ the welcome flowering of Glasnost and Perestroilka throughout the entire former U.S.S.R..***

    (No, Glasnost & Perestroila was not a former Soviet Olympic dance-pairs figure-skating championship duo.)

    *Ironically, Stalin was essentially hoist on his own petard. His model for ‘efficient’ editing was mimicked w/ aplomb by later Soviet revisionist-inclined historians, as the exploits of Stalin (good, mostly bad, and ugly) were quickly erased from the official Russian historical canon, and the Soviet collective memory.

    ** Of course. the phrase, ‘That Wall”, was immortalized in Pres. Reagan’s urgent plea to Gorbachev to dismantle the Berlin Wall.

    *** Curiously, Bulgaria, in their first free national election after they officially declared themselves an independent nation in the early ’90s, elected a former Communist Party operative, by a large mandate, to lead them into the new decade. Old habits, clearly die hard.

  6. Stan says:

    Rachael: It’s a match made in internet heaven. And you’re very welcome – thank you for a fine post.

    Alex: You’re welcome.

  7. Claire Stokes says:

    On the number-spaces-after-sentence conundrum, I learned (twice!) on a typewriter, must be why I’ve always been bi-spatial. Recently, oddly, two spaces have felt *much* clearer/better.

    Re-reading your tweet though make three spaces appealing – so close to the cliff of complete calamity! Fun!

    • Stan says:

      Claire: In that tweet I exaggerated the implications of 4 spaces only because there was no room to add more. I’ve edited texts where 5, 6, and even 8 spaces have occurred more than once! I don’t object to 2, still less denounce the style, except in formats where it results in unsightly gaps.

      • Claire Stokes says:

        That many spaces, Stan?! I can’t imagine. Four really did feel like the height of hilarity to me. Wow.
        Also the article on British accents was interesting (your link-love posts are treasure boxes, to be slowly savored). We have 2 dj’s here in Mpls-area w/ British accents. One only bothers me a little,the other one (wish I could identify) just feels like something sharp, spikey & damaging to my psyche. I bet that’s a Queen’s English instance!

      • alexmccrae1546 says:

        @Claire, on the heels of your favorable read of that article link on accent discrimination in the U.K., I opted to check it out, as well. Quite illuminating.

        Yet, I found it a bit odd that the entailed survey referenced in the piece found that the Liverpool accent, more pointedly a specific regional dialect (the name escapes me, now) thereof, was voted quite markedly as the worst in all of Britain.

        Harkening back to the Beatlemania era, I recall how we younger Americans (and Canadians) embraced every aspect of these most talented and endearing young lads from ‘cross the Mersy*, including what most felt was their charming, almost lyrical native Liverpudlian manner of speech.

        I guess rating accents is ‘in the ear of the beholder’. (Groan)

        Interesting that Edinburgh’s local accent scored quite favorably, close to the top rank; perhaps an unwitting nod to this historic Scottish city’s key roll in the 18th-to-19th-century British ‘Intellectual Enlightenment’, where to make it as a successful scholar, scribe**, or inventor in Edinburgh, back in the day, was comparable to say an aspirant-for-glory making it in New York City in our modern times. (“If you can make it there, you can make it anywhere…”… as the rousing tune immortalized by Frank Sinatra celebrates.)

        I’ve always been fascinated by the fact that so many British pop singers completely lose their distinctive regional accent in song; yet in speaking, in conversational mode, they revert to their strong, familiar dialect. Of late, the gifted English singer Adele, comes to mind. When she is speaking off-the-cuff, often dusting the conversation w/ some pretty salty ‘oaths’, she sounds like the authentic Cockney, working class-rooted gal she really is. When she sings, however, the generic pop accent automatically kicks in, granted most beautifully, and w/ such richness of tone and depth of emotion.

        *As a teenager growing up in Canada during the British (pop music) Invasion’ of the ’60s, I had a special regard for that ‘other’ Liverpool-based band, Gerry and the Pacemakers, who wowed American teens w/ their haunting “Ferries ‘Cross the Mersy”, and further, were one of the upstart Brit groups who popularized the catchy Mersy Beat.

        **Although raised as a humble farm boy in rural Aryshire, the famed poet Robbie Burns’ later career as a celebrated intellectual, and most significantly, renowned poet of-the-first- order, rose meteorically once he became part of the Edinburgh cultural elite.

  8. […] course, if it’s language link collections done right that you want, Stan’s the man to see, as […]

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