Link love: language (64)

A recurring series asks, ‘Will you still read me, will you still tweet me, when I’m sixty-four?’ I hope at least that you find a few items of interest in this batch of language-related links from recent weeks.

The story of Ogham.

On holding one’s head.

Oliver Sacks and the OED.

A 17thC irony mark, revived.

A short guide to Hindi profanity.

On the use of mate in Australian English.

A survey of spoken Irish in the Aran Islands.

Who were the first people ever recorded in writing?

Finding new language for ‘unmanned’ space missions.

On the use (and abuse) of machine translation for minority languages.

Both uses of disinterested are perfectly acceptable.

Linguistic inferences from a Turkish typewriter.

How the ellipsis arrived in English literature.

The problem with calling people migrants.

How portability ruined the telephone.

Spiders are using textspeak now.

Emoticons, emoji, and the law.

The history of Wingdings.

Typgnuig like thsi?

Caio Beltrão’s letter faces.

Snapping is the new clapping.

The importance of being native.

The first rule of Linguistics Club.

Mapping variation in Australian English.

Right. OK. Look, let’s talk about asterismos.

Profile of Walt Wolfram, champion of dialects.

The grammar of shipping (in the fictional romance sense).

Nonsense words are funnier when they’re less like real words.

Real Vocabulary – a new descriptive series from Macmillan Dictionary.

‘The best writers I’ve worked with love to get copyedited.’

The importance of chunking in language learning.

The evolution of paragraph styles and marks.

Niche: two pronunciations, two senses.

Playing (the) musical instruments.

Bad linguistics journalism bingo.

Because X was used in 1949.

Anxious is not ambiguous.

How ‘weird’ is English?

What a pronoun is and isn’t.

The many lives of the asterisk.

When books are subway tickets.

Pop linguistics book recommendations.

When and how to correct people’s language.

AP rejects skeptic for climate-change naysayers.

Fraudulent research papers are linguistically more opaque.

Lake Disappointment, Useless Bay, and other sad place names.

How Dracula got his name (it’s not from droch fhola).

Which contractions should you use, and when?

7 questions to a linguist: John McWhorter.

Future tense in headline grammar.

David Lynch’s elusive language.

A selection of Jamaican slang.

How contronyms come to be.

The funnies.’

If you’re still with me, here are two videos to finish: one musical, one educational, both very entertaining.

Tweeted Love:

The Zipf mystery:


For more like this, see the language links archive.


9 Responses to Link love: language (64)

  1. kim881 says:

    Some fascinating reading for a Saturday afternoon.

  2. When I read the “How contronyms come to be” article a few weeks ago, what caught my eye was the bit about the word “impregnable”. It’s a surprising example of how a once silent letter, added to the spelling on the whim of scribes, can later come to be universally pronounced. I suggest citing it next time anyone complains about the pronunciation of silent letters, as a precedent to show that this form of spelling-driven language change can go all the way.

    • Stan Carey says:

      Yes, it’s a good example of how circumstantial are the origins of some of our everyday customs in usage. It would be nice to think that citing it would win over people who complain about the pronunciation of silent letters, but in my experience the complainers are not very interested in history or reasonable debate: they prefer to just have their feelings and biases validated.

  3. nbmandel says:

    That “Tweeted Love” is some particular brand of genius. Thanks.

  4. […] almost two months since my last batch of language links: definitely time for another. It’s a smaller pile than usual, and some of them […]

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