Link love: language (71)

It’s past time for a linkfest, so here’s a selection of items from the world of language and linguistics that caught my eye in recent months.

Normally I include some audio material, but I’ll save that for a post on podcasts in the hopefully-not-too-distant future. In the meantime, happy reading.


Word aversion.

White emoji, black skin.

Losing your native language.

Icelandic: a lively linguistic fossil.

The globe-trotting history of golazo.

Irish English for the non-Irish (PDF).

Saving Stephen Hawking’s synthetic voice.

How grammar superstitions can unravel good writing.

How the Brothers Grimm changed historical linguistics.

Something interesting is happening to exclamation marks!

The challenges of lexicography in the digital age.

How Latinx crosses the frontiers of language.

What should we call the next generation?

‘She never saw a dog and didn’t smile.’

Got vs. gotten in UK and US English.

Did Neanderthals have language?

Synaesthesia is not a metaphor.

The Accentism Project.

Wearing language.

Interviews with linguists.

New rules of capitalization.

Passive voice used by zombies.

Acrostics in football league tables.

Cheese and other weird bookmarks.

The changing complexity of sentences.

What was the best thing before sliced bread?

Code-switching is still a tough sell, even in schools.

Common sayings that have lost their original meanings.

Punctuation spoken aloud as discourse markers dot dot dot.

Superman is self-conscious about his Kryptonian accent.

Where does the farewell phrase So long come from?

Interactive Album of Mediaeval Palaeography.

The poetic use of –ing words in linguistics.

Turn-taking in animal communication.

How do evidential languages work?

Place names in Irish sayings.

Lost in robo-translation.

Why is a beeline straight?

12 likes for you to like.

The Prodigal Tongue.

Gammon as an insult.

The rapid rise of wellness. covers emojis.

How to write a good book review.

The enduring appeal of Esperanto.

The shallowness of Google Translate.

Why cartoon villains have foreign accents.

Children’s word of the year is plastic (PDF).

How the letters of the alphabet got their names.

How English swear words went from holy to shit.

The value (and scarcity) of regional dialects in literature.

The OED is looking for your regional words and expressions.

For language researchers: 14-billion-word iWeb corpus (PDF).

We’re less prone to superstition when we think in a foreign language.

The mystery of Zipf’s Law:


More language links in the archive.


6 Responses to Link love: language (71)

  1. astraya says:

    Ooh, I mentioned ‘by zombies’ in one of my posts. I hope that I didn’t mislead anyone. Checking, I find I wrote: ‘Several sources online (including Grammarly) suggest that one way to identify the passive in English is to add ‘by zombies’ after it’. Hmmm, I credit ‘several sources online’ and say that they ‘suggest *one* way’. I think I’m covered.

    • Stan Carey says:

      The ‘by zombies’ trick is amusing, and if it leads some people to become more interested in grammar, that’s great. But it is also misleading, so on balance I don’t think it’s worth perpetuating. The less said about Gr*mmarly, the better.

      • astraya says:

        Grammarly seems to be the ones who started it. Certainly, they came up first on the search, which doesn’t necessarily mean they were the ones who started it.
        In another post, I wrote negatively about Grammarly (possibly coincidentally, about passive voice), though I didn’t mention them by name (a well-known grammar checker for computers and mobile phones), being too polite and scared of flaming.

        • Stan Carey says:

          I doubt they started it. In my experience their style is generally to use or appropriate existing ideas or material, then rely on marketing to rate high on search engines.

  2. Chips Mackinolty says:

    The article on “gammon” as an insult neglects the Aboriginal English “gammon”. If something is “gammon”, it is a lie or pretence. A “gammon” person is full of shit and/or falsehood.

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