Happy new year to readers and visitors of Sentence first (which, I just noticed, turned ten last year). If you’re into language or linguistics, you should find a few things to interest you below. Don’t eat them all at once.
Why was writing invented?
Why do we call it a paperback?
Black English and who gets to use it.
The emotional portmanteau pentagram.
Morph: a blog about languages and how they change.
Tweetolectology: exploring language change via social media.
Using machines to understand ancient languages.
Northern Ireland slang with Jamie Dornan.
A podcast on the Philly accent.
Teachers: don’t do this.
Middle English Dictionary.
On English in African literature.
Smell can be coded in grammar (PDF).
American Dialect Society words of the year.
Linguistic discrimination is not ‘the last acceptable prejudice’.
Green’s Dictionary of Slang is now fully and freely available online.
Immersion, and sickness, in service of translation.
What ‘untranslatable’ words really tell us.
The Rune Cast: a podcast about runes.
Respect for Aretha Franklin’s slang.
On the need to rebrand ‘pests’.
So … let’s talk about so.
Farewell to Lingua Franca.
Linguistics on YouTube: a long list.
A wonderful example of language change.
Resisting the global dominance of English.
Mountain speech: the unique Appalachian dialect.
Why do we dislike hearing a recording of our own voice?
How to say yes and no in Irish, which has no words for yes and no.
What if English were phonetically consistent?
For more language links, you can browse the archive or follow me on Twitter.
I am new here so very much appreciate these bites to get started!
Welcome! Thanks for stopping by. My blogging is sporadic at the moment, but there’s lots in the archive. As a creative type, you might enjoy these book spine poems.
Oh what sweet brilliance! Book spine poetry! Yet another reason to reject the KonMari purging of our libraries. Thank you.
Yes, it’s a great way to pass time with your books, especially if you’re susceptible to tsundoku…
The Guardian’s article on the English language taking over the planet mentions Korean parents paying for their children to have surgery to be able to pronounce ‘the English retroflex consonant’. I didn’t know we had one, and after brief research I’m still not convinced that we do.
On the other hand, in 2011 it was reported that a woman in the UK had had the same surgery to be able to pronounce a particular consonant in Korean, which the article I read specifies as the one half-way between /l/ and /r/.
The retroflex, or retroflex approximant, r /ɻ/ occurs in some American (and Irish) dialects. There are a few references to it on Dialect Blog.
One of the articles on Dialect Blog says that ‘many’ American dialects have a retroflex r. This is the first time I’ve encountered any reference to retroflex r in a medium amount of reading.
But producing one variety of r instead of another, or producing any one at all, is not crucial to speaking general English, or general American English. It might be (part of) the difference between sounding like a Philadelphia speaker (to choose a random example), a New York speaker, and a Boston speaker (non-rhotic).
And it doesn’t explain why Korean parents are taking their children off to oral surgeons to have this operation done.
Once again, Stan, a great compilation of bits and pieces from across the world of linguistics. Particularly liked the “Linguists should stop saying linguistic discrimination is the last acceptable prejudice” piece by Mark Lewis.
Thanks, Chips – glad you found some enjoyable items here. Yes, that piece by Mark Lewis was very welcome.
the internet exists precisely so that videos like that could be made.
One of the top reasons, for sure.
Watching that video at the end of the list reminded me how some Dublin accents – let’s say the general inner-city northside one – doesn’t diphthongize the way other Irish English accents or dialects do. For example, “dream” can have two distinct vowels, not a diphthong. Or is it still a diphthong but just of a different kind? Phonetics is not my strong suit.
Nor mine. My hunch is that it’s two vowels, but I’d be interested in hearing an expert’s answer.