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Blissymbolics ~ Handywrite ~ Teeline ~ Gregg ~ Pitman

A Guide to Alternative Handwriting and Shorthand Systems
posted by anastasiav on Jul 5, 2004 - 8 comments

N-I-G-G-E-R

Cable channel Trio drops the N-bomb An original documentary, premiering tonight, takes a close look at a troublesome word.
posted by LinusMines on Jul 4, 2004 - 21 comments

Bhí Pádraig agus Michéal sa teach tabhairne

Should Gaelic be an official EU language? As a happy member of the SCA I promise to revise all my past snarkiness and negative thinking about the EU if this happens. I will read (ploddingly and with a dictionary) all those speeches by Chirac and Schroder--as soon as they're translated into Gaelic. If Maltese can be an EU language of diplomacy, why not Gaelic? While the world around us rages, we'll return to the Middle Ages. (From crookedtimber)
posted by jfuller on Jun 25, 2004 - 27 comments

The Hills Are Alive With The Semantics of Music

Tunes create context like language : "musical notes are strung together in the same patterns as words in a piece of literature". Full paper. On a related note, hone your musical comprehension by playing with Impromptu. Better yet, co-ordinate it with this MIT OpenCourse - Developing Musical Structures.
posted by Gyan on Jun 22, 2004 - 21 comments

One person’s gaffe is another’s peccadillo

Common Errors In English :: an internet guide
posted by anastasiav on Jun 20, 2004 - 117 comments

The Limerick packs jokes anatomical ...

Wordcraft, an on-line community of linguaphiles, best known for its extensive collection of eponyms, has taken on a new and fairly ambitious project -- they're trying to rewrite the entire Oxford English Dictionary -- in limerick form. So far they're only on the a's, but they do seem optimistic.
Shamelessly stolen from languagehat's blog
posted by anastasiav on Jun 18, 2004 - 7 comments

The Web's #1 Axe In My Head Page

"Oh my god! There's an axe in my head"
posted by anastasiav on Jun 15, 2004 - 21 comments

Kiitos, Kalevi!

Europe's oldest language? Kalevi Wiik makes the argument that most of Europe may have spoken a proto Finno-Ugric language before the appearance of Indo-European speakers in the region. It's still controversial a few years after the paper was published (and likely always will be).

Modern European derivitives of the language in question are Hungarian, the Ugric branch's sole representative in Europe, (although it has relatives in central Asia), as well as the Finnic Finnish, Estonian, Karelian (which is considered by some to be a dialect of Finnish and not a separate language), Izhora and Veps (which are both disputed in language v. dialect and are nearly dead), Vod (which is dead), Liv (which is dead and doesn't Google well), and the Saami languages, which have about 10 dialects and a sufficiently different grammar and lexicon that it gets the "strange cousin" title.
posted by Mayor Curley on Jun 15, 2004 - 58 comments

Speak Deutsch?

Being Bilingual Protects Against Some Age-related Cognitive Changes.
Full paper link.
posted by Gyan on Jun 14, 2004 - 20 comments

Onomatopoeia, gee it's good to see ya!

If you don't like dictionary posts, look away, NOW!
But if you like to play with words, the dictionarians at Merriam-Webster have announced the winners in their poll for the Ten Favorite Words for 2004:
defenestration, serendipity, onomatopoeia, discombobulate, plethora, callipygian, juxtapose, persnickety, kerfuffle and flibbertigibbet
Also, a list of runners-up with more of my personal faves: oxymoron, copacetic, curmudgeon, conundrum, euphemism, superfluous, and of course, Smock! Smock! Smock!
[more inside] Via vidiot.
posted by wendell on Jun 12, 2004 - 41 comments

Head-butt

Give me a Glasgow kiss! The OED's newest English words. Glasgow kiss, n. [ Glasgow, the name of a city in west central Scotland + KISS n., in humorous allusion to the reputation for violence accorded to some parts of the city. Cf. earlier Liverpool kiss s.v. LIVERPOOL n.] A head-butt.
posted by mfoight on Jun 10, 2004 - 19 comments

Here's one for Languagehat

Double-Tongued Word Wrester :: Words from the fringes of English
posted by anastasiav on Jun 4, 2004 - 5 comments

And you thought your mother was naughty

Racial Slurs have been around for centuries, and this website attempts to collect them all (2,295 so far) and explain their origins. May not be SFW if someone is reading over your shoulder.
posted by whoshotwho on May 27, 2004 - 18 comments

Ye Olde Writings

AncientScripts.com : discover introductions to more than 70 ancient and modern writing systems, from LinearB to hPhags-pa to Cherokee. View languages by type, family, or region. Many links to further reading on each subject, plus other goodies.
posted by falconred on May 7, 2004 - 3 comments

It's a sign!

Baby Sign Language. Hearing children can learn to sign before they can talk. Parents can use ASL, or make up their own language.
posted by Karmakaze on May 4, 2004 - 67 comments

Forthright's Phrontistery

Forthright's Phrontistery: English word lists and language resources.
posted by hama7 on May 3, 2004 - 4 comments

Jingle Bells! Batman smells!

The Online Dictionary of Playground Slang. Includes not just slang words, but also all those obnoxious rhymes we sang. "My little Pony, skinny and bony..."
posted by Robot Johnny on Apr 29, 2004 - 4 comments

How NOT to write metaphors

"She was as easy as the Daily Star crossword," and other allegedly actual similes and metaphors from student essays, mangled like pigeons on Baltimore light rail tracks.
posted by brownpau on Apr 22, 2004 - 29 comments

TPM on the importance of words

This is precisely the sort of inane mumbojumbo that will -- perhaps literally -- get us all killed....The importance of words is a conceit of wordsmiths, certainly. But they are important -- especially when they bleed through into thought and action, which happens more often than you'd think.,

TPM is becoming almost too widely-read to be postworthy, but Josh really puts things into perspective with this post. For an example of what all this jingoistic gibberish can result in, see the post below it.
posted by jpoulos on Apr 15, 2004 - 63 comments

"I am of Ireland, and the Holy Land of Ireland..."

CELT, the Corpus of Electronic Texts, "brings the wealth of Irish literary and historical culture to the Internet, for the use and benefit of everyone worldwide. It has a searchable online database consisting of contemporary and historical texts from many areas, including literature and the other arts." It has texts in Irish, Latin, Anglo-Norman French, and English, ranging from the annals of the fifth century to the Agreement reached in the Multi-Party Negotiations in Northern Ireland of 1998. "Great my glory/ I that bore Cuchulainn the valiant..."
posted by languagehat on Apr 11, 2004 - 5 comments

Fetchi

A dictionary of Japanese pornography terms. After you've mastered the theory, you can read about it in greater detail, then test your knowledge. (First link SFW if no one's reading over your shoulder, others N.)
posted by kenko on Apr 11, 2004 - 9 comments

Are you shouting?

To capitalize or not to capitalize a deity? As far as I know Hebrew, Aramaic, Arabic and the modern descendants of Sanskrit use no capital letters, so for those languages the point is moot. I can’t speak for too many of the other language families, but I don’t know of any syllabaries or abugidas that use majuscules, so the question seems to be most relevant to the alphabetic languages that use capitals such as the Latin, Greek and Germanic families (including English). Some people even completely capitalize the name of their deity, apparently disdaining minuscules completely.
posted by snarfodox on Apr 8, 2004 - 6 comments

Muckle bonnie wirds

Dictionary of the Scots Language. The two major historical dictionaries of the Scots language, the Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue (DOST) and the Scottish National Dictionary (SND), have been combined into one searchable online edition:
Thus, information on the earliest uses of Scots words can be presented alongside examples of the later development and, in some cases, current usage of the same words. In this way, we hope that the DSL will allow users to appreciate the continuity and historical development of the Scots language. By making the DSL freely available on the Internet, we also aim to widen access to the source dictionaries and to open up these rich lexicographic resources to anyone with an interest in Scots language and culture.

posted by languagehat on Apr 2, 2004 - 13 comments

May be locally applicable.

Charles Miller's Rules of Arguments (via dive into mark).
posted by timeistight on Mar 24, 2004 - 9 comments

OED new words

F-word now a word, as well as : twelve-incher, sheepshagger, and old man of the woods! The newest real English words now in the OED.
posted by mfoight on Mar 22, 2004 - 10 comments

100 Most Mispronounced Words

100 Most Often Mispronounced Words and Phrases in English.
posted by hama7 on Mar 20, 2004 - 83 comments

to blathe, or not to blathe

Part dictionary, part literature. Often intensely personal, sometimes quite creepy. Not quite Wiki, and not wholly a forum. Must be Blather.
posted by kaibutsu on Mar 7, 2004 - 4 comments

F-Worded on the Radio

Screw Howard Stern. But Save Sandra Tsing Loh!
The radio culture wars have claimed an unlikely victim, and an unlikely victimizer (America's favorite NPR station, KCRW).
posted by wendell on Mar 5, 2004 - 33 comments

Sowing One's Wild Oats

Sowing One's Wild Oats And Postponing Last Straws: Some things never change the world over and the gist of this amusing language lesson (be sure to listen to the sountrack too) seems familiar and even easy to guess. However, different cultures allow for different rates of growing up - and out of things. Regarding the sowing of wild oats, is the West really the most lenient and generous, in terms of age-limits? What part does religion play? In other words, what's the maximum you can get away with nowadays? At a pinch, I'd say Southern European Catholic countries will extend a woman's visa till she's 35 and a man's till he's 40 but certain *cough* other cultures seem to be even more favourable towards eternal adolescence.
posted by MiguelCardoso on Jan 31, 2004 - 18 comments

Rongorongo!

Rongorongo! Say it twice -- don't it feel nice? Most people think of the enigmatic maoi when they think of Easter Island but an equally vexing mystery is found in twenty-six wooden objects which contain pictographic symbols comprising...what? A language? A mnemomic system for recording stories now long forgotten? A resource for modern primitives' tribal tatoos? We could ask, but the authors are long-gone -- the victims of hard times -- leaving only a few tablets and a bunch of carved stone to puzzle over.
posted by Ogre Lawless on Jan 19, 2004 - 5 comments

American Dialect Society's 2003 Words of the Year

ass-hat: noun, a thoughtless or stupid person.
cliterati: collective noun, feminist or woman-oriented writers or opinion-leaders.
flexitarian: noun, a vegetarian who occasionally eats meat.
freegan: noun, person who eats only what they can get for free.

Some winners from the American Dialect Society's 2003 Words of the Year.
posted by y2karl on Jan 16, 2004 - 30 comments

Here's one for Languagehat!

Ask A Linguist is designed to be a place where anyone interested in language or linguistics can ask a question and get the response of a panel of professional linguists. Be sure to browse their archived questions (with answers, of course).
posted by anastasiav on Jan 12, 2004 - 10 comments

the language boom

Language tree rooted in Turkey.
posted by the fire you left me on Dec 7, 2003 - 28 comments

Ever wonder who still speaks latin?

Ever wonder who still speaks latin? So it seems like the vanishingly small number of native latin speakers seem to work all for one outfit. They all also seem to be British.
posted by MrLint on Dec 1, 2003 - 22 comments

The Continuing Adventures of Alex The African Grey Parrot

So we put a number of differently colored letters on the tray that we use, put the tray in front of Alex, and asked, ''Alex, what sound is blue?'' He answers, ''Ssss.'' It was an ''s'', so we say ''Good birdie'' and he replies, ''Want a nut.'' Well, I don't want him sitting there using our limited amount of time to eat a nut, so I tell him to wait, and I ask, ''What sound is green?'' Alex answers, ''Ssshh.'' He's right, it's ''sh,'' and we go through the routine again: ''Good parrot.'' ''Want a nut.'' ''Alex, wait. What sound is orange?'' ''ch.'' ''Good bird!'' ''Want a nut.'' We're going on and on and Alex is clearly getting more and more frustrated. He finally gets very slitty-eyed and he looks at me and states, ''Want a nut. Nnn, uh, tuh.'' - That Damn Bird - A Talk with Irene Pepperberg. Referential Communication with an African Gray Parrot. Irene Pepperberg says that Arthur, an African Gray parrot, is so smart that she and a group of students at the Media Lab are teaching him to go online. A more subjective take on some more African Grey parrots here. The Alex Homepage. Alex interviewed. languagehat on talking parrots.
posted by y2karl on Nov 29, 2003 - 34 comments

No Food Says Fun Like 'Happy Crak' Popcorn!

Rude Food - from that old English classic spotted dick to more unusual offerings like bum bum bananas, Erektus energy drink, and Prick potato crisps, here's a wonderful collection of worldwide food items that bring out the giggling 12-year-old boy in all of us.
posted by anastasiav on Nov 26, 2003 - 9 comments

... Shenanigans ... Antidisestablishmentarianism ... Medulla Oblongata ... Zog ...

Dave's List of Words That Are Fun To Say
posted by anastasiav on Nov 25, 2003 - 141 comments

Politically correct hardware terminology:

LA County, leading the charge: Equipment vendors who do business with Los Angeles County received a message in November 2003 from the county's Internal Services Department (ISD) informing them that "based on the cultural diversity and sensitivity of Los Angeles County," labeling or describing equipment with the term 'master/slave' is no longer acceptable. (via snopes.com)
the slashdot comments on this...
posted by sixtwenty3dc on Nov 25, 2003 - 145 comments

How To Attract The 18-34 Crowd: Say

Oh fuck! Are you interested? Let me guess: you're 18 to 34 years old, right? Oh it's a dandy little word, for sure. But is it enough? Here's yet another brilliant marketing idea dreamt up by the 35-50 thoroughly fucked-up Texan reader-research crowd! [Via Arts and Letters Daily.]
posted by MiguelCardoso on Nov 22, 2003 - 23 comments

Santorum

Santorum. Dan Savage is a man on a mission: he wants his coinage of "santorum" to go all the way to the top of a Google search for "santorum", and he's calling on bloggers to help him do it. The comments of Senator Santorum (R-Homophobia) on the Supreme Court's anti-sodomy case were previously discussed here.
posted by UKnowForKids on Nov 20, 2003 - 25 comments

Bowlingal - Dog bark analyser

Bowlingal is a dog bark translator. Discuss. (Flash link)
posted by omidius on Nov 17, 2003 - 33 comments

Who deserves a break today?

McDonalds CEO Puts McJob in Mainstream. By taking Merriam-Webster to task for including McJob ("low paying and dead-end work") in its latest Collegiate Dictionary, McDonald's CEO Jim Cantalupo has ensured that yet another disparaging fast-food web-fed meme joins the venerable "You want fries with that?" If this had been Fox, I would have said it was intentional.
posted by mischief on Nov 8, 2003 - 39 comments

Semantic web : Lost in Translation

Clay Shirky smacks syllogism around. Nice criticism of the semantic web and the present (and increasing) hype of the "semantic web revolution". The most damning part of the essay is the part about languages and categories being deeply intertwined with worldview and with culture—if there's no good definition for the word "bachelor" (see), how can there be an encoding of "friend", "lover" (see article for the classic AI example of "John loves Mary") or anything else that isn't zipcode?
posted by zpousman on Nov 8, 2003 - 62 comments

the demise of the fuck

Further verification that fuck is fucked. The gradual emasculation of a word once obscene.
posted by the fire you left me on Oct 22, 2003 - 54 comments

old NYer goodness

I was plussed. It was concerting to see that she was communicado... An 1994 New Yorker story chock full of presumably sensical words that look wacky without their negating prefixes. A Smackeral from the great beebo.org
posted by stupidsexyFlanders on Oct 22, 2003 - 24 comments

Speak Proper!

mumbo jumbo... BBC journalist John Humphrys bemoans the abuses suffered by the English language. At the risk of becoming a Grumpy Old Man before my time I can't help but agree with him, in particular about the Management Speak. I recently came across the verb "to hero" which set my teeth on edge. And just what the hell does "to leverage" mean?
posted by jontyjago on Oct 20, 2003 - 73 comments

I just can't think of a witty title, sorry!

Need an Idiom? Check out The Idiom Connection. Think certain phrases are such cliches that they should be banned? Before you condemn or mock them, take a moment to learn more about the origin of some of these phrases.
::via The Tower of English::
posted by anastasiav on Oct 7, 2003 - 8 comments

Alphabet Evolution

Alphabet Evolution
See the evolutionary progression of alphabets through time and cultures. Examples include Cuneiform, Phoenician, Greek, Arabic, Hebrew, modern Cyrillic and the Latin character sets. The Latin is the best documented character set and requires a wide screen to see all the evolutionary events (especially Y and Z)
posted by Irontom on Oct 7, 2003 - 9 comments

Anguish Languish

It’s not what you say, it's the way you say it--Part 2. This observation was cleverly illustrated by Prof. Howard L. Chace in Anguish Languish, an exercise to demonstrate to his French Language students that intonation is key to understanding spoken language. Here is the complete text. You can read his best known Furry Tell about a Wicket Woof and a Ladle Gull or hear it read.(Warning-has sound.) I first found out about Howard Chace from an article in The Whole Earth Catalog and certain phrases have rattled around my head ever since. Here is a discussion of Anguish Languish if you want to write your own. Like this version of Gender Cyst from the Homely Babble.
posted by lobakgo on Sep 22, 2003 - 5 comments

Accents In English

It's Not What You Say, It's The Way That You Say It: George Bernard Shaw famously remarked that every time an Englishman opens his mouth it's guaranteed that another Englishman will despise him. This website offers a motley and unintentionally hilarious collection of the many, ever-growing pronunciations of the English language. The variety is so wide you could almost be listening to different languages. But is a particular accent still an anti-democratic barrier, strictly revealing your position on the socio-geographic ladder, as it was in the days Nancy Mitford discussed U and non-U vocabulary? Or have upper-class accents in the U.K. and U.S. (note the Boston Brahmin samples), once coveted and preferred, now become the opposite: unforgivable impediments? Does posh speech exist in Canada, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand as it does in the U.K. and U.S.? In other words: Does it still matter? (Quicktime Audio for main and fourth link; Real Audio for third.)
posted by MiguelCardoso on Sep 20, 2003 - 50 comments

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