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The enigmatic language of the new Windows 8 ads

"What was most perplexing of all to me was that, although I was certain that the ads contained Chinese phrases and sentences, every Chinese person to whom I showed them emphatically maintained that they could not understand a single word."
posted by roll truck roll on May 18, 2013 - 56 comments

"once aroused, it seeks out its object, as hatred does, in its entire"

The Delights Of Disgust
I confess I am disgusted by a great many things about people (and about myself, but let's put that aside). I do not believe it is particularly urgent for me to overcome my disgust, even if I recognize that this emotion must remain entirely separate from my thinking about which laws would be most just. I am disgusted by other people's dandruff, facial moles, food stuck in their beards, yet I do not accept that in feeling this way I am judging those people to be subhuman. I take it rather that humanity, while endearing, is also capable of appearing disgusting.
[more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Jan 16, 2013 - 23 comments

Zeugma, syllepsis, ellipsis

In Praise of the Rolling Stones and Their Zeugmoids [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Nov 11, 2012 - 13 comments

"With respect to an equivalence defined by (some feature)"

The Award For Nerdiest Preposition Goes To ... [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Sep 10, 2012 - 116 comments

mistakes were not made

Passive Voice Day 2012: "It has again been decided that April 27th will be passive voice day. Fun will be had by everybody as the passive voice is used for tweets, blogs, and casual conversation." (2011) Language Log offers kudos to a well-crafted passive announcement and provides further reading on confusion over avoiding the passive (includes a list of links to Language Log posts on the passive).
posted by flex on Apr 26, 2012 - 64 comments

Norms and Peeves

Language Log lists all their previous articles about prescriptivism vs. descriptivism (or at least a lot of them), plus a link to Geoffrey Pullum's Ideology, Power, and Linguistic Theory [pdf].
posted by nangar on May 16, 2011 - 29 comments

Don Ringe on Indo-European

The Linguistic Diversity of Aboriginal Europe (and what happened to it) [more inside]
posted by nangar on Aug 15, 2010 - 35 comments

The Social Psychology of Linguistic Naming and Shaming.

Although people have been worried about correct speech for thousands of years, it's apparently the status anxieties of modern societies that create the market for usage advice in which artificial "rules" can spring up and spread, independent of the genuine norms of speaking and writing. [via]
posted by rebent on Jun 18, 2010 - 78 comments

To say Twitter is colloquial is putting it lightly.

Lexicalist attempts to be 'a demographic dictionary of modern American English.' Here's how it works. Lexicalist's developer David Bamman goes into greater detail at Language Log. [more inside]
posted by shakespeherian on May 20, 2010 - 28 comments

Na'vi

Paul Frommer explains the Na'vi language he created for Avatar
posted by Dumsnill on Dec 19, 2009 - 51 comments

NSFW the NSFWing NSFW.

Van Morrison loses it on stage. An analysis by Geoffrey K. Pullum [more inside]
posted by Shepherd on Jul 29, 2009 - 146 comments

A blame game of language and depth-first search.

"It's all {Greek -> Chinese -> Heavenly Script} to me." Mark Liberman, on Language Log, recently did some quick research on how other languages would say "It's Greek to me." And created a directed graph of his findings, which were then supplemented with reader comments.
posted by shadytrees on Jan 15, 2009 - 49 comments

The shrimp and the cabbage are very intimate.

Language log has uncovered the reason for the inappropriately common appearance of the word fuck in English translations on Chinese signs. One more Chinglish phenomenon explained.
posted by hindmost on Dec 9, 2007 - 72 comments

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