Math or Maths?
A few minutes with Dr Lynne Murphy (an American linguist in England) should clear this right up. Via Numberphile
We may not speak with the butter-toned exchanges of the characters on “Downton Abbey,” but in substance our speech is in many ways more civilized....
We are taught to celebrate the idea that Inuit languages reveal a unique relationship to snow, or that the Russian language’s separate words for dark and light blue mean that a Russian sees blueberries and robin’s eggs as more vibrantly different in color than the rest of us do. Isn’t it welcome, then, that good old-fashioned American is saying something cool about us for once?
- John McWhorter on colloquial American English
(SLNYTIMES) [more inside]
This book deals with the Dialect of the English Language that is spoken in Ireland. As the Life of a people—according to our motto—is pictured in their speech, our picture ought to be a good one, for two languages were concerned in it—Irish and English. ... Here for the first time—in this little volume of mine—our Anglo-Irish Dialect is subjected to detailed analysis and systematic classification.
P.W. Joyce's 1910 work, "English as We Speak it in Ireland,"
is a fascinating chronicle of a language's life, and no mistake. [more inside]
English Has a New Preposition, Because Internet. The word "because," in standard English usage, is a subordinating conjunction, which means that it connects two parts of a sentence in which one (the subordinate) explains the other. In that capacity, "because" has two distinct forms. It can be followed either by a finite clause (I'm reading this because [I saw it on the web]) or by a prepositional phrase (I'm reading this because [of the web]). These two forms are, traditionally, the only ones to which "because" lends itself. I mention all that ... because language. Because evolution. Because there is another way to use "because." Linguists are calling it the "prepositional-because." Or the "because-noun."
"The internationalized art world relies on a unique language. Its purest articulation is found in the digital press release. This language has everything to do with English, but it is emphatically not English. It is largely an export of the Anglophone world and can thank the global dominance of English for its current reach. But what really matters for this language—what ultimately makes it a language—is the pointed distance from English that it has always cultivated. " - Triple Canopy magazine on why do artists' statments and press releases sound so utterly odd and confusing.
The Corpus of American Historical English
is a searchable index of word usage in American printed material from 1810 to 2009. Powerful complex searches allow you to trace the appearance and evolution of words and phrases and even specific grammatical constructions, see trends in frequency, and plenty more. Start with the 5-Minute Tour
Vocal fried. On the partial glottalization of speech in young English speaking American women.
Gullah—the African-influenced dialect of Georgia’s Sea Islands—has undergone few changes since the first slave ships landed 300 years ago, and provides a clear window into the shaping of African-American English. This classic PBS program
traces that story from the west coast of Africa through the American South, then to large northern cities in the 1920s. Studying the origins of West African pidgin English and creole speech—along with the tendency of 19th-century white Southerners to pick up speech habits from their black nursemaids—the program highlights the impact of WWI-era industrialization and the migration of jazz musicians to New York and Chicago.
Linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts, check out free Q&A site English Language and Usage
. [more inside]
. In linguistics, a corpus is a collection of 'real world' writing and speech designed to facilitate research into language. These 6 searchable corpora together contain more than a billion words. The Corpus of Historical American English
allows you to track changes in word use from 1810 to present; the Corpus del Español
goes back to the 1200s.
Unlike many cinematic exports, the Disney canon of films
distinguishes itself with an impressive dedication to dubbing
Through an in-house service called Disney Character Voices International
, not just dialogue but songs, too, are skillfully
re-recorded, echoing the voice acting, rhythm, and rhyme scheme of the original work to an uncanny degree
(while still leaving plenty of room for lyrical reinvention
The breadth of the effort is surprising, as well -- everything from Arabic
gets its own dub, and their latest project, The Princess and the Frog
, debuted in more than forty tongues
Luckily for polyglots everywhere, the exhaustiveness of Disney's translations is thoroughly documented online in multilanguage mixes
and one-line comparisons
, linguistic kaleidoscopes that cast new light on old standards. Highlights:
"One Jump Ahead," "Prince Ali,"
and "A Whole New World"
) - "Circle of Life," "Hakuna Matata,"
(The Lion King
) - "Under the Sea"
and "Poor Unfortunate Souls"
(The Little Mermaid
) - "Belle"
and "Be Our Guest"
(Beauty and the Beast
) - "Just Around the Riverbend"
) - "One Song"
) - "Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo"
) - Medley
) - "When She Loved Me"
(Toy Story 2
) - Intro
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]
"Yes, we want" -- Who owns global English?
Post on The Web of Language
by Dennis Barron
, Professor of English and Linguistics at the University of Illinois. Barron writes about the linguistic control of English playing out on the global stage. Included among the topics is the perception of "error" and Engrish.
The Michigan Corpus of Academic Spoken English
is a searchable collection of almost 2 million words of transcribed spoken English from the University of Michigan, including student study groups
, office hours
, dissertation defenses
, and campus tours
. Researchers use the Michigan corpus to investigate questions about usage, like "less or fewer?"
(cf. this contentious Ask Meta thread
) and more general topics, like "Vague Language in Academia." Browse or search MICASE
Since 1980, the Celtic Media Festival
has brought together people who broadcast, and now Webcast, in Celtic languages. Videoblog Gwagenn.TV provides a report (with autoplaying video)
from the 2009 festival whose clips and interviews are spoken and subtitled variously in Breton, French, English, Welsh, Scots Gaelic and Irish, Catalan, and Basque, not all of which are actually Celtic. [more inside]
The Gawain Project
is an ongoing translation of the late 14th century anonymous poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
(originally written in Middle English) into Modern English, for the amusement of Arthurians and anyone who likes a good story. [via mefi projects]
A Sub by any other name....
has put together a little survey
of American as she is spoke. The survey covers a myriad of areas
and the results wind up on some really interesting maps
It's on going, so feel free to take the challenge
Learn Brit-Speak British Airways
wants to help Americans understand "Brit-Speak". Of course you've always wanted to know what pants, snog, squiz and lurgy mean, but as a marketing strategy
? annoying flash interface, but all 72 items inside
The Internet's Most Accurate English-to-English Dictionary
This internet service will translate any English word, phrase or passage into English, or vice versa. Your original grammar, style, and spelling are left intact!
you our Fadda. You stay in da sky. We like all da peopo know fo shua how you stay, an dat you good an spesho inside, an we like dem give you plenny respeck. We like you come king ova hea now. We like everybody make jalike you like, ova hea inside da world, jalike da angel guys up inside da sky make jalike you like. Give us da food we need fo every day. Let us go, an throw out our shame fo all da kine bad stuff we do to you, jalike us guys let da odda guys go awready, an we no stay huhu wit dem fo all da kine bad stuff dey do to us. No let us get chance fo do bad kine stuff, But take us outa dea, so da Bad Guy no can hurt us. Cuz you our king, you get da real power, an you stay awesome fo eva. Dass it!
Hawaii Creole English, from the Language Museum
, which lists examples of 2000 languges.
It's, like, the Like Virus
An amusing and misanthropic inquiry into a mysterious linguistic phenomenon.It adds as much to our fair English language as barnacles do to a wharf or calculi to a healthy kidney.
So, like, what is it about the word that makes people like us it all the time? (Question mark used to indicate raising vocal pitch at end of sentence
Survey on Learning Standard American English in Black American Communities.
This academic survey is designed to gather attitudes among Black Americans regarding Ebonics, better known to linguists at African American Vernacular English.
Ooooh, those trendy young Brits and their funny new words.
What I can't help wondering is how many people have been sending in made up slang. (via clog