Category Archives: Language

Book Review — The Horse, the Wheel, and Language

Author: David W. Anthony Publisher: Princeton University Press My first love in linguistics is probably the historical variety.  But no one will pay me money to do that so I do all this computational stuff instead.  Still, historical linguistics and … Continue reading

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On Linguistics and Public Outreach

Earlier in the week A couple weeks ago, I posted three questions about science communication in the field of linguistics: Who is the Carl Sagan or Neil DeGrasse Tyson of linguistics? In other words, who do we have in linguistics … Continue reading

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Statistics Aren’t Enough

There’s a cute quip: statistics don’t lie. There’s an accurate quip: statistics don’t lie, given a well-trained model and a large enough sample. With statistics on your side, you can be 99% sure that you’re right. Unfortunately, people who are … Continue reading

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A Big-Ass Chart of Indo-European Languages

Other people make and eat massive amounts of food over the Thanksgiving weekend. I did that, too, but I also made a chart. A big-ass chart. There are many ways to chart a language family. You can do the traditional … Continue reading

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Book Review — Holy Sh*t!: A Brief History of Swearing

Author: Melissa Mohr Publisher: Oxford University Press Every once in a while you come across a book on a bookstore shelf that catches your eye simply because it’s got a dirty word right in the title. So it was with … Continue reading

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The Language of Science: it’s OK to be prescriptivist

I’ve been spending a lot of time on Tumblr lately (I also post a lot of these blog posts on Tumblr, so yay!—built-in audience). To my surprise, I’ve discovered a not insignificant number of linguistically-oriented people on there. We talk … Continue reading

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In Defense of Semantic Quibbling

This is in the Bad Linguistics category, but not an official entry in the series, as I’d prefer to reserve that for scientifically inept interpretations of linguistic evidence, and not just people misunderstanding why linguistics matters, because that would generate … Continue reading

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One nation, under God, in English only

You have got to be kidding me. Fury is brewing at Rocky Mountain High School, in Colorado, after a multicultural student group were encouraged to recite the Pledge of Allegiance over the loudspeaker in Arabic – replacing ‘one nation under … Continue reading

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Bad Linguistics: purist fallacies

Linguistics is often misunderstood. It’s not a subject that gets taught in eighth grade, so the only people with much experience in it are specialists who pursue it in post-secondary education. As such, a number of fallacies persist among the … Continue reading

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U guize u guize i found the gratest thing!!!11

To paraphrase the dad from My Big Fat Greek Wedding: give me a word, any word, and I show you how the root of that word is… Hebrew? Enter creationist linguistics. It hasn’t been a thing since Noah Webster in … Continue reading

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