Archive for the ‘linguistics’ Category


Cool, and Cyrillic

March 2, 2008

This is very cool. It’s an explanation of how Russian written on Western keyboards leads to new words for things. From the ever-marvellous Language Log.

PeBloWriMo is over but I won’t stop blogging entirely; however, it felt like too many of my posts were lytdybrs (see link in previous paragraph) and I won’t write unless I have some germ of an inkling of what to say. Or fun links to post.


“No accent”

February 28, 2008

In the previous post I mentioned some inane commentary from one of the people who were part of the staff on Buffy. I won’t mention any names because this thing is Googlable, but it was one of the creators of the show, not one of the actors. And yes, she did say some really stupid things. Such as the line “James Marsters isn’t British… in fact he has no accent!” James Marsters, for those who don’t know Buffy at all, is an actor who plays a vampire with a “British” accent. (In fact, once you know he’s American, you can hear the non-Britishisms from time to time, although I do think he does a good British accent – but then, I’m foreign.) However, he as I just said he is American, you can hear him in this clip from an interview, and would you say he had no accent? He has a normal, not particularly broad American accent, that’s what. And claiming that somebody – anybody – has no accent is just an ignorant thing to say.

And that’s quite enough of that.

After, I watched another episode commented by Joss Whedon, and that was great fun. He says the oddest thing with a completely deadpan intonation, it’s excellent. Yay Joss.


Oh dear

February 22, 2008

A large Swedish daily newspaper has an article about netiquette and how to (not) write a successful business email. And some of what they say is correct. Only, some of it isn’t. And I know this, because it’s what I write about in That Thesis. So do I drop them an email and say “Um, no, actually it’s fine to begin a business email with ‘Hello [first name]’, especially to the US, or ‘Dear [first name]’, especially to Britain; and almost nobody opens an email with ‘Dear Sir’, and in fact most USAnians open business email to utter strangers with only the person’s first name – and ‘best regards’ is a perfectly fine ending in a business email to Britain as well as the US, ‘Yours faithfully’ is like ‘Dear Sir’, so formal it’s almost insulting.”?

But then, the result of such an email would either be that the journalist would ignore it, or else misinterpret and mis-quote me. And after all the thesis isn’t finished yet so I shouldn’t go pretending to actually know anything (although I do!) No, it would end in tears. I’ll be quiet and let any Swedish businessmen who take that advice make fools of themselves – which is probably all for the best.

[Edited later: Bother. Somehow – I have no idea how it happened – this post was linked from the article, in their list of blogs that link to them. That is not supposed to happen unless you ask for it to happen which I certainly didn’t, but in any case I removed the link to the article from the post and hopefully that will remove the link from the article to the post. If anybody wants to read the article you can go to and look up the article called “Bomma inte e-tiketten”.]


Face in the real world

February 11, 2008

Here and here is a little more about negative and positive face, in connection with politeness strategies – using positive and negative face applied to other people, to make them feel better – because if others feel good, we feel good, or so the theory goes. It’s pretty interesting, and it works subtly differently in diffferent cultures which makes it even more interesting.


January 17, 2007

It suddenly struck me that the other day was the 15th, which was the date when the IPrA were going to decide which submitted papers they would accept, for the 10th International Pragmatics Conference. So I logged in, and found that my Pending status was changed to Accepted. So there I’ll be, lecturing on the use of address phrases in email to the big-name pragmaticists of the world. Eek but also yay.


January 9, 2007

Here is a nice blog I found not very long ago: Sociolinguistics and CMC. (CMC in this context being computer mediated communication, which is what my PhD is all about). It’s written mostly by graduate students, and there are more posts that raise interesting questions than posts that answer them; but the field is too young to have a lot of decisive answers anyway. I think it’s quite interesting reading.


January 5, 2007

Language Log is one of the best linguistic weblogs around. Read this post by Geoffrey K Pullum, for instance. (It concerns less and fewer and why less than three is a perfectly grammatical construction). I could give you lots of other example posts to read as well, but on the whole, it is almost always worth reading. (No, not only if you are a linguist.) Relevant topics, often entertainingly discussed. A really good blog about language. How could it possibly be better?

Here it is: Language Log.