There is a Country Music formula…

•2015/01/13 • Leave a Comment

And Gregory Todd has found it:

h/t Language Log, among others

The invasion is beginning.

•2014/12/05 • Leave a Comment

Don’t mind me; I’m writing over on Raven Oak’s journal, guest-blogging as part of her Flashback Friday series. It’s amazing, the books we read decades ago and still remember.

“Huh?”, indeed.

•2014/11/18 • Leave a Comment

The Smithsonian posted a short piece by Akira Okrent back in March, entitled “Everybody in Almost Every Language Says “Huh”? HUH?!.” It’s a good article and doesn’t go too far into assumptions about the original survey. (The original is up at PLOS One, and is even less definitive, as it should be, given their data.)

All well and good.

Except that Cracked got ahold of this for one of their Five Things articles. Their interpretation notes:

A Netherlands-based team did a study about this, analyzing recordings of conversations in 10 unrelated languages like Spanish, Chinese, and Icelandic, and found that not only did all of them have a short word that begs clarification, they all sounded alike as well. Even the Russian language had a version that was close to it, despite the fact that their language doesn’t have an “h” sound (making their “huh?” sound closer to “ah?,” which is still pretty darn close).

Okay, not too far ou…wait. Again?

in 10 unrelated languages like Spanish, […] Icelandic, […] Russian

Um, yes. The Indo-European family called. They were a little confused. Yes, Spanish, Icelandic, and Russian are at best cousins, but still. “Unrelated”? Chalk another one up for Language Log’s “Language and the Media” tag.

English 3.0, a short film on the future of English

•2014/11/16 • Leave a Comment

For everyone decrying the fate of English in the digital age, I strongly recommend taking the twenty minutes to watch this video.

English 3.0 is a 20 minute documentary that explores how the internet has influenced the way we communicate in the digital age and whether the changes witnessed have had a positive effect on the language.

The film features interviews with renowned authors and linguistics: Tom Chatfield, David Crystal, Robert McCrum, Fiona McPherson and Simon Horobin.

h/t Sentence First

Two thoughts:

•2013/01/10 • Leave a Comment

1) As the semester gets going, I will be supplementing class materials on Moodle with posts here.

2) What is the fascination in UIUX with glaring white and no installed default black backgrounds – some of us really don’t like headaches. Really. (I’m looking at Chrome 24’s default theme at the moment, and wondering where my shades are.)

Well, that’s better than it was…

•2012/11/23 • Leave a Comment

I have back entries!

Now I have to clean off all the uuuugly SQL-XML translation gobbledy-gook.

Without the Class Notes, I have a disturbing number of posts tagged “designed by ducks”.

Protip: bill signing photos should include the sponsors.

•2010/05/24 • Leave a Comment

Morgantown newspaper removes three legislators from front-page photo

Short version? A newspaper removed politicians from a photo of the signing a bill they sponsored. Why they were removed? Because paper policy is to not publish pictures of candidates who are currently running.

There is not enough “bwuh!?” in my vocabulary to cover all of the logic!fail in this.

Presentation commandments

•2010/05/10 • Leave a Comment

If you’ve never killed an afternoon watching TED talks, go there and come back here tomorrow. Keyword search something and just clickdrift.

Okay, back? TED’s put up a list of 10 presentation commandments. I’ll include them, since it’s good advice for any sort of presentations. Continue reading ‘Presentation commandments’

Old Spice Commercials and suffix-fail

•2010/05/07 • Leave a Comment

So I finally figured out why the new Old Spice commercial “Freshershist” bothers me. To quote, it uses a comparative/superlative pattern that follows: “Fresh” -> “Fresher” -> “Freshest” ->”Freshershist”

It’s the last one that bothers me. There’s a random ʃ insert in between the comparative suffix and the superlative – /frɛʃ/ + /ər/ + /ɛst/, but [frɛʃ +ər +ʃɨst]. Where does the fricative come from? It’s a contrastive articulation from the rhotic, so it’s not laziness.

Never mind that conceptually, it makes more sense to me to hear /frɛʃ/ + /ɛst/ + /ər/ – “freshester” (more freshest), since we’re comparing the freshest options.

Apple’s newest salvo at Adobe.

•2010/04/29 • Leave a Comment

Steve Jobs: Thoughts on Flash