background preloader

Language

Facebook Twitter

Word Tree. A word tree is a visual search tool for unstructured text, such as a book, article, speech or poem. It lets you pick a word or phrase and shows you all the different contexts in which it appears. The contexts are arranged in a tree-like branching structure to reveal recurrent themes and phrases. The image above is a word tree made from Martin Luther King's famous "I have a dream" speech, using the search term "I. " On the antiquity of language: the reinterpretation of Neandertal linguistic capacities and its consequences. 1Language and Genetics Department, Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, Nijmegen, Netherlands2Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen, Netherlands3Language and Cognition Department, Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, Nijmegen, Netherlands It is usually assumed that modern language is a recent phenomenon, coinciding with the emergence of modern humans themselves.

On the antiquity of language: the reinterpretation of Neandertal linguistic capacities and its consequences

Many assume as well that this is the result of a single, sudden mutation giving rise to the full “modern package.” However, we argue here that recognizably modern language is likely an ancient feature of our genus pre-dating at least the common ancestor of modern humans and Neandertals about half a million years ago. To this end, we adduce a broad range of evidence from linguistics, genetics, paleontology, and archaeology clearly suggesting that Neandertals shared with us something like modern speech and language.

Don't be beguiled by Orwell: using plain and clear language is not always a moral virtue. Orwell season has led me back to his famous essay “Politics and the English Language”, first published in 1946.

Don't be beguiled by Orwell: using plain and clear language is not always a moral virtue

It is written with enviable clarity. But is it true? Orwell argues that “the great enemy of clear language is insincerity. When there is a gap between one’s real and one’s declared aims, one turns as it were instinctively to long words.” I suspect the opposite is now true. We live in a self-consciously plain-spoken political era. The shared language of sport and politics. 27 September 2012Last updated at 19:59 ET By Nick Bryant BBC News Sporting metaphors always overrun the language of politics in the English-speaking world at election time - and perhaps most of all in the US.

The shared language of sport and politics

We have now reached the point in the race for the White House when it helps to keep a glossary of American sporting terms ever close at hand. Where Memes Really Come From. Metaphors which you are used to seeing in print. « previous post | next post »

Metaphors which you are used to seeing in print

Steven Pinker : The Linguistics of Cursing and Swearing. The sinister threat to our language and brains. HOW DOES OUR LANGUAGE SHAPE THE WAY WE THINK? By Lera Boroditsky. Humans communicate with one another using a dazzling array of languages, each differing from the next in innumerable ways.

HOW DOES OUR LANGUAGE SHAPE THE WAY WE THINK? By Lera Boroditsky

Do the languages we speak shape the way we see the world, the way we think, and the way we live our lives? Do people who speak different languages think differently simply because they speak different languages? Birthplace of most European and West Asian languages traced to Turkey. English is one member of a large family, the Indo-European languages, that are now spoken by a huge swath of the world.

Birthplace of most European and West Asian languages traced to Turkey

But where they originated is the subject of controversy, with experts undecided between two areas of western Asia. Skip to next paragraph Subscribe Today to the Monitor Click Here for your FREE 30 DAYS ofThe Christian Science MonitorWeekly Digital Edition. Speech Accent Archive. Harper's Magazine: Tense Present.

A Dictionary of Modern American Usage, by Bryan A.

Harper's Magazine: Tense Present.

Garner. Oxford University Press, 1998. 723 pages. $35. A Dictionary of Modern English Usage, by H. W. Fowler. The Language Instinct: How the Mind Creates Language, by Steven Pinker. DAVID FOSTER WALLACE DEMOLISHED. Language Wars. From the first time we step into an English class, we’re told that the rules matter, that they must be followed, that we must know when it’s appropriate to use a comma and what it means to employ the subjunctive mood.

Language Wars

But do these things really matter? Outside of the classroom, what difference does it make if we write “who” instead of “whom” or say “good” instead of “well”? It does make a difference, at least sometimes. In order to determine when those times are, the question must be asked: For whom are you writing? Lies! Murder! Lexicography! Dictionary! Last week, the British newspaper The Guardian broke a story from the dictionary world that seemed, at first blush, to be quite scandalous indeed.

Lies! Murder! Lexicography! Dictionary!

“An eminent former editor of the Oxford English Dictionary covertly deleted thousands of words because of their foreign origins and bizarrely blamed previous editors,” it began. But the truth, it turns out, is more prosaic. The former editor, in compiling material for four supplements to the O.E.D., had not seen fit to include everything that was in a previous supplement to the dictionary’s first edition, published in 1933, including thousands of words borrowed from foreign languages. Arguing About Language. The Stone is a forum for contemporary philosophers and other thinkers on issues both timely and timeless.

Arguing About Language

Today I’m going to hopefully beg a question which will incentivize the reader to share their views. Yes, I’m writing about English grammar and usage. Debates about linguistic norms typically set traditionalists against revisionists. The two sides are particularly entrenched because each is rooted in a fundamental truth: the traditionalists are right that the rules are the rules (for instance, pronouns do need to agree in number with their referents), and the revisionists are right that language does change over time (nouns can come to be used as verbs). Steven Pinker on the false fronts in the language wars. Nature or nurture. Love it or leave it. If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit. The Persistence of English (Nunberg) 25 Handy Words That Simply Don’t Exist In English. Approximately 375 million people speak English as their first language, in fact it's the 3rd most commonly spoken language in the world (after Mandarin Chinese and Spanish).

Interestingly enough it's the number 1 second language used worldwide - which is why the total number of people who speak English, outnumber those of any other. But whilst it's the most widely spoken language, there's still a few areas it falls down on (strange and bizarre punctuation rules aside). We look at 25 words that simply don't exist in the English language (and yet after reading this list, you'll wish they did!)

1 Age-otori (Japanese): To look worse after a haircut 2 Arigata-meiwaku (Japanese): An act someone does for you that you didn’t want to have them do and tried to avoid having them do, but they went ahead anyway, determined to do you a favor, and then things went wrong and caused you a lot of trouble, yet in the end social conventions required you to express gratitude Source. Lexiphilia. Canadian Eh? True Story of an INterjection at Bill Casselman's Canadian Word of the Day. Imagine this statement by a gentleman of the Canadian persuasion fresh from a psychiatrist’s office: “So I go to this shrink, eh, and he goes like I don’t have no confidence, eh? I go, ‘No way, man.’ He goes I should take assertiveness training. Weird, eh? Accuracy versus consistency. "scientism": Steven Poole takes issue with linguist Steven Pinker's language.

Designjargonbullshit. Insider language: Do spooks call themselves spooks? JOHN BRENNAN has been nominated by Barack Obama to run the CIA. English and All That. Political language: "Gun safety" versus "gun control" Bollocks to it. 'Hobbitses' and Frankenstein: how pop culture's words become official. Lingua Franca from Chronicle of Higher Ed, Anne Curzan's posts. Sight for Sore Eyes - Lingua Franca. In Place of Thought: A New 'Dictionary of Received Ideas' Thank America for saving our language. Emoticons. Best Usage Question Ever?

Word for Word. Wittgenstein's Concept of a Language Game. HOW DOES OUR LANGUAGE SHAPE THE WAY WE THINK? The Surprising Psychology of How Names Shape Our Thoughts. The History of English Orthography. Ghoti. How Language Works (Edition 3.0): Table of Contents. Language and power. Why "bad" English isnt (Yale Alumni Mag) Do You Speak American . What Speech Do We Like Best? . Correct American . Decline.