Archive for the language Category

Accent Archive

Posted in language with tags , on July 10, 2010 by kevin

A friend of mine recently showed me this site. It is a whole lot of fun, especially if you have any sort of interest in linguistics. Just click around the globe and hear a fairly banal section of text read with an accent from just about any region of the globe. The phonetic alphabet will accompany every selection. It looks kind of bizarre, but I’m told it can be learned on your own with a small amount of dedication. Anyway, have fun.


Face of Shakespeare revealed?

Posted in 2009, art, books, classics, language with tags , on May 28, 2009 by kevin

There is debate about this, although it appears the most authentic portrait of Shakespeare has been found. Hansome fellow. And now the critics can rage some more about his sexuality!

Pencils did not always come with erasers.

Posted in 2009, language on March 30, 2009 by kevin

I would just like everyone to know that today is the 151st anniversary of pencils with erasers. That is all. Keep it in mind.


Flatulence, Faculty, and Foust

Posted in books, celebrities, jokes, language, poetry, poop, simpsons, videos with tags , , , , , , on March 12, 2009 by saramurray

I was scrolling through authors at the Pennsound site after my classes today and came across the name of Lara Odell–you know, Logan Esdale’s wife? It was wedged just between Alice Notley and Charles Olson.

The site has actually inducted two of her video projects into its galleries, with one featuring none other than our dear friend Logan. The ever-pensive pedagogue here joins poet-rock star Graham Foust to discuss their latest publication: A 360 page book examining the consequences of the whoopie cushion in a post-modern age. It is a profound examination of flatulence during a time when “so much that happens, doesn’t really happen.”

This stuff is like, real life hilarious (segments with Charles Bernstein never hurt). But also incredible.

“Unmaking Whoopee, or the Text is Thus a Gas” -2006

PS: I had no IDEA there was this much hubbub in the put it up! Clearly Greg’s photo wins though. Free iPod Touch for you.

Renowned Author Dan Brown writes prose like a monkey surfer eating a hamburger as wide as the ocean on which he surfs.

Posted in books, language on March 11, 2009 by Micah Gordon

Okay, so…I have never read Dan Brown (Da Vinci Code), nor do I ever intend to. But I DO read language log. Quite avidly. And I stumbled across an entire string of Brown-bashing posts by Geoffrey K. Pullum, one of the contributors to the log.

I found them to be hilarious and great. It doesn’t make me want to read Dan Brown, but it does make me want to read more and more articles bashing his prose style into “a heap on the floor.”

I strongly suggest you read all of the links I’m providing…even if you’re not a language nerd like me I think they’re insightful and funny and they say a lot about the general reading public.

Here’s a quick excerpt of Pullum’s opinion of Brown:

“I’m sorry, but this man is simply not competent to write prose for public consumption. He should be dictating his wild, action-filled plots to a literate ghostwriter who knows how to string description and dialog together.”

Ok here’s the links to Pullum’s many bashings. “again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again

I don’t understand you Stink Onions! (and other fun etymologies)

Posted in America, etymology, language, maps, mexico on November 22, 2008 by Micah Gordon

The following image is from the Atlas of True Names. It’s a pretty cool map that replaces the geographical names with their (occasionally false/presumed) etymologies. Here’s a snapshot of North America. “Stink Onion” is my home town (I actually already knew that one). My favorite, though, is “I Don’t Understand You!” which is the apparent etymology of the word “Yucatan.” Although language log contests the story, apparently Spanish explorers asked natives what the land was called, to which they replied “Yuk ak katan,” which in their language meant “I don’t understand you!” It’s a hilarious story and I hope it’s true, but LL chalks it up to a common etymological “folklore” that pops up all over the world. Nevertheless, it made it into this atlas, so that means it’s true, right?

Click on the link above for a bigger/more complete map.

(one more quick note: Trinidad & Tobago means exactly what you would think it means: Trinity & Tobacco. Fun name)

10 Most Annoying English Phrases (And Funny Things)

Posted in 2008, language on November 11, 2008 by Shiv

So Oxford Researchers say. Here’s the list. As it turns out, I’m 79% annoying.

1 – At the end of the day
2 – Fairly unique
3 – I personally
4 – At this moment in time
5 – With all due respect
6 – Absolutely
7 – It’s a nightmare
8 – Shouldn’t of
9 – 24/7
10 – It’s not rocket science