Posted by Neal on September 5, 2008
Some links I’ve been accumulating and meaning to post:
- Bill Walsh on (what linguists know as) backformation. (Hat tip to ADS mailing list.)
- Randy Alexander, guest-blogging on Beijing Sounds on the sounds of Chinglish. This one was an eye opener. Be sure to follow his links, too.
- Two from Arnold Zwicky:
- One on the backformation gay marry from gay marriage;
- the other on The Big Penis Book. The intentional bracketing ambiguity is only his starting point for the more interesting stuff on what compound words are made of.
- Mark Liberman on language differences when it comes to singular or plural in troublesome phrases like the ostriches buried their head(s)
- Erin McKean, not on her Dictionary Evangelist blog but her other blog, on a funny development of the word empire. (Hat tip to Jan Freeman, from her blog.)
UPDATE, same day: Darn it! I left out these two from Q-Pheevr at A Roguish Chrestomathy. First, of course we’re all used to people saying literally when they mean “figuratively”. But what about when they say literally and figuratively? Then does literally truly have to mean “literally”? Q-Pheevr’s example (in the second post) indicates that the answer is no. Second, this is really clever.