Posted by Neal on May 15, 2009
Years ago, my wife was doing some computer training in England. Every time she would say a path name, like “c colon slash project slash…”, people in her audience would snicker (wait, no, snigger). She finally stopped the presentation to find out what was so funny. David Vinson of Confederacy of a Dunce explains it to the rest of us.
Football and linguistics, an awesome April 1 post on Sport Is a TV Show. (Hat tip to Michael Covarrubias at Wishydig.)
Ed Yong summarizes a study by Agnes Melinda Kovacs and Jacques Mehler, who find that babies in bilingual households are better at some mental tasks than those in monolingual households. (Hat tip to Adrian Morgan at the Outer Hoard)
To finish, a few from Language Log. Mark Liberman expands on a brief post on Headsup, regarding sentences like, “A 30-year-old Pontiac man is in the Oakland County Jail and facing felony charges after authorities said he rammed a man’s car after finding his wife in the backseat with him.” Take it literally, and it means that the man was in jail only after the authorities made their statement about him ramming a car. Liberman takes the authorities said as parenthetical; the commenters have an interesting discussions about this kind of thing as the closest English has to evidentials in the grammar.
Next, if you liked this post from a few years ago about [Verb] one’s first [Noun], check out this one from David Beaver on Language Log. He’s found the same kind of ambiguity in first [Noun] [Verbs], specifically in “First American dies of swine flu”.
And finally, not one, but two Language Log posts from Ben Zimmer. I wondered a while back if anyone had written anything on quasi-acronymous cute names like HoJo and MoDo. In fact, Ben had, back in 2005, and I somehow missed it. I learned about it from this follow-up post on syllabic acronymy.