Linguistic commentary from a guy who takes things too literally

August Links

Posted by Neal on August 27, 2012

It’s happened again. I’ve accumulated enough links that I want to share with a proper introduction (instead of just a tweet, for example) that it’s time for another links collection. Here we go!

  1. Geoff Pullum has written a Lingua Franca post on how psychologist/linguist Steven Pinker and novelist Rebecca Goldstein found love because of a mysterious past participle thought not to exist.
  2. The Linguistics Research Digest is a new linguistics blog whose entire focus is something that I’ve sporadically tried to do. From their About page:

    Welcome to the Linguistics Research Digest! The Digest has been set up by Sue Fox, Jenny Cheshire (both at Queen Mary, University of London) and Paul Kerswill (Lancaster University) and is part of a larger project funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) called From Sociolinguistic Research to English Language Teaching – you can find out more about the project here.

    The Digest aims to provide up-to-date reports on the latest research papers on language issues in an engaging, jargon-free way. We’ll be checking the many scientific journals for articles that are interesting, thought-provoking and/or use innovative methods. The Digest is of course for anyone with an interest in language but we are particularly aiming at helping teachers of English Language to keep abreast with cutting edge research. With this in mind, we’ll be flagging up articles that are specifically relevant to GCSE and A-Level English Language and from time to time we’ll also be providing links to classroom resources on our project website.

  3. On his blog, Zompist has summarized William Labov’s Principles of Linguistic Change: Social Factors, presenting in two neat bulleted lists exactly how pronunciation changes happen, and who does it. This is amazing. When I was reading about Grimm’s Law and Verner’s Law in books on Old English in high school, changes like these were (to me) mysterious, inscrutable things that just kind of happened. Labov (and others like him) don’t accept that for answer. (Hat tip to Language Hat.)
  4. Also on the subject of sound changes, here’s an article in Slate’s The Good Word blog on the Northern Cities (Vowel) Shift in English. If you’ve ever wondered how weird the Great Vowel Shift of Elizabethan times must have sounded while it was in progress, this is the article for you.
  5. A post on the blog Ganesha’s Scarf on a piece of Canadian and northern New England syntax that I’d never heard of until they started discussing it on the American Dialect Society’s email list a week ago, in this thread. Specifically, it’s the construction be done+NP, as in I’m done the dishes. If I were to hear this in the wild, I’d assume I’d misheard someone saying I’m done with the dishes or I’ve done the dishes, but I’m done the dishes is really what’s being said.
  6. In the numerous discussions of abortion following Todd Akin’s outrageously and dangerously ignorant remarks on “legitimate rape” and pregnancy, the phrase in case of rape, incest, or when the mother’s life is in danger (or variants) has come up again and again. Arnold Zwicky pegs it as a high-profile example of multiple-level coordination, and kindly links (again, for he’s done it before) to a couple of posts that I wrote on the topic. (You can find all of them here.)

3 Responses to “August Links”

  1. pros write said

    Thanks for sharing these — especially the Linguistics Research Digest!

  2. Will be waiting attentively for the Lingua Franca post to be turned into a movie.

    I may be down the chain of sources that brought you the Zompist sound change article. You credit Language Hat, Language Hat credits Stan Carey, and Stan may well have got it from me. I follow Mark Rosenfelder directly.

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