Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Word recognition and deep orthography in English
In shallow orthographies, the tasks of familiar word recognition and decoding are based on a common set of principles (a consistent set of simple grapheme–phoneme correspondences) and may, effectively, be handled by a single process. In deep orthographies, the principles underlying word recognition and decoding are distinct. Beginning readers of English encounter numerous common words (house, father, nice, was, etc.) which contain complex graphemes, contextual variations and irregularities which are not consistent with their concurrent learning of grapheme–phoneme correspondences. To accommodate this discrepancy, word recognition (the logographic process) follows a distinctive developmental pathway.
Saturday, December 30, 2006
Hit the Links
‘On Language’ 12/20: Best language books of 2006
5 “The Official Dictionary of Unofficial English: A Crunk Omnibus for Thrillionaires and Bampots for the Ecozoic Age” by Grant Barrett (McGraw-Hill, paperback, 288 pages, $14.95). Barrett is a dictionary editor who watches for new slang words that have staying power. This book catches words such as “bampot” (“fool”) and “sheisty” (“dishonest”) in between their birth and their possible entry into a major dictionary someday.
Friday, December 22, 2006
You say potato, I say ‘gheauphtheightough’
> I once saw a similar gag to “ghoti”, which I cannot recall except
> that it had three phonemes, one of which was /t/ spelled “phth” as in
> “phthisic”. Does anyone know it?
gheauphtheightough pronounced potato
gh as in hiccough
eau as in beau
phth as in phthisis
eight as in eight
ough as in though
(along with ghoti/fish and one other) in The English Journal Mar. 1945 p.152
Thursday, December 21, 2006
The ‘literal’ truth
Thursday, November 30, 2006
Imposing conformity onto do-it-yourself encylopedia democracy
Contradiction in terms? A Style Manual for Wikipedia
Thursday, October 26, 2006
An article that should be Pullum-ized into submission
To which I clear my throat and say, “people.ucsc.edu/~pullum/MLA2004.pdf”
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
‘On Language’ 10/18: If U chat, not everyone speaks your language
“These abhorrent abbreviations are nothing less than an insidious linguistic plague,” wrote student Patrick Hogan in the University of Chicago’s newspaper, Chicago Maroon. He was complaining about instant-messaging lingo such as “LOL” (“laughing out loud”) and “TTYL” (“talk to you later”).
But how widespread is chat slang among young people? The publishing and online worlds offer plenty of reference material to help you translate abbreviations and slang words used in Web chats and text messages.
I, however, went straight to the source. I took a list of chat slang and did an informal survey of almost 150 students, about half in high school and half in college. Everybody recognized a few of the abbreviations but many of the items stumped them. Are they behind the times, or so ahead of the times that this list is already out of date?
Or has chat slang yet to go mainstream even among young people? As one student wrote, “I hate IM abbreviations, but all my younger sibs use them.”
Here’s what I found:
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
Pretty Good Puns
Since puns are the highest form of human intelligence ... (from an e-mail fwd)
‘On Language’ 10/4: Woe is `me’: `Myself’ now the object of our affection
The pronouns “me,” “myself” and “I” look like a tidy trio. ...
But something seems to have given “myself” a push past the others.
Here’s an example:
“The decision to take action was an operational matter, but was taken with the full knowledge of the prime minister, the deputy prime minister and the secretary of state for transport, as well as myself,” Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff assured the public back in August.
Chertoff should have said “and me,” according to those who believe the use of “myself” is getting out of control.
In a survey of its Usage Panel, a handpicked group of authors, the American Heritage Dictionary found that 75 percent of the panel rejected replacing “me” with “myself” in the phrase “like me.”
A resounding 88 percent frowned on “myself” in a compound object—“he asked John and myself”—instead of “John and me.”
Yet the American Heritage Dictionary notes using “myself” in place of “I” or “me” is common in the history of English literature. ...
Wednesday, September 13, 2006
Ladefoged books on phonetics at Google Books
Peter Ladefoged wrote the book(s) on phonetics:
Ladefoged, Vowels and Consonants, (Blackwell, 2000). [G]
Ladefoged, The Sounds of the World’s Languages (Blackwell, 1996). [G]
Ladefoged, Elements of Acoustic Phonetics, (U of Chicago, 1995). [G]
Also: a snippet of L’s Course in Phonetics.
Saturday, September 09, 2006
‘On Language’ 9/6 - When is a ‘planet’ not a planet?
Astronomers tried to settle the debate over Pluto’s status by changing the definition of “planet” and renaming Pluto a “dwarf planet.”
But critics say that only led to linguistic confusion.
“We now have dwarf planets, which are in fact not planets. I consider this a linguistic catastrophe,” Owen Gingerich, chairman of the official planet definition committee of the International Astronomical Union, told the British press. “I think the union is going to get a lot of flak for this, in doing it in such a muddy way.”
The confusing terminology could even benefit Pluto fans, one astronomer told the IAU gathering. “It could be argued that we are creating an umbrella called ‘planet’ under which the dwarf planets exist,” said Jocelyn Bell Burnell, who oversaw the IAU proceedings. Accord ng to reports, she tried to lighten the mood by holding up a stuffed toy of the Disney character Pluto under an umbrella.
That argument is true linguistically, wrote Benjamin Zimmer at Language Log (http://www.languagelog.org). It’s hard to exclude Pluto as a planet by using a term with the word “planet” still in it.
“In a compound noun of the form A-B, we generally assume that the compound is composed as a hyponym, [with A as] a particular type of a more general category B,” wrote Zimmer, who is senior lexicographer for American Dictionaries at Oxford University Press. “So alley cats are types of cats, rocking chairs are types of chairs, bay windows are types of windows, and so forth.”
Zimmer concluded: “The fact that the IAU would like us to think of dwarf planets as distinct from ‘real’ planets lumps the lexical item ‘dwarf planet’ in with such oddities as ‘Welsh rabbit’ (not really a rabbit) and ‘Rocky Mountain oysters’ (not really oysters).”
Bookshelf: ‘Verbal Aspect in New Testament Greek’
Monday, August 28, 2006
Bookshelf: Learning Biblical Hebrew
Some resources for learning biblical Hebrew—which sounds like fun, doesn’t it?
Young, G. Douglas. Grammar of the Hebrew Language;: A New Approach to the Hebrew Language and to Advanced Exegesis Using Hebrew and Romanized Scripts (Zondervan, 1951). [A]
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
Geoff Nunberg on the Colbert Report
currently under Most Recent Videos at the Colbert Report page