English language topics


Just in case – a listing of cases and examples
Modern English Grammars – 1 Student grammars and manuals of style
Modern English Grammars – 2 Reference grammars
Better than any dictionary – the Historical Thesaurus of the OED
Movies about language and linguistics

Book reviews

Lingo. A Language Spotter’s Guide to Europe, by Gaston Dorren
Accidence will Happen: The Non-Pedantic Guide to English Usage, by Oliver Kamm
Written in Stone, by Christopher Stevens
The Disappearing Dictionary. A Treasury of Lost English Dialect Words, David Crystal
Keeping an Eye Open, Julian Barnes
Speaking American, Richard W Bailey
Lost in Translation, Ella Frances Sanders
The Book of Legendary Lands, Umberto Eco
Making a Point: The Pernickety Story of English Punctuation, David Crystal

Specific topics

Birth of a new English phrase – or maybe not
Auntie’s diaper bomb – British English use of diaper
Failure in language evolution? – robustness in English
Something for the weekend, sir? Contraception before the ‘pill’ – the condom and its associated language
Languages for survival – the importance of language survival
Heretofore-unseen – the return of moribund legalese
Words can ever hurt me – learning English for the social media
Two centuries, two authors, two platforms – concordance tools for OS X
Hatred of Hippocrates? The rise of a broken meme
The Samuel Johnson Code – spelling and Wars of Independence
Amazon rewards pageturners in new royalties system – how to change literature
Zipf’s Law: deep and meaningful?
Translation aids for OS X
Support for Celtic and other languages in OS X
Sliver, slither, or have they converged? Is ‘slither of lemon’ right or wrong?
The poetry within the Internet: Bad Horse
Just Take This Down: Optical Character Recognition – including non-English languages
Telling the story: narrative across media, including spoken, written, movies, graphic novels, paintings, photos, and music
Google Translate you’re drunk, go home

Information and Communication Theory

Did you miss this toolset? Information and communication theory – introduction
The Code lives on: how Morse is still not dead
Reinventing Morse Code using modern theory

Words, meaning, and thought

1 – heresy and hokum? – do Goddard and Wierzbicka cast new light on words and meanings?
2 – a poverty of primes – are the proposed semantic primes sufficient to cover sensations and number?
3 – pain and primes – the need for a prime for pain; the problem of reductionism

Syntactic and other nuts

So how do we learn that? – complex intransitive verbs with resultative predicative complements
There’s no place like… – place name descriptors or geographicals
Enough enoughenough
What does they mean? – a semantic nut
Word by word: our love of noun-preposition-noun constructions
Ambiguous sentences – and tightly-specified ones
English verb constructions: accusative or more?
un-, in-, or non-? – the curious morphology of negation of English words
in-, en-, im-, em-, il-, and ir-: almost morphological nuts
In a word – notwithstanding with a digression on stranding and the Pied Piper of Hamelin
Weather it – as in ‘it is raining’; dummy or not?
How right or wrong can you be? A morphological nut – comparison of adjectives

In a word

Perk – three meanings in four letters, and children’s TV too
Notwithstanding – also a syntactic nut
Spring – a single origin, but many different meanings
Keen – another migrating meaning, but quite different at a funeral
Wake – continuing the funereal theme
Curb, kerb, or even courbe – how curves became mainly straight
Panorama, which has outlived its original invention
In a Word: Spoof, hoax, and April pranks


Rules for a prescriptive grammar – humour
A peevishness beyond
Book review: Accidence will Happen: The Non-Pedantic Guide to English Usage, by Oliver Kamm
Proper English – a Slashdot debate
Why people get peevish about English

Beyond words and pictures

1 – The quest for tropes
2 – Metaphor
3 – Metonymy and synecdoche
4 – Modern painting, and conclusions

External links

ScriptSource – writing systems and computers
Multilingual Mac – language support and issues
Text Encoding Initiative – preserving important documents
Language Log – an outstanding blog for anyone interested in language
Endangered Languages