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
Does a vehicle career or careen?

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
Porcelain may be even ruder than was thought


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