Entries tagged with 'language'

Routes into language

A recent post at Signal vs. Noise asking about the merits of Rosetta Stone brought a number of entrepreneurs out of the woodwork to promote their own language learning tools. Livemocha.com is a social network idea. The site provides free...

Being and Nothingness in Survey Questions

I was just called by a Gallup pollster with a survey about drinking and driving habits from the DOT. Overall it seemed like a pretty well-designed survey, but one formulation struck me as odd. I was asked about several measures...

Our Town

The Atlas of True Names is a nice project to reveal the origins of place names, even if Language Log has to rain on their parade for etymological gullibility. I got the impression at some point that a good portion...

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A nice analogy by Geoff Nunberg on Language Log: ...dirty words are magic spells that conjure up their references. We first learn about dirty words at an age when we still believe literally in magic, and I don't think anything...

Comments by the US Open announcer that seemed to betray a finance background

1. "That's his equity shot" (referring to a player's backhand) 2. "Which one would you buy futures stock in?" (referring to two up-and-coming players) 3. "That's a high beta shot" (a player's forehand, which had produced many winners and many...

Ammon Shea: Reading the OED

Ammon Shea gets my respect for reading the Oxford English Dictionary and then writing a book with that title. In my own project I read through only the words marked as obscure, archaic, or one of the other labels like...

Tools and Resources for Learning Catalan

When it comes to Catalan and books, Teach Yourself Catalan is pretty much it. You can choose between the new edition with 2 CDs and a used copy of the 1993 edition. The word on the review street seemed to...

Tools and Resources for Learning Spanish pt. 2: The Rosetta Stone

I'd been curious about the Rosetta Stone software for a while before I decided to try it with Spanish. Their ads make some bold claims about "dynamic immersion" but don't give much detail about how it works. It turns out...

Tools and Resources for Learning Spanish, pt. 1

Without further ado, the detritus of my two-year off and on effort to find good ways of learning Spanish. The Manhattan Times This is available to few, so I won't linger on it, but it is a newspaper that publishes...

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Several days ago Language Log picked up on talk of "Yo" as a gender-neutral third-person pronoun in Baltimore. This is interesting, because certain parties have been pushing for a long time for the creation of such a gender-neutral pronoun, to...

What is is it?

The spread and mutation of the double-is, as in the thing is is... or the point is, is..., continues apace. Language Log analyzed the phenomenon in 2004, and I wrote about it later that year. Yesterday I heard a strange...

Notes From Spain: Language

I like to use trips as a reason to learn a new language. I studied Japanese in preparation for my trip in 2004, and tried to study Spanish before going to Puerto Rico in 2006. The second effort didn't...

Ginormously belletristic

In last week's Talk of the Town, Lauren Collins used the word belletristic: ...the book ["Amo, Amas, Amat...and All That", a primer in Latin] turned out to be the Tickle Me Elmo of the belletristic-stocking-stuffer trade, selling more than ninety...

Two clich├ęs used to describe hair that are really getting to me

a shock of hair. close cropped or short cropped. Can I please read a few New Yorker or New York Times Magazine profiles that do not use either of these phrases?...

What an "interesting" idea

Speaking of Gruber, he also posted, via John August, a link to a very funny "blog" of "unnecessary" quotation marks. I've always found these funny--they used to be all over the place at the schlocky electronics stores in Midtown. A...

A new bridge in town

Visible from my window at work in the south bronx, the new 145th Street Bridge on the Harlem river was delivered at the beginning of the month (gothamist) and is awaiting installation at about 129th street. There are several...

Lynne Truss would not approve

An example of none-too-careful comma usage in the first paragraph of the Times Magazine's upcoming article on Guantanamo: "He figured it would mean spending at least a year away from his family, managing the petty insurgencies of hundreds of angry,...

Can 'very' mean 'not'?

Before all the recent airport troubles, I took a trip to Maine using JetBlue's new JFK -> Portland route. For the second time I accidentally brought a leatherman multitool with a knife in it in my carry-on bag and it...

New Yorker

I think it's safe to say that no one could have foreseen, when we got into this, that we'd still be there now, disgruntled and discouraged, with the costs soaring ever higher, and no end in sight. I'm speaking of...

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