Category Archives: Uncategorized

Language News: “Academic Ignorance and Black Intelligence” Labov’s 1972 Atlantic Article

At one point, grammar was the center of education (think of the term “grammar school”), but we seem to have fallen from grace.  Today, linguist are more than a little horrified by what passes for grammar education in this country: … Continue reading

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Language Fun: The Eggcorn Database

Eggcorn is a linguistic term coined by Dr. Geoffrey Pullum (a linguist who is often featured on the Language Log and the Chronicle of Higher Education).  It refers to an idiosyncratic, pun-like back-formation of a word, such as “eggcorn” for … Continue reading

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Resources: Reconstructing American Tongues

In 1988, the Center for New Media produced American Tongues.  Since then, this Peabody-Award-winning documentary, which highlights the range of language variation in the United States, has been a staple in American linguistic classes.  Even now, when the average 18 … Continue reading

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Resources: Ambiguous English Pronouns and Prescribed Reading

Many prescriptivists fear that the use of singular they  (as in, “A student should take their time when considering prescriptive rules.”) is incredibly problematic.  They are dissatisfied with the lack of plural agreement, though evidence suggests that the traditionally prescribed … Continue reading

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Resources: Origins of Nursery Rhymes

A culture’s stories can tell you a lot about their values.  Sometimes these are transparent, sometimes they require a deeper understanding of subversive story telling practices.  Many people don’t realize how many English nursery rhymes have (often disasterous) political origins. … Continue reading

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Language Fun: Dougtianary

Another one of the fine blogs nominated at the Grammar.net “Best Blogs 2011” contest:  Dougtinary.  Featuring such fine words as broctology, POMicide, and hexterior.  Words which might not have existed without Doug.  Morphological fun for everyone!

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Language Fun: Language Joke from The Diacritics

The Diacritics is another blog that has been nominated for the “Best Grammar Blog” award on Grammar.net. We particularly like their latest linguistic joke.

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Classroom Activities: Ambiguous Language

Language is full of ambiguity.  Not only do we have words with two different meanings, but we have sentences which–because of structural ambiguity–can have multiple meanings. One of the more famous examples that illustrates these issues is the following sentence: … Continue reading

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Language News: The Secret Language Code | Scientific American

Scientific American interviews social Psychologist James Pennabaker (University of Texas, Austin) about his research on pronouns and other function words.  The findings–there are gender differences, but they may not be what you think.  And, no surprise to anyone who has … Continue reading

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Resources: ASL Tales and Games for Kids | CD-3 Leash Lane CD-ROM Products for Deaf, Hard of Hearing and Sign Language

Most Deaf children aren’t born to Deaf parents, which complicates their language acquisition.  This product aims to help kids acquire ASL.  Nothing substitutes for human interaction, but products like these might help deaf children and their parents.   ASL Tales and … Continue reading

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