1. IPA transcription practice

    Here are some words and sentences to practise transcribing in IPA, with relatively broad transcriptions and commentary below the cut. For more teaching-yourself-IPA resources, try here or here

    a. What do you want to do about it?

    b. inconceivable 

    c. The quick brown fox jumps over a lazy dog.

    d. Phonetics is a pleasure. 

    e. Every child should have a toy.

    Answers

    Read More

     
  2. Fandom affixes and crossover names

    destinationtoast:

    I’m looking through AO3’s AU tags, and reflecting on the fact that the Sherlock fandom uses -lock to denote a lot of AUs (e.g., merlock, teenlock, femlock).  It appears that the Homestuck fandom uses -stuck similarly (e.g., merstuck, highschoolstuck, or the amazing Marchingstuck & Promstuck).  Are there other fandoms that strongly identify with a given suffix?

    How about prefixes?  Based on Potterlock, maybe Potter- is a generative prefix… but if so, how does one signify a cat AU in the Potterverse? Pottercat seems off…

    And speaking of Potterlock, what about crossovers?  Does Potter-  generalize to other fandoms?  Is there Potterstuck?  (…yep.)  Are the Super- and Who- in Superwholock productive prefixes with other fandoms?  Is Whostuck a thing? (… yep.) Superwolf? (…yep.)  

    Maybe I should instead ask, are there fandoms without a strongly identified suffix or prefix?

    Examples of fandoms I don’t know how to combine:

    • Les Miserables + Supernatural (Supermiserables?)
    • Glee and Harry Potter
    • One Direction and anything

    Hey, allthingslinguistic — any idea if fandom crossover names work similarly to ship names, in terms of guidelines for what makes a good one?  Do you see any different patterns?

    This is definitely an interesting question, and I’d suspect that there would be some similarities (if anyone hasn’t read this article about ship names, you should really do so). 

    One thing to note is that Potter is often used in phrases rather than compounds, such as A Very Potter Musical or Potter Puppet Pals. Which means, to take your example, that if I were naming a world in which all the Harry Potter characters are cats, I might call it Kitty Potter (___y Potter seems like a good template here). Perhaps because the names of creative works are more likely to be phrases than character names are, it seems that when you’re combining them, you’re also more likely to end up with a phrase.

    The works that combine more like character names do (Sherlock, Homestuck, Supernatural) are also single-word names, but they also combine predictably in a way that character names don’t. To use examples from the ship names paper, Quinn Fabray/Rachel Berry is Faberry, using parts of their last names, but Finn Hudson/Rachel Berry is Finchel, which uses their first names instead. So there isn’t a consistent combining form that always indicates Rachel Berry in a pairing. This is quite different from the consistent combining forms -lock, -stuck and super- (I don’t think you get combinations with sher-, home- or -natural, although do let me know if anyone has any examples). So another analysis might be that these started out as blends like ship names but have now become more like libfixes (non-fannish examples of libfixes include -athon, -pocalypse, and -mageddon). 

    I could really use more data to think of further generalizations though. Anyone want to add some more examples of crossover or AU names to see if we can find anything? 

     
  3. A few more linguistics jobs

    Some useful links for the linguistics jobs series, from Career Linguist by Anna Marie Trester (who you may recall from her interview in the linguistics jobs series last fall). A few examples below (full list here, which I believe is still being updated regularly). 

    Charlotte Linde, a linguist who works for NASA (see also this post on her blog): 

    Charlotte’s specialization is in narrative and institutional memory, and at NASA, some of her recent work tackles how moon and Mars spaceship planning teams “preserve and use representations of the past to guide present and future actions.” So, for example, how does NASA as an organization learn from past successes and failures in advancing the next mission? 

    Nancy Frishburg, who works in user experience testing: 

    “Basically,” she told me “this work is ethnography – but you have to move from thinking about ethnography on the scale of years and think about how you can distill and compress that analytical complexity and richness into an hour or two (or maybe a day or two) of really meaningful interaction with people who are impacted by (or who impact) the use of your product or service.”

    Another profile is at 99 percent invisible, who spoke with Laurel Sutton, co-founder of Catchword Branding, and Eli Altman, creative director at A Hundred Monkeys and author of the naming book Don’t Call It That. Catchword namer Alex Kelley also makes an appearance. Here’s a summary chart of naming pros and cons from the episode

    Previous posts in the linguistics jobs series are here.

     
  4. image: Download

    An example from Zits of how conversational inferences depend a lot on context, via Kai von Fintel’s blog. Another example is from Sperber & Wilson: 

He: Will you have some coffee?She: Coffee would keep me awake.
Depending on whether one surmises that she would like to stay awake, one can infer either a positive or negative answer to whether she would like some coffee.

Depending on whether healthiness is considered a desired property of snacks, one can infer that someone would or would not want fruits and veggies. 

    An example from Zits of how conversational inferences depend a lot on context, via Kai von Fintel’s blog. Another example is from Sperber & Wilson: 

    He: Will you have some coffee?
    She: Coffee would keep me awake.

    Depending on whether one surmises that she would like to stay awake, one can infer either a positive or negative answer to whether she would like some coffee.

    Depending on whether healthiness is considered a desired property of snacks, one can infer that someone would or would not want fruits and veggies. 

     
  5. image: Download

    linguisten:

The invention of language series: conjunctions

The names of some actual early theories of language origin could probably fit into comic form fairly well: the bow-wow theory, the ding-dong theory, the yo-he-ho theory, and so on, although they’re a bit more reasonable than the names suggest. 

    linguisten:

    The invention of language series: conjunctions

    The names of some actual early theories of language origin could probably fit into comic form fairly well: the bow-wow theory, the ding-dong theory, the yo-he-ho theory, and so on, although they’re a bit more reasonable than the names suggest. 

     
  6. stancarey:

    allthingslinguistic:

    Stan Carey draws my attention to this imgur thread on entertaining failures in translation: the comments both on Stan’s post and the imgur thread are very much worth it. (I’ve heard the name of the site pronounced /ɪmgɚ/ though: please don’t tell me this is another gif/jif or doge thing.)

    I recall having a francophone geography teacher in high school who taught us about places like “Mexico Gulf” and “Fundy Bay” and important monuments such as “Liberty Statue”, much to the amusement of the class.

    But it makes an interesting point that while French consistently creates constructions of the form “X de Y”, English alternates inconsistently between “X of Y” and “Y X”, so knowing which one English has opted for in a particular construction isn’t trivial. 

    Another memorable translation error that I’ve seen is this restaurant menu, although in this case I can’t tell whether one language is a mistake or whether they’d genuinely rather only serve chicken to English-speakers and beef and shrimp to French-speakers.

    Any more examples? (Also, trepidatiously, how would you pronounce imgur?)

    I’ve a new post up the pronunciation of <i>imgur</i>. Even among Imgurians usage is very mixed, and a brief survey suggests the “official” pronunciation is dispreferred by, or unknown to, most people:

    http://stancarey.wordpress.com/2014/04/09/how-do-you-pronounce-imgur-take-the-poll/

    I’d definitely never heard this “official” pronunciation, so the people at imgur may be fighting a losing battle here. We’ll see what the survey ends up showing though! 

     
  7. allthingslinguistic:

What makes a selfie a selfie?
I wrote an article for Lexicon Valley about extended uses of the word selfie:

We typically think of a selfie as a photo taken by and of oneself, whether in a mirror or by holding a camera out at arm’s length, hence the name. But here’s a recent anecdote from Language Log suggesting that some people are extending it more figuratively:




In front of the window of a candy store in Peebles, a small town about an hour’s drive south of Edinburgh, an elderly American woman approached a gentleman she didn’t know and, holding out a cell phone, asked:




"Would you please take a selfie of my friend and I in front of this window?"




She was not aware that she had approached a linguist.



Are art museums full of Renaissance selfies for you, even if Henry VIII didn’t paint his own self-portrait? Or have you only encountered the more limited uses of selfie? 

Apparently, pictures taken in photobooths can also be referred to as selfies, at least according to this CBC article:
The portraits were all likely taken in a Photomatic Photobooth, a contraption invented in the 1920s that remained popular throughout the 1940s that allowed people to take some of the earliest selfies. 

    allthingslinguistic:

    What makes a selfie a selfie?

    I wrote an article for Lexicon Valley about extended uses of the word selfie:

    Are art museums full of Renaissance selfies for you, even if Henry VIII didn’t paint his own self-portrait? Or have you only encountered the more limited uses of selfie

    Apparently, pictures taken in photobooths can also be referred to as selfies, at least according to this CBC article:

    The portraits were all likely taken in a Photomatic Photobooth, a contraption invented in the 1920s that remained popular throughout the 1940s that allowed people to take some of the earliest selfies. 
     
  8. A paper by Kim Witten about the diverse pronunciations of MeFi (short for MetaFilter) by users of the site. Abstract:

    This study provides one of the first published accounts of sociophonetic variation in which the speech community under investigation exists online and text-based communication is the dominant mode of interaction.

    The abbreviated name of the Internet community weblog — MeFi, from MetaFilter.com — has at least eight recognized pronunciation variants. Quantitative analysis of surveys from over 2000 MetaFilter members reveals statistically significant variation in the distribution of members’ preferred pronunciations for MeFi across four English-speaking countries. These results reflect dialectal and socio-cultural differences in naming preferences in spite of the fact that the speech channel is limited or non-primary.

    It’s similar in concept to my previous survey (skip to results) about how people pronounce doge, although I expect the MeFi community is more densely networked than the collection of people who recognize the doge meme, since doge isn’t limited to a single website. 

     
  9. image: Download

    allthingslinguistic:

wuglife:

Heads up, tumblinguists who are also redditors! Famous sociolinguist Walt Wolfram will be giving an AMA (“ask me anything”) next Wednesday! Spread the word!

Here’s the link to the AMA, which should be starting in about half an hour (10am Eastern time). 

That was actually a link to advance questions for the AMA, so here&#8217;s the actual link to the AMA which is going on right now! I don&#8217;t reddit much, but I&#8217;ll be on there as allthingslinguistic.  

    allthingslinguistic:

    wuglife:

    Heads up, tumblinguists who are also redditors! Famous sociolinguist Walt Wolfram will be giving an AMA (“ask me anything”) next Wednesday! Spread the word!

    Here’s the link to the AMA, which should be starting in about half an hour (10am Eastern time). 

    That was actually a link to advance questions for the AMA, so here’s the actual link to the AMA which is going on right now! I don’t reddit much, but I’ll be on there as allthingslinguistic.  

     
  10. image: Download

    wuglife:

Heads up, tumblinguists who are also redditors! Famous sociolinguist Walt Wolfram will be giving an AMA (“ask me anything”) next Wednesday! Spread the word!

Here&#8217;s the link to the AMA, which should be starting in about half an hour (10am Eastern time). 

    wuglife:

    Heads up, tumblinguists who are also redditors! Famous sociolinguist Walt Wolfram will be giving an AMA (“ask me anything”) next Wednesday! Spread the word!

    Here’s the link to the AMA, which should be starting in about half an hour (10am Eastern time).