Posts tagged “linguistics”

  1. Gretchen: So as far as I can tell, the goal of this book is to be something more sophisticated and legit than Ye Olde Tea Shoppe, while still being more accessible than Actual Beowulf.

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  2. Our resident linguist's previous work for The Toast can be found here. Let's talk about shipping. No, not the transportation of goods over the water, but that feeling when you want a couple fictional characters to smush their faces against each other and never let go. The word ship itself has an interesting enough grammar, not to mention its variants…

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  3. Gretchen McCulloch's previous works of linguistic genius for The Toast can be found here. The Wired style guide changed my life. One particular sentence, in fact. We know from experience that new terms often start as two words, then become hyphenated, and eventually end up as one word. Go there now. Oh. I thought. Oh.

    *

    Wired Style

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  4. Okay, so I only occasionally and sporadically encounter the following variations on pronunciation in the wild, and thus far they seem to have no rhyme or reason. They don't always go together; they're never associated with the same regional accent, and I cannot understand where it is that anyone learns to talk like this. It astonishes me. Can any of you shed some light on this for me? Pronouncing the word "humor" like "yoo-mor" (because,…

    347 comments
  5. Gretchen McCulloch's previous linguistics columns for The Toast can be found here. They are all perfect. Sarcasm. It's an Essential Part of a Healthy Breakfast™, but it's also "dangerous", especially in writing. What if ~no one~ gets that u are being sarcastic. this is literally the most srs bsns question ever. Right, okay, that's probably enough of the sarcasm voice. The point is, we can speak sarcastically by rolling our eyes or using a…

    57 comments
  6. Cassandra Rasmussen's last Old English translation for The Toast ("The Cat in the Hwæt") can be found here.

    Goodnight, Rune. Goodnight, Stone. Goodnight to the sleeping king, laid alone. Goodnight goblets, and golden plates, Wondrous workmanship, wrecked by the Fates. Farewell to the Feasting Hall, felled by time, Goodnight to the ancient Gates, engraved with grime. Where has gone the great hall, where the golden seats? Goodnight to the grain bowl, the goodly meats.

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  7. Gretchen McCulloch's previous work for The Toast can be found here. Sometimes people tell me, as a linguist, that they're surprised I swear so much. They think linguists must have a mystic access to the higher realms of the language and that we oughtn't to sully ourselves with anything as profane as swearing. But what makes swearing so profane is social factors, not linguistic ones, because linguistically, swear words are fucking fascinating. In fact,…

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  8. Hark! We have heard tales sung of the great storm, And the raindrops that fell like cold, wet spears, how they smothered the unshining sun! There was Sally, sitter of stools, Batter of baseballs, brave in the outfield. The Warrior of Little League had fallen far! Slumped stool-sitter, and hater of sitting in stools, Wisher at the window, watching the whale-road deepen with water. A boy-child and her brother, I had before been bird-chaser, Bare-footed…

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  9. If you’ve ever seen people complain about singular “they” or so-called generic “he” (for the record, I am 100% for singular they and 100% against “he” as a default pronoun), or if you’re just really not so keen on gender binaries, you may have wondered what life and language would be like without gender pronouns. If you haven’t, well, you’re about to find out anyway. So put your linguist slippers on and

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  10. I'm not comfortable with the word 'transgendered'. That might potentially make you think I am a self-hating transgendered person, but that is not the case; I don't hate transgendered people at all, and I only hate myself some of the time for things completely unrelated to my condition. I just don't like using the word, because it's a word that comes with with a history and expectations and a sense of identity attached. When I…

    37 comments
  11. Gretchen McCulloch last explained exactly how the Benedict Cumberbatch name generator works and why dogespeak is so doge.

    You might think that Shakespeare spoke with a British accent. And technically, you wouldn’t be wrong, because since Shakespeare was a full-time Brit, he must, by definition, have had a British accent.

    But a lot of people, including many Shakespeare aficionados, take that to mean that a modern-day British accent (usually Received Pronunciation aka

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  12. From the woman who explained how the Benedict Cumberbatch name generator works, here is more than you ever dreamed of knowing about the grammatical mechanics of doge. You'll have to click to learn more, but it involves stuff like:

    "A minimal doge utterance contains at least two but often three 2-word doge phrases, followed by a single-word doge phrase (most commonly wow). Additional phrases and variants can be added, especially for the sake

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  13. The Toast's [Nicole's] ongoing Benedict Cumberbatch coverage can be found here.

    Bandicoot Cabbagepatch, Bandersnatch Cumberbund, and even Wimbledon Tennismatch: there seem to be endless variations on the name of Benedict Cumberbatch. In fact, even street signs have gotten into the action:

    (image via)

    But how is a normal internet citizen supposed to know, when they hear someone say “I just can’t stop looking at gifs of Bombadil Rivendell”

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  14. Until the late 1920s, air was not conditioned, though it was circulated through fan blades. Thereafter, scientists developed a means for creating a cooling effect through the evaporation of chemical substances. Conditioning, or taking action to put something in a better condition, comes from a rather simple Latin word, condicere, or "to speak with." That which was spoken between two parties became a “condition,” and came to refer to a more formal stipulation made to…

    18 comments
  15. It’s rhubarb season. I just had a fantastic margarita made with rhubarb tea, which is best consumed on a rooftop terrace, which is where I happened to be. You may be wondering about such an odd sounding name. If you thought that that initial RH marked a Greek origin, you would be right, but the etymology is more curious than you might expect. When Carl Linnaeus went about giving scientific names to plants, he…

    17 comments