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Saturday, September 23rd, 2017 04:07 pm
[personal profile] khiemtran
It's the weekend! Here, have a dolphin...

Dolphin and standup paddleboard at Cronulla
[syndicated profile] allthingslinguistic_feed


I started my first year of university at a school that offers general first years, wherein you can be admitted to a faculty instead of a specific program.  By the end of the year you choose your major.  I went in taking courses I was pretty sure I’d love.  I ended up dropping one, barely passing one, and failing another, but figuring out that most of what I was interested in had to do with Linguistics.  Obviously, I’m really really glad I had a general first year to figure out I loved Linguistics because I didn’t know anything about it before I started.  

By October I officially decided to major in it, and in early November of last year I started this blog.  I found that reading posts made and shared by other linguistics tumblrs actually helped me learn more of what I loved, mostly because I’d read something cool then look into it more myself.  SO THIS IS BASICALLY A GREAT PLACE TO START.  

The linguistics-related classes I took in first year were two introduction courses, the second of which I switched into because I realized that they were both required for a major.  The first intro course was actually under the anthropology program, and taught us about the basics of phonology, morphology, syntax, and semantics.  The professor was great and taught us about some other cool things too.  We learned a little about writing systems and endangered indigenous languages in Canada.  Part of her research work is actually done with indigenous people who live in the area so she told us about that too!!

The second intro course I took was under the linguistics program and focused a little more on sociolinguistics, first language acquisition, language contact, historical linguistics, and variation and classification.  These topics are usually their own upper year courses (and I can’t wait to take them).  

I’ve been typing for a while now and I now realize that I haven’t really answered your questions.  About classes:  Here are some courses I’m taking this year:  

  • Linguistics:  Phonology 
  • Linguistics:  Syntax 
  • Linguistics:  Second Language Acquisition 
  • Anthropology:  Anthropological Approaches to Language
  • Anthropology:  Language, Gender, and Sexuality
  • Arabic:  Beginners

The first two are required courses for a Linguistics major.  The next three are courses that count towards my major.  The Arabic course doesn’t count towards a major and is its own program, but taking a language course definitely has ties to studying the science of language!!  

At my university, a lot of Anthropology ties into Linguistics.  I *think* I’ll be minoring in Anthropology so that’s cool, but there are a bunch of other programs that have Linguistics or language-related courses.  Psychology is a common minor for Linguistics majors, and I kick myself for not taking the first year Psychology course when I see classes like “Psychology of Language”, Bilingualism”, “Language Development”, or “Mind Matters: Thought, Memory and Language” that have the intro course as a pre-requisite.  

I hope this gave you an idea about what linguistics courses are out there and how much fun you can have with it.  I love studying writing systems, the history of languages, how languages is used and perceived in terms of gender, power, race, class, and sexuality, how languages influence us and how we create language, and while sometimes you have to draw syntax trees, that stuff helps you get to the cool parts.  

Sincerely, An Over-Enthusiastic Linguistics Student Who Is Ironically Procrastinating Doing Her Readings 

[syndicated profile] allthingslinguistic_feed


Lingthusiasm Episode 12: Sounds you can’t hear - Babies, accents, and phonemes   

Why does it always sound slightly off when someone tries to imitate your accent? Why do tiny children learning your second language already sound better than you, even though you’ve been learning it longer than they’ve been alive? What does it mean for there to be sounds you can’t hear?

In Episode 12 of Lingthusiasm, your hosts Lauren Gawne and Gretchen McCulloch explore the fundamental linguistic insight at the heart of all these questions: the phoneme. We also talk about how to bore babies (for science!), how sounds appear and disappear in a language, and how to retain our sense of wonder when the /t/ you hear doesn’t match up with the /t/ I hear. 

LIVESHOW: Exciting news! We’re having a liveshow on Saturday, September 23rd in Montreal. It’s at 8pm (doors), 8:30 (start) at Argo Bookshop, 1915 Ste-Catherine W. The show is free, with snacks by donation, but please register via Eventbrite so we have enough chairs and snacks for all! 

This month’s Patreon bonus was about linguistic research, and how to do it when you don’t have a university or a research budget, as nominated and voted on by our patrons. You can get access to it and previous bonuses about language games, hypercorrection, swearing, teaching yourself linguistics, and explaining linguistics to employers by supporting Lingthusiasm on Patreon.  

Here are the links mentioned in this episode and more about phonemes:

You can listen to this episode via Lingthusiasm.com, Soundcloud, RSS, iTunes, YouTube, or wherever you get your podcasts. You can also download an mp3 via the Soundcloud page for offline listening, and stay tuned for a transcript of this episode on lingthusiasm.com.

You can help keep Lingthusiasm advertising-free by supporting our Patreon. Being a patron gives you access to bonus content and lets you help decide on Lingthusiasm topics.

Lingthusiasm is on Facebook, Tumblr, and Twitter.
Email us at lingthusiasm [at] gmail [dot] com

Gretchen is on Twitter as @GretchenAMcC and blogs at All Things Linguistic.
Lauren is on Twitter as @superlinguo and blogs at Superlinguo.

Lingthusiasm is created by Gretchen McCulloch and Lauren Gawne. Our producer is Claire Gawne and our music is ‘Ancient City’ by The Triangles. Recorded on September 4 2017.

Game Review: Overlord

Friday, September 22nd, 2017 12:07 am
green_knight: (Skyrim)
[personal profile] green_knight
[expanded from the review I posted on Steam]

Review and Discussion )

Bonus review-let: Forced.

Forced, Gamification of Games, Player vs. Designer )

So, yeah. I am learning something about gaming, game design, or myself from every game I play, and I am glad I seem to have broken through the mountain of shame (OMG, so much stuff I've never played, best never look at them) and guilt (OMG, so much wasted money). I no longer feel compelled to 'give every game a fair chance' just because I once spent money on it. (Frequently, in bundle deals, I did not even set out to buy all of the games.)

Overall, I spend less than £5/month on games and, overall, I enjoy gaming. I'm not going to get the same amount of fun out of every game, but if I can average a couple of hours of fun for every £5 I pay, that's actually not bad value for money.
[syndicated profile] allthingslinguistic_feed

An excellent example of the deletion of /t/ and /d/ in consonant clusters at the end of a word, a very common English phonological process (see also, mash potatoes, ice tea, tex message, dunno). 

Happy 35th Birthday, Emoticon!

Tuesday, September 19th, 2017 07:20 pm
[syndicated profile] allthingslinguistic_feed


19-Sep-82 11:44    Scott E  Fahlman             :-)
From: Scott E  Fahlman <Fahlman at Cmu-20c>

I propose that the following character sequence for joke markers:


Read it sideways.  Actually, it is probably more economical to mark
things that are NOT jokes, given current trends.  For this, use



Humblebundle: Shadows of Mordor

Tuesday, September 19th, 2017 08:56 pm
green_knight: (Skyrim)
[personal profile] green_knight
This remains one of my favourite games. I am nowhere near finishing it, and it's not an _easy_ game to play, but I love sneaking up on Uruk-hai and stabbing them in the back...

(The trick for this game is that you have to think in three dimensions: climbing up and jumping down are very much a part of it.)

It's the 'pay-what-you-want' bundle, so currently at $6.11 as I speak, and if you've been wanting to pick it up, now might be a good time.

Me? I'm bitter and twisted that the next offering will be Windows-only. (I seem to recall that Shadows of Mordor also took some time to be ported, so I still have hopes.)

And no, I would not pay $80 for a preorder - I have too many games to play - but still - I'd like to play Shadow of War eventually.
[syndicated profile] allthingslinguistic_feed


This is a transcript for Lingthusiasm Episode 10:  Learning languages linguistically. It’s been lightly edited for readability. Listen to the episode here or wherever you get your podcasts. Links to studies mentioned and further reading can be found on the Episode 10 shownotes page.

Gretchen: Welcome to Lingthusiasm, a podcast that’s enthusiastic about linguistics. I’m Gretchen McCulloch,

Lauren: and I’m Lauren Gawne, and today we’ll be talking about how learning a language is a way of giving yourself great linguistic skills. But first, Gretchen, you sound amazing!

Gretchen: Thank you! You’re hearing me on this new microphone, actually a recorder, which is thanks to our lovely patrons who have enabled us to buy this microphone. Lauren, how is it that you always sounded so good?

Lauren: It wasn’t just sheer, natural magic, it’s because I have been using, since the beginning of the podcast, an audio recorder called a Zoom H4N, which – the H4N Zoom have a slightly newer model as well, but these recorders are kind of linguist-famous for being reliable, solid recorders, especially for doing things like fieldwork, so I’ve had one for quite a few years to do my linguistic fieldwork with, so if you listen to any of my recordings from Yolmo or Syuba or any of those in the archives that I have, they’re made on this very same recorder and so that’s why I’ve always been able to sound good without us needing any budget for that. But now we’re twinsies, and you have a Zoom H4N as well.

Gretchen: So now I have a matching one. They’re friends.

Lauren: Yeah.

Gretchen: They haven’t met yet, but that’s okay, they’re going to meet in audio heaven, so that we will sound the same audiowise and so that I can learn how to use it from Lauren and we’re going to sound really good, so that’s exciting!

Lauren: Yeah, and a big thanks to our patrons for that.

Gretchen: Yeah! And it is thanks to people on Patreon that we were able to make this possible and keep doing that, so that is really exciting. Also, they get to listen to bonus episodes and this month’s bonus episode is about hypercorrection.

Lauren: Bonus episodes will also sound amazing because they’re all on the shiny new recorder as well.

Gretchen: Yes!

Lauren: As you said, our current one is hypercorrection, but we also have a whole bunch of other bonus content and you can get all of it if you become a monthly supporter of the show.

Gretchen: On patreon.com/lingthusiasm or follow the links from our website/social media. And by the time you’re listening to this, I will also be in Kentucky at the Linguistics Summer Institute, or Lingstitute as we like to call it, and we are recording this in advance because we’re organised like that, but that will be having lots of stuff going on.

Lauren: ‘Cause you’re going to be a bit busy.

Gretchen: Ha, I’m going to be really busy – that’ll have lots of stuff going on on the Lingstitute hashtag, which we can link to, and as well my class at the Institute – I’m going to be teaching a class on linguistics communication, linguistics outreach, how to be better at explaining linguistics and bringing linguistics to more people – and so we’re going to be using the hashtag LingComm, that’s LingComm with two Ms as in communication –

Lauren: Awesome.

Gretchen: – and so you can follow those as well if you want to follow along with the class and see what we’ve been up to.

Lauren: I will definitely be doing that.

Gretchen: Lauren is going to be, like, co-teaching the class from afar, she doesn’t know it yet, but she’s going to be like, “Hey, go support my students!” [Music]

Lauren: So, Gretchen, you’re a linguist. How many languages do you speak?

Gretchen: That’s a good question! That is a question that a lot of linguists get, a lot of the time.

Lauren: It’s a question that a lot of linguists get – it’s a little bit annoying because it misrepresents the idea that linguistics is just about learning lots of languages, but independent of being a linguist, you’ll find that people who study how language works are often interested in learning other languages as a way of kind of getting an understanding of how they work.

Gretchen: Yeah, and I think for me, because – at least personally, the way I got into linguistics was in high school, I came across pop linguistics books and stuff like this, and I was like, “Wow, this is so cool, I want to do this when I get to university.” But I knew that I couldn’t do it in high school, there’s no high school linguistics course that I could take then – they’re still very rare in high schools – and so I said to myself, “Well, I know it’s not quite the same as language learning, but I’m going to at least enrol in all of the language classes that I can because I’m sure it won’t do any harm. And, you know, I could be learning about cell biology or something, or I could learn more languages and I think the language would be more useful,” and I think they were for me. I mean, cell biology’s fine if you’re into it, but like…

Lauren: So what languages do you have experience of learning?

Keep reading


Monday, September 18th, 2017 10:38 pm
liv: ribbon diagram of a p53 monomer (p53)
[personal profile] liv
I've never left a job before. I spent my 20s as a contract researcher, and when my project came to an end, I just... didn't work in that lab any more. So I didn't know how to give notice, how to do the tax paperwork, it was all completely new to me. Also, the people I've been working closely with for the past eight years were all actually sad to see me go and wanted to mark the rite of passage. That was new to me too, in a mostly touching but slightly bittersweet way.

last days )

I started my new job the following Monday. I need to work out how much I should talk about that in detail here; for one thing it's looking to involve somewhat more blogging and social media presence as my professional persona than the old job did. Also I am still adjusting to living in Cambridge full time, which is probably another post, and I'm up to my eyes preparing for the High Holy Days beginning on Wednesday, so I am going to stick with posting about leaving rather than about arriving for now.

Us: what do we want?

Saturday, September 16th, 2017 06:30 pm
[syndicated profile] allthingslinguistic_feed
Us: what do we want?
Also us: mainstream IPA education
Us: when do we want it?
Also us: during high school so we can stop using those crappy pronunciation "guides" in dictionaries, textbooks, music and international studies
all together: and use a real scientific and specific way of recording pronunciation

Games I play (or don't), September Edition

Saturday, September 16th, 2017 09:56 pm
green_knight: (Default)
[personal profile] green_knight
This is part 'moar spoons' and part displacement, but I've started to work through some of the assorted games I have, with the goal of at least touching each game for a bit and either enjoying them or ditching them altogether.

7 Mages
7 impossible moves before dinner )

And that's just the tutorial. Nope, nope, nopety nope.

Casual Games x4 )

Don't know what I'll play next, I'll probably burn through a number of casual/freebie games next week before going back to Skyrim.
[syndicated profile] allthingslinguistic_feed


Lingthusiasm Liveshow - Montreal, September 23rd 

We’re excited to announce that we’re having a Lingthusiasm liveshow

We haven’t forgotten about the liveshow goal on Patreon, but since Lauren happened to have a conference bringing her to Montreal, where Gretchen lives, we decided we couldn’t miss out on the opportunity to put on a show. Think of it as a practice run for the big version! 

So, like, what’s up with, um, discourse particles, y'know? These seemingly meaningless words can tell us a lot about how language works.

Join Gretchen McCulloch and Lauren Gawne for a real-life version of the linguistics podcast listeners call “the right balance between rigour and accessibility… It feels like I’m listening in on a conversation between two of my most interesting friends.” Plus a Q&A for all your burning questions on internet linguistics, linguistics in the public sphere, Australian English, and more.

Free event in Argo Bookshop, Montreal’s oldest English-language bookstore, which happens to have an excellent linguistics section! Snacks by donation. Doors at 8pm, show starts at 8:30. 

Get your free tickets via Eventbrite

(If you like Facebook, you can also join/share the Facebook event here.)

We hope you can attend! But we also know that we have listeners from all over the world, so we’re taking questions for the Q&A portion from everyone who supports us on Patreon. If you’re a patron who can make it to the show, we’ll even save you a seat up front! 

We’ll also be recording the show with the help of our friends at The Ling Space so stay tuned wherever you are!  

Last time Lauren and I got to hang out in the same earthspace location, we hatched the idea for this podcast in the first place. This time, we’re putting on a show! We’re looking forward to meeting you!

Berber and not so Berber words in Tunisian Arabic

Friday, September 15th, 2017 06:33 pm
[syndicated profile] jabal_al_lughat_feed

Posted by Lameen Souag الأمين سواق

Not too long ago I finished reading Lotfi Sayahi's Diglossia and Language Contact: Language Variation and Change in North Africa. The book is a valuable contribution to the study of synchronic language contact between Tunisian Arabic, Standard Arabic, and French in Tunisia, with some coverage of the rest of the region as well. Unfortunately, when it briefly looks at Berber lexical influence on Arabic (pp. 135, 187), reflecting joint work with Zouhir Gabsi, its conclusions are rather over-hasty. Since this book is likely to become a standard point of departure for English speakers studying language contact in North Africa, I think it's worth correcting the record here even at the risk of being pedantic:
  • fakru:n "turtle" and ferzazzu "wasp" really are Berber, though the -u:n suffix in the former was first added in dialectal Arabic (almost all Berber varieties have forms similar to Kabyle ifker/ikfer).
  • garžu:ma "throat" is a very difficult word to etymologize, but may ultimately be Berber (compare Tuareg a-gurzăy), although it does bring to mind Romance forms such as French gorge.
  • karmu:s "fig" is clearly derived from karm-a "fig tree", which is definitely not Berber, and seems to come from a narrowing of the meaning of Classical Arabic كرم karm "orchard" (see the brief discussion in Behnstedt & Woidich 2011:491). The suffix -u:s might theoretically be Berber, I suppose, but probably not; it's not widely attested across Berber, and it fits well with the widespread dialectal Arabic pattern of augmentatives in -u:-.
  • sebsi: "pipe" is from Turkish sipsi.
  • bu-telli:s "monster/nightmare" ("sleep paralysis", to be precise) is a compound involving bu- "possessor of" (originally "father of") plus telli:s (a kind of rug). The latter is well-attested within Arabic in the Middle East as well as in North Africa; its etymology is controversial, but it may derive from Latin trilicium "triple-twilled fabric".
  • ḍabbu:ṭ "axilla" (ie "armpit") is evidently an expressive formation from Arabic إبط 'ibṭ. The widespread Berber word for this is rather taddeɣt (from which we get Maghrebi Arabic dəɣdəɣ "tickle").
  • dagdag "to shatter" is a reduplicated form from Arabic دقّ daqqa "pulverize".

I don't have the time to check the rest of the reduplicated verbs he cites (tartar "to mutter", dardar "to muddy", maxmax "to nibble", maṣmaṣ "to rinse", sɛksɛk "to flow", tɛftɛf "to graze", and wɛdwɛd "to talk nonsense"), but maxmax and maṣmaṣ include phonemes with no regular proto-Berber sources, and I doubt any of them is really Berber in origin.

I don't mean to pick on the authors; notwithstanding this brief lapse, it's a good book, and worth reading. But I do want to hammer home to every linguist the message that etymology needs to be done properly. If you want to do etymology in a North African dialect, don't just assume that any word you don't recognize from Modern Standard Arabic or French is a Berber loanword; check other regional languages (especially Turkish), check existing publications on the subject, check the distribution of the word across different Berber and Arabic varieties. Etymology may not be a very trendy subject, but that doesn't mean it's easy.


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Lethargic Man (anag.)

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