the ‘-’ in ‘uh-oh’

Doing that ling thing to get the ling bling.

Sep 2

If the G in gnat is silent, and the H in honest is silent, and the O in people is silent, and the T in castle is silent, and the I in juice is silent,

maybe you should be silent and stop spreading misconceptions about graphotactics.


"Learning a foreign language is cultural appropriation." says the English speakers for whom most of the world’s media content is available in their native language and have never been in a situation where their safety or ability to communicate has been compromised due to language barriers.

(via didyoudrinkmygingerale)

Sep 1


Q. What’s a Western language historian’s favourite food?

A. P.I.E.

but why do people hate the word ‘moist’ so much?



"Does every sentence contain a verb?"

"That very much depends on your definition of sentence, contain and verb."

this is why nobody likes a linguist

That very much depends on your definition of nobody, like and linguist.

(via kithandkin)



this next trick is a little something i like to call “bulking out my bibliography with articles I barely looked at”

“Works Sighted”

(via kitchy-con-stanti-nople)


Q. Where does a linguist keep his belongings?

A. In a genitive case.

Aug 31


dear facebook friends who teach college writing,

i understand that this is academia and that students have to write in a certain register. i also understand the benefits of learning standard grammar, because contrary to popular belief, descriptivism =/= do whatever the fuck you want and blame others for their confusion.  but correcting your students’ grammar mistakes while insisting that grammar is so important does exactly fuck all because it doesn’t give them any incentive to learn those conventions other than grades, and once they’re out of college they’re not getting graded anyway.

just pretend to be confused. seriously. i’ve done this and it works. don’t write “unclear pronoun reference”; circle the pronoun and write, “does this refer to [person] or [person]?” because by simply telling them how to fix the sentence you’re also admitting that you understand the sentence and know exactly what it’s trying to achieve, in which case many students won’t give a shit. but everyone wants to be understood, so if you simply pretend not to get it they will do whatever necessary to fix the writing. if they don’t know how, they’ll usually learn. plus then you’ll be focusing on clarity instead of nitpicking grammar, and clarity is what matters.

yes, you know how to do this, because you employ this same strategy when critiquing their arguments. you don’t say, “change your argument to this”; you identify the problems and write questions in the margins. this is the same strategy, and it works much better than sharing cutesy memes or dedicating entire class periods to sentence structure.

and while we’re on the subject of grammar instruction, did you know that it’s totally possible to teach academic conventions without bashing other usages? in fact, i had great success with an exercise where i made students write an argument for different contexts—an informal post on some form of social media, an email, a formal letter to a politician, and an academic essay—to help them understand the purposes of each writing style. shit, we even talked about non-standard dialects, and none of them stopped writing in an academic register. literally none of them.

far be it from me to criticize anyone for complaining via social media, especially since i have first-hand experience with your particular troubles, but seriously: just identify points of confusion, stop dissing other usages, and trust your students to fix their writing. if they don’t, they might need one-on-one help (or they might just not care, in which case fine, dock their grade). but soliciting cute grammar memes on facebook so you can start each class with a reminder that students check their commas isn’t going to interest anyone who wasn’t already obsessed with grammar anyway.

thanks and have a lovely semester,


“This guy who stands around talking about etymology at parties, that’s me.” Daniel Radcliffe (source)


To be fluent or proficient in a language, you must conquer the ego that tells you that you can or should know everything there is to know about any language in zero time with zero effort.

But the most freeing thing about learning a language is understanding that all your mistakes and things that you don’t know all at once are incredibly natural, expected, and in no way make you an idiot or a failure.

(via kithandkin)

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