Tag Archives: language

On Listening

I got a speeding ticket once, and took the option of sitting through a driver’s training refresher class in lieu of paying a fine. The instructor led off with a question: “How do you know when you’re completely stopped at … Continue reading

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Non Sequitur Clickbait

“This 26-year-old became a small-town California mayor. Then a jet dumped fuel on her snakebit city.”  (Headline from the Los Angeles Times, latimes.com, 2-11-20) In other news: “A cook in Lafayette Parish, Louisiana over-salted his boudin. Then it rained in … Continue reading

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Firehose of Rage

I hope that none are offended when I say that I am nonplussed at Ross Douthat’s use of “conterminous” in his column. Here are two scenes from the same drama. The first scene takes place in California, where the state’s … Continue reading

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What Stuff Is About

http://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/05/science/quadratic-equations-algebra.html “Math is not about memorizing formulas without meaning, but rather about learning how to reason logically through precise statements,” Dr. Loh said. (Kenneth Chang and Jonathan Corum, “This Professor’s ‘Amazing’ Trick Makes Quadratic Equations Easier,” NYTimes, 2-5-20) Dr. Loh’s … Continue reading

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George Steiner, 1929 – 2020

http://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/03/books/george-steiner-dead.html My experience with George Steiner’s work is bitter-sweet. His book “After Babel: Aspects of Language and Translation” had great significance for me at a time when I struggled to establish my bona fides as an academic linguist while casting … Continue reading

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Advancing Retrogression

http://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/31/opinion/brexit-uk.html “Put your flags away, you’re leaving, and take them with you.” [Mairead McGuinness, vice-president of the Parliament, to Nigel Farage, who waved a miniature Union Jack in the European Parliament as he bade farewell (2020).] “We must build a … Continue reading

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What’s “Up”?

Jack ran up the hill. Jack ran up the bill. Why can we also say “Jack ran the bill up” but not “Jack ran the hill up”? What does “up” add in the following: She’ll try to climb up your … Continue reading

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