Figures of Speech Competition Winners

We are delighted to announce the winner of the Figures of Speech linguistics cartoon competition.

Congratulations to Jonas B. Wittke (a graduate student at Rice University, USA) and Jonathan Maki (an art teacher in Minneapolis) for winning the iPad Pro, Apple Pen and £100 of CUP vouchers with their cartoon series Minimal Peers.

The judges, including linguists, cartoonists and the CUP editorial team, thought the presentation of Minimal Peers was extremely professional and the cartoons funny with approachable and intelligent linguistic points.

We will be publishing the full cartoon series on our Twitter and Facebook pages over the next six weeks beginning on Friday 19 October.

Congratulations, too, to the three runners up who will each receive £100 of CUP books.

Selina Sutton, Northumbria University
Belinda Krottendorfer, . . . → Read More: Figures of Speech Competition Winners

The grammar of engagement

This blog post is written by Nicholas Evans, inspired by the Language and Cognition article “The grammar of engagement I: framework and initial exemplification” by Nicholas Evans, Henrik Bergqvist, and Lila San Roque. Read it online now.

‘Philosophy must plough over the whole of language’, as Wittgenstein famously stated. But which language? Singularising the noun allows a deceptive slippage between some language whose premises we take for granted (‘The limits of my language are the limits of my world’ was another great, and corrective, line of his) and ‘language’ in some dangerously, presumptively general sense. One of the great what-if questions for linguistics, philosophy and cognitive science is how different the last two millennia of western thought would be if we had built our . . . → Read More: The grammar of engagement

Q & A: Registered Reports from Journal of Child Language

Beginning in summer 2018, Journal of Child Language will publish a new article format: Registered Reports. We asked two of the journal’s associate editors, Melanie Soderstrom and Elizabeth Wonnacott, a few questions about the introduction of this format.

 

What inspired the introduction of the Registered Reports?

MELANIE: Registered reports are a relatively new phenomenon in our research community, although to my understanding they come from a similar approach in the medical research community that has been around for many years for clinical trials. They are one part of the research community’s broad-based response to the so-called “Replication Crisis”. In early 2016, we were approached by the Center for Open Science requesting that we consider bringing this format to Journal of Child Language, and the . . . → Read More: Q & A: Registered Reports from Journal of Child Language

What is offside in German or Icelandic? Football English in European languages

Football

Based on an article in Nordic Journal of Linguistics, written by Gunnar Bergh and Sölve Ohlander.

“Football and English are the only truly global languages.” This statement, attributed to the legendary English footballer Sir Bobby Charlton, of 1966 World Cup fame and still to be seen at Old Trafford during Manchester United’s home games, neatly hints at the dual point of departure for this article. The present status of English as the most global language of all is not in doubt, nor is that of football (soccer) as the most widespread sport – or, rather, pop cultural phenomenon – on the planet, with a media presence bordering on obsession. Consequently, football language, i.e. the language used in communication about the game (on and off the pitch, . . . → Read More: What is offside in German or Icelandic? Football English in European languages

Language, cats and extra-terrestrials

Monolith

Cambridge Professor Ian Roberts discusses Language, cats and extra-terrestrials…. . . . → Read More: Language, cats and extra-terrestrials

Checking in on grammar checking

‘Checking in on Grammar Checking’ by Robert Dale is the latest Industry Watch column to be published in the journal Natural Language Engineering.

Reflecting back to 2004, industry expert Robert Dale reminds us of a time when Microsoft Word was the dominant software used for grammar checking. Bringing us up-to-date in 2016, Dale discusses the evolution, capabilities and current marketplace for grammar checking and its diverse range of users: from academics, men on dating websites to the fifty top celebrities on Twitter.

Below is an extract from the article, which is available to read in full here.

An appropriate time to reflect
I am writing this piece on a very special day. It’s National Grammar Day, ‘observed’ (to . . . → Read More: Checking in on grammar checking

Text Messaging and the Downfall of Civilization

Mobile phones are a multifaceted scourge; they’ve been blamed for everything from poor social skills to short attention spans. As a linguist, I’m intrigued by one particular claim: that texting makes people illiterate. Not only are text messages short (and thus unsuited for complex ideas), they’re riddled with near-uninterpretable abbreviations: idk, pls, gr8. Young people are especially vulnerable to these altered forms; critics frequently raise the specter of future students studying a Hamlet who texts 2B or not 2B…… . . . → Read More: Text Messaging and the Downfall of Civilization

Using Figurative Language

Using Figurative Language Book Cover

Blog post written by Herb Colston, author of, Using Figurative Language.

Many people think figurative language is special or unusual somehow, used only or mostly in poetry, song lyrics or other creative outlets, or just when a speaker/writer is being flamboyant. Some people even think it’s a bad form of language, used to baffle or mislead people, or to be uncooperative in some way, or that it’s incomprehensible (or just hard to comprehend) and thus not how we ought to communicate. Even if people are more appreciative of figurative language they still often acknowledge its presumed higher potential for being misunderstood.

A common question thus posed about figurative language is why it even exists. Why do people speak (write) figuratively when more direct . . . → Read More: Using Figurative Language

Metaphor: What does figurative mean?

Figurative Language, written by Barbara Dancygier and Eve Sweetser, is a lively, comprehensive and practical book which offers a new, integrated and linguistically sound understanding of what figurative language is. The following extract is taken from the Introduction.

Thinking about figurative language requires first of all that we identify some such entity – that we distinguish figurative language from non-figurative or literal language. And this is a more complex task than one might think. To begin with, there appears to be a circular reasoning loop involved in many speakers’ assessments: on the one hand they feel that figurative language is special or artistic, and on the other hand they feel that the fact of something’s being an everyday usage is in itself evidence that . . . → Read More: Metaphor: What does figurative mean?

Some unsolved questions about the languages of the Jews

written by Professor Bernard Spolsky

It’s great to be relevant! A few weeks after my sociolinguistic history of the Jewish people was published, a Reuters story highlighted a dispute between the visiting Pope Francis and the Israeli Prime Minister over the language spoken by Jesus (Reuter, 28 May 2014). “Jesus spoke Hebrew”, Netanyahu stated.  “Aramaic”, responded the Pope. He almost certainly knew both Hebrew and Aramaic, and also Greek (and maybe a little Latin), I would have answered, as I did in one of the earliest studies that I published that marked my growing interest in the language of the Jews.

But this disagreement turns out to be only one the many examples of disputes that I found in my research.  There are, I learned, . . . → Read More: Some unsolved questions about the languages of the Jews