language links, linguistic anthropology

Language Links 12/21

Every Monday, I share some of what I’ve been reading in the past week.


Step 1: Brits use anti-terror hashtag #YouAintNoMuslimBruv.
Step 2: Grammarians wig out.

[Yes, I know it’s satire.]

What’s the difference between that and which? A clear explanation of the difference between restrictive and non-restrictive relative clauses. In brief: “I often use the bike which I keep in the garage.” suggests that I have access to another bike; “I often use the bike, which I keep in the garage.” suggests that I don’t.

English lets us use swearwords in a pretty nifty way: we can say things like “abso-blinking-lutely.” But do you know which swears can go in that spot and which can’t?

The shape of stories.

A detailed analysis of the words “woman” and “lady.”
In addition to the class distinction, “[t]he difference between ‘ladies’ and ‘women’ in these examples is the difference between femininity and embodied femaleness. That’s why virtually no one would choose ‘lady’ over ‘woman’ in the example sentences dealing with sex, childbirth and rape—things that happen to, or are done to, female bodies.”

Food words you haven’t heard of.

What do you call a Spanish-speaking hipster? Apparently it’s spelled hípster and pronounced [‘xip.steɾ]. [Note: the article is in Spanish.]

You might be surprised just how much gets written about punctuation. A sampler:

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