language links

Language links 3/6

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


Words for Snow Revisited: a linguistic topic that never quite dies.

A piece on Donald Trump’s rhetoric of victimhood.

A beautiful essay on logic, language, and love: “Indeed, this is untidy, in the same way as it’s untidy that when my wife is at home I heat two servings of food and pour two glasses of wine, but when she’s not at home I heat one serving and open a beer (or go out for sushi). But our little untidinesses have reasons: my wife doesn’t drink much beer and doesn’t like sushi. And disconnect is an allusive use borrowed from electronics and telephony. A line of communication is expected to remain connected, so there is no instance where we would say that it has experienced a connect.”

600 years worth of sexual euphemisms. I think I’m going to start saying some of these. (Also, “give someone a green gown” makes me think of the song “If I had a million dollars.”)

“By all means take issue with bigots–but for their politics, not their punctuation. Criticise their views, not the size of their vocabulary.”

I wish this author of this piece on political language had read George Lakoff. I don’t disagree with the conclusions, per se, but the framing relies on a misreading (or perhaps a shallow reading) of Roman Jakobson’s functions of language — one that fails to understand that language is never just referential, and that’s there’s no single way of referring to things.

After my piece was on Quartz last week, I got into a lot of conversations about discourse markers on Twitter. And that means I brushed up on so and well. Yes, there’s a longer piece coming up on these…

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