language links, ling-anth links

Language links 6/12: Bill Maher and Jim Comey

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


A linguist takes on Bill Maher’s use of the n-word.

Indigenous languages and technology. I don’t love the terminology of “language death” for a lot of reasons, but that’s a minor quibble.

Some amazing research showing bias in police interactions. File under: “they didn’t take it seriously when the linguists said it.”

Deborah Tannen on Donald Trump’s metamessage.

On different meanings of “hope” in Comey’s testimony. (Specifically — contrasting Trump’s “I hope you can let this go” and Comey’s “Lordy, I hope there are tapes.”)

I’m heartened by the number of folks writing about the incredulous responses to Comey in comparison to sexual harassment complaints. (WaPo, NYT, LAT, Elle … I could go on.) In particular, there are two persistent lines of questioning (“Why didn’t you say it was wrong?” and “Why did you take it as an order?”) that suggest a willful ignorance of power dynamics — and it’s nice to see writers pointing that out.

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