Archive for the ‘Academic life’ Category

Today’s spam publication

September 29, 2014

From someone using the name “Tomas Kant”, to a huge number of groups (including the linguistics faculty at Stanford), a call for papers for a “journal”:

International journal of science, commerce and humanities (IJSCH) is an open access, peer-reviewed and refereed multidisciplinary journal published by post academic publications. The objective of (IJSCH) is to provide a forum for the publication of scientific articles in the fields of science, commerce and humanities. In pursuit of this objective the journal not only publishes high quality research papers but also ensures that the published papers achieve broad international credibility.

Yes, it stinks of spam; note the absurd breadth of the fields covered, and the absence of capitalization in the names of the “journal” and its “publisher”.



June 10, 2014

Several correspondents have written to compliment me on the content and organization of the “About (academic)” page on my website (here). One went so far as to refer to the goldilocksian mean — not too small, not too big, and (though this isn’t in the Goldilocks fairy tale) “everything easily discoverable”.

These nice comments inspired me to spend yesterday adding to the “Handouts for conference papers” section of the page, adding links to handouts from four Stanford Semantics Festivals.

And then there’s the nice derivational formation goldilocksian ‘just right’, a useful (and, given that you know the fairy tale, easily comprehensible) innovative adjective, moderately frequent (on the order of 6k ghits, dupes removed) but not in the OED.


Our forgetful academics

March 17, 2014

(From my life.)

A note from Saturday, when I started the day very early (around 4 a.m.), working on comics-related things. Later, I went to lunch with my daughter and realized just before it that I had managed to forget to have  breakfast.

These days, breakfast is either a leftover from dinner the day before (recently: Tuscan shrimp pasta, pizza) or just granola. But I usually remember to have it.

The bad lure of academia.


January 24, 2014

Karen Chung on Facebook points me to this PHD comic (of January 15th):

Oh my.

Academic purity

January 18, 2014

This xkcd:

Academic rankings. Famously dismissive. Linguistics is presumably over there with sociology.

Question period

June 17, 2013

A Steve Macone cartoon from the New Yorker, in “The Questions Academics Ask: Conference Edition” on Allan Johnson’s blog The Art of Academic Practice:

Johnson: “Macone’s cartoon perfectly captures one of the several strange things that can happen during a conference Q&A.”

(Hat tip to Lauren Hall-Lew.)


Briefly noted: endorsements for skills or expertise

May 20, 2013

LinkedIn tells me every so often about endorsements I’ve received for skills or expertise, from friends, colleagues, former students, and readers of my blogs (about 30 of them so far). For:

Teaching, Linguistics, Academic Writing, Research, Computational Linguistics, Higher Education, Natural Language Processing, Courses, Text Mining, Theory, University Teaching

Teaching figures prominently. I must say that’s gratifying.

I’m not at all sure what these endorsements mean, but it’s always nice to be recognized for your abilities and accomplishments.


What do Linguists do?

March 12, 2013

Passed on to me by Peter Lasersohn on Facebook, this entry (“What do Linguists do?”) from the InsideJobs site (on this site, all job titles are capitalized), which is headed:


Also known as Army Linguist, Cryptologic Linguist, Scientific Linguist

(Notice that the site manages to put together linguist in all of its senses.)


Emily Flake

February 7, 2013

Having posted one Emily Flake cartoon (on decimate, here), I thought to check out some of her other work. (That’s her real name, by the way.) Mostly focused on situations rather than language, but here are three varied examples of interest to me.



February 1, 2013

After seeing myself cited repeatedly as the source of

Zwicky’s Law, which states categorically that
 “The more irrelevant garbage you put into a sentence, the better it sounds.”

I pondered. This is from this source, but all the cites go back to John Lawler. The sentiment is one I’ve expressed several times (in connection with grammaticality judgments on specific sentences), though not in fact categorically, and usually light-heartedly, but I didn’t recognize this wording, and couldn’t find the source. So I wrote John to pin the thing down. Turns out it’s Linguists’ Lore.