Archive for the ‘Linguists’ Category

LSA to announce award for LGBTQ+ linguistics

April 26, 2021

Details still to be settled, but the Linguistic Society of America will be offering a regular award for LGBTQ+ linguistics. With the permission of COZIL (the LSA’s Committee on LGBTQ+ [Z] Issues in Linguistics), which proposed the award and will administer it, I am pleased to give a little peek ahead:

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Notes of cade oil, spikenard, and labdanum

February 23, 2021

Among the scent notes in the “unisex perfume” A City on Fire — burnt match is another, but that doesn’t require looking things up — from the Imaginary Authors company, whose remarkable fragrances come with synopses of fictitious works of extravagant fiction and with striking graphic-designer labels on their bottles.

The perfumes aren’t cheap — $95 for a 50 ml bottle ($38 for a 14 ml Traveler size, $6 for a 2 ml Sample size) — but then we don’t know how many bottles get sold, and how much the perfumes are actually worn, as opposed to being treasured and displayed as art objects with an olfactory as well as visual and textual dimensions.

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It started with a kiss

January 24, 2021

(Six male-male kisses, of different sorts and with different sociocultural meanings, plus a general suffusion of homoerotic content and undercurrents throughout, so this posting is not to everyone’s taste — but there’s nothing raunchy enough to make it plainly unsuitable for kids or the sexually modest.)

It started with a kiss in a poster (from Hana Filip on Facebook, long ago — 2/23/19) apparently signifying the union of the Soviet Army and Navy, but it turns out to be sheer invention, the work of the artist Igor Baskakov, whose specialties include a very uneasy blend of official Communism and high-commercial capitalism:


(#1) The caption: ‘Support/Strengthen the union of the Army and Navy’

Three things about this poster. First, it alludes to (as Hana put it) the fraternal socialist kiss trope, the most (in)famous of which is the kiss between Soviet President Leonid Brezhnev and East German leader Erich Honecker (1979):

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Two from xkcd

January 12, 2021

… on linguistic topics: 2381 The True Name of the Bear and 2390 Linguists. The first brings us Gretchen McCulloch as a bonus.

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Time, and intellectual community

January 7, 2021

In the latest (December 2020) issue of the journal Language (vol. 96, no. 4), Brian Joseph’s “What is time (and why should linguists care about it)?”, an article that originated as his presidential address at the Linguistic Society of America (LSA) annual meeting in New Orleans on 4 January 2020. The article (abstract below) combines broad humanistic scholarship with fine-grained philological and dialectological research on the Greek language.

Meanwhile, the article is thick with thanks to all sorts of people, a characteristic that is not just personal niceness — though in some cases it is certainly that — but reflects a view about the nature of intellectual community.

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this

December 28, 2020

A Boxing Day cartoon by Wayno (with Dan Piraro at Bizarro studios North):


(#1) Wayno’s title:”New Year, New Symbol: Introducing the Pipe of Ambiguity”

Here, this picks out, or points to, the image just above it, which is indeed a symbol. In general, this has no fixed meaning, instead gaining its meaning from the context it’s in.

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Great progress, grave threat

September 23, 2020

Two recent items about great progress in the acceptance of lgbt people in my country, with an alarm bell in the second about grave threats to us. First, a posting about a piece in Out magazine. Second, a comment on the Queer Linguist(ic)s Network (QLN) on Facebook.

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Hola Queridx

August 28, 2020

Back on 3/4 on Facebook, from Peruvian linguist Ernesto Cuba, with a photo of him

[Cuba phrase] con mi queridx Iván Villanueva Jordán, traductor queer … lingüistica marica


(#1) Ernesto (right) with his Peruvian student Iván (who’s studied drag queens in Lima)

(Google at the time didn’t try to translate queridx but translated lingüistica marica as ‘faggot linguistics’)

Cuba’s queridx posting led me to discover Dario Cocimano’s song “Hola Queridx” from his 2018 Digno album —

(#2)

— and so to query Cuba about the linguistic usages involved.

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David Stampe

June 26, 2020

A preliminary death notice for David Stampe, an old friend and hugely influential colleague in my work in linguistics. A first pass, deficient in many of the customary details about academic careers, reproducing the death notice on Facebook from David’s son John (with some amendments in square brackets):

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Raw, firm, and tasty

June 22, 2020

Back in the early days of the lockdown, there were bizarre runs on things in grocery stores — fabled shortages of toilet paper, paper towels, bleach — all more or less explicable — but also in certain stores at certain times, eggs, all the chicken, bean thread, all the pasta, and one memorable friday, at the local Safeway (where Kim Darnell shops for me once a week), all the cheese, of any kind (plain commercial cheese but fancy cheeses as well), except for some commercial smoked cheese in blocks, which apparently is not highly favored locally.

For complex reasons you really don’t want to hear about, I’m on a high-cheese diet — a while ago I had some mid-morning sharp cheddar and Stone Ground Wheat Crackers — and luckily I’m happy with chunks of smoked gouda, but not as my only cheese, day in, day out. I complained on Facebook, and my cry was heard. Astonishingly, by my old friend the excellent linguist Stephen R. Anderson, who wrote with brotherly concern (from Asheville NC, where he and his wife Janine have retired):

No Swiss person should have to survive on smoked cheese from the Safeway

Steve then conspired with his cheese specialist at the Asheville Whole Foods to send me an emergency cheese relief package, of five raw milk cheeses, all firm to hard in texture, four from Switzerland, one a Swiss-style cheese from France.

They arrived on April 22nd. There would have been volleys of  sounding trumpets, but, well, we were in lockdown.

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