Archive for the ‘Linguists’ Category

Revisiting 15: Salome, Conrad, and more Zs

December 9, 2017

(For the purposes of this posting, the letter Z standing on its own is an abbreviation for the surname Zwicky.)

More family bulletins from Switzerland, starting with the musicians Salome Z, Conrad Z, Peter Z, Stefan Z, and Benjamin Z, from my 11/27 posting “The two Salome Zwickys of Zürich”. These will take us to Spain and, incidentally, to linguistics. With, of course, the obligatory trip to Mollis, in canton Glarus.

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100 years of independence

December 6, 2017

Though today is one of the dark days of early December alluded to in my recent posting — it’s Mozart’s death day, a sad occasion indeed — it’s also St. Nicholas’s day (gifts!), and Chris Waigl’s birthday (eggcorns, remote sensing of wildfires in the Arctic, Python, knitting, and more, in three languages!), and Independence Day in Finland. As Riitta Välimaa-Blum reminds me, this year’s Independence Day is something spectacular: the centenary of Finland’s declaration of independence from Russia.

(#1) The Finnish flag

So raise a glass of Lakka (Finnish cloudberry liqueur) or Finlandia vodka, neat, to honor that difficult moment in 1917 — the year should call to your mind both World War I (still underway then) and the Russian revolution, and these enormous upheavals were in fact crucial to Finland’s wresting its independence from Russia.

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Livin’ La Vida Multilingüe

October 3, 2017

Yes, Ricky Martin is the hook for this posting. Aside from the fact that I’m a big RM fan, this is not at all a forced connection, as you’ll see. For the moment, this:

  (#1) See also #1 in this posting on RM, showing him in a performance of the song.

Back in June, I posted (here) about the retirement party for Stanford’s Eve Clark, prominently mentioning Herb Clark’s comments about the 2014 Festschrift for Eve edited by

Inbal Arnon, Marisa Casillas, Chigusa Kurumada, Bruno Estigarribia

There I said, of Eve and Herb, that

each of them read and critiqued almost everything the other wrote, and they talked about their research essentially on a daily basis. As Herb remarked yesterday, this made it incredibly difficult for him to write his contribution to the Festschrift … without tipping Eve off to the project; complex ruses were resorted to.

Herb also reflected on the diversity of the editors’ names, each from a different language — Bruno’s, from Basque, being the most exotic of the four. They are all multilingual (and multicultural), Bruno pretty spectacularly so. And, being linguists, they all know at least a bit about a huge number of languages (and the cultures and societies those languages are part of).

Such experiences, I think, incline linguists to a certain liberality of spirit: openness to new ideas, appreciation of social, cultural, and individual variety, and resistance to prejudice. Characteristics to be seen in Eve and all four of the editors. And, arrived at by a somewhat different route, in Ricky Martin.

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Locked out, memorably

September 8, 2017

A little while ago my old friend J, an American, went to an international linguistics congress. From a message to me yesterday (edited to conceal identities), about an encounter J had with a European colleague, G, there:

(Note: not an accurate depiction of my Staunton Court condo, or of J or G.)

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From Tex-Mex to naked rugby

July 25, 2017

Yesterday’s morning name was the Mexican Spanish nickname Chuy (for Jesus). I’m pretty sure it got into my head from a friend who recently ate at a Chuy’s restaurant in Texas, so I’ll start with that.

But the real topic is Mexican Spanish nicknames: Chuy or Chucho for Jesus, Pepe for JoséChe for Ernesto, and Pancho or Paco for Francisco, in particular (with a note on the linguist Viola Waterhouse, who was a student of such things). That will take me to Pepe Romero, Che Guevara, Pancho Villa, the linguist Paco Ordóñez, Paco Rabanne (the man and the fragrances), and from there to Nick Youngquest in the buff, which will supply a moment of gay interest.

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Scalarity on the menu

June 27, 2017

From Roey Gafter on Facebook a few days ago, going Korean at the Flohmarkt (flea market) am Mauerpark, Berlin:

A little exercise in scalarity, in this case with respect to spiciness (German adjective scharf ‘sharp, spicy’, English adjective spicy, alternatively hot).

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For Eve V. Clark

June 17, 2017

… two recent cartoons, one a Rhymes With Orange with a notable verbing of a noun, the other a One Big Happy with a child coping with an unfamiliar word:

(#1)

(#2)

These on the occasion of Eve’s retirement from Stanford, celebrated at a department party yesterday afternoon.

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Housemates

May 19, 2017

The occasion is the discovery of more photo albums from the past, in this case the relatively recent past. One had photos of two friends who shared the Columbus OH house with Jacques and me in the 1990s: Philip Miller (during a postdoc year in linguistics at Ohio State) and Kim Darnell (while she was finishing her PhD in linguistics at Ohio State). Then there’s our last housemate before Jacques and I moved entirely to Californa, our bookfriend Ann Burlingham, who was working in Columbus bookstores at the time.

After teaching in (mostly) Lille, Philip is now in Paris. After years teaching in Atlanta, Kim is now in Palo Alto. And Ann has been in Perry NY (south of Rochester), where she owns and runs Burlingham Books, for some time now.

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Complementary ignorances

May 18, 2017

Yesterday’s posting on Philip Larkin’s poem “This Be the Verse” elicited this redfaced comment from U.Mass. linguist Rajesh Bhatt:

I only knew this as an Anne Clark song until now!

To which I now reply, equally redfaced, that until Rajesh’s comment I didn’t know about the Anne Clark version, and was in fact only dimly aware of Anne Clark.

(Rajesh supplied a link to a YouTube video of a live performance, at the Berlin Metropol in 1992; you can listen to a studio recording here.)

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A snapshot of the field

February 15, 2017

Now for something completely different: something that has to do neither with Valentine’s Day nor with sex / sexuality. Instead, a project portraying linguists, in photographs and texts, from an emotional, rather than academic, perspective. A project of Stephanie Shih at UC Merced (a Stanford PhD), who last appeared on this blog as the co-editor, with Vera Gribanova, of the volume The Morphosyntax-Phonology Interface.

Steph — from here on I’ll refer to her familiarly rather than formally —  is not only into linguistics (specifically computational linguistics and phonology) and cognitive science, but also food and music… and photography, all quite seriously.

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