From the category archives:

linguistics and lexicography

  • Why heed the language cranks?

    Posted by on July 21, 2014

    Disputes over English usage are full of familiar items. Split infinitives, sentence-final prepositions, words like [you might prefer such as] hopefully and decimate – the same issues keep showing up, despite convincing arguments that there’s seldom a problem with any of them, leaving aside the question of register. It feels as though these are battles […]

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  • What goes in the dictionary when the dictionary is online?

    Posted by on July 15, 2014

    The familiar question of “how words get into the dictionary” is harder to answer when the dictionary is online. Printed dictionaries have limited space, so we have to be selective. This contributes to the popular view of lexicographers as “gatekeepers” – the people who decide, on behalf of the rest of the population, which words are […]

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  • Tour de Yorks

    Posted by on July 09, 2014

    A couple of weeks ago I finally fulfilled a longstanding wish to visit Haworth parsonage, family home of the Bronte sisters. There is a striking, even surreal contrast between the plain, dark house by the churchyard where those brilliantly gifted women spent much of their short lives and the chocolate-box prettiness of the steep main […]

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  • Laying down the lie of the land

    Posted by on July 07, 2014

    A recent comment by Isobel on my post ‘Who’s the boss of English?’ raised the vexed question of lay vs. lie. I felt this would be worth a post in its own right – not so much to lay down the law as to give the lie to the idea that it’s a simple matter […]

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  • Who’s afraid of a sweeper keeper?

    Posted by on July 02, 2014

    In sport, as in other areas of life, fashions come and go, and football is no exception. Of course the core terminology, like the basics of the game, remains the same, and you can find an excellent summary of footballing language here. But styles of play change, along with the colour of the players’ shoes. […]

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  • Field – a trilingual football expressions dictionary

    Posted by on June 25, 2014

    You wait ages for a trilingual dictionary of football, and then two come along at once (you can read about another trilingual football dictionary here). The team behind this new dictionary is led by  Rove Chishman, a Professor of Linguistics and coordinator of the Graduate Program in Applied Linguistics at the University of Vale do […]

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  • Anyone for Dennis?

    Posted by on June 24, 2014

    News that Wimbledon and Olympic champion Andy Murray has guest-edited a special edition of the venerable children’s comic the Beano (produced in Scotland, like Murray himself) makes me think it’s time to turn our attention away from a certain sporting competition happening on the other side of the world and focus on one that has […]

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  • You’re the one for me, phatic

    Posted by on June 23, 2014

    What is language for? A common answer is that it allows us to communicate ideas, but this is only part of the story. In her book A Woman Speaks, French author Anaïs Nin says we forget that language uses ‘a million transmissions far more subtle than explicit direct statements’. This poetic description includes what in […]

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  • FrameNet Brasil World Cup Dictionary

    Posted by on June 10, 2014

    We are delighted to introduce a new author to our blog. Tiago Torrent is a Professor of Linguistics at the Federal University of Juiz de Fora, Brazil. He is also the leader of the FrameNet Brasil research group, which gathers together linguists and computer scientists for the development of frame-based resources for Natural Language Processing. […]

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  • Don’t let them bully you!

    Posted by on June 03, 2014

    Readers of our blog will be aware that – despite several decades of serious linguistic research based on the evidence found in corpora – the world is still plagued by self-appointed “experts”, who seem to enjoy lecturing the rest of us on what is wrong with the way we write and speak. Worse still, these […]

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