Topic : Linguistics
Michael Jackson's Nonsense Chant
June 30, 2009
The world has lost Michael Jackson, but his music stays with us. On the linguistics blog Language Log, Visual Thesaurus editor Ben Zimmer uncovers the origins of Jackson's nonsensical chant, "Ma ma se, ma ma sa, ma ma coo sa," and Mark Liberman follows up with an analysis of the chant's linguistic accents and musical beats.
Michael Adams, author of Slang: The People's Poetry, has already favored us with a list of five great slang dictionaries to accompany our two-part interview with him. Now he presents five more must-reads in the field of slang studies, from scholars with a diverse set of perspectives. Continue reading...
Behind the Dictionary
Lexicographers Talk About Language
June 17, 2009
In his new book, Slang: The People's Poetry, Indiana University English professor Michael Adams tackles the tough question: what is the nature of slang? Adams, also the author of Slayer Slang: A Buffy the Vampire Slayer Lexicon, looks beyond dictionary definitions of slang to examine the fascinating interplay of social and aesthetic qualities in "the poetry of everyday speech." In this first of a two-part interview, Adams explains how the linguistic practice of slang balances the social and the aesthetic, and considers what directions slang might take in the future. Continue reading...
A Monthly Column for Word Lovers
February 2, 2009By Orin Hargraves
Is a picture worth a thousand words? Possibly, but if your job is to assign words to pictures, it would be good if you could reduce that number a bit, and perhaps focus on quality rather than quantity. This month in the Lounge we've been thinking about the relationship between words and pictures, while in recovery from a brief addiction to Google Image Labeler. Continue reading...
The Phonetics of MLK
January 19, 2009
What made Martin Luther King's oratorical style so powerful? Linguist Mark Liberman of the University of Pennsylvania analyzes the phonetics behind the rhetoric here.