Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Roughly speaking, 17 miscellaneous items

1) When Mark over at the Language Log crosslinked to my Simpsons post, traffic on this blog increased roughly fiftyfold. It's fun to track via Sitemeter. Especially fun to look at the world map of who's on where at a given time. Thanks, Mark!

2) There's a fairly bizarre series of language-related scene-setting descriptions in a recent NYT article about the sensational trial of a 'Mafia Cop' (starting at the last para before the fold):
"Beneath the facts, however, lies an urban universe of glottal accents and working-class grammar that may be getting as old as the marijuana dealer, Burton Kaplan, 72, who, in testimony, said that he should have "stood" in school."
3) I find a recent post about Wittgenstein over at logicandlanguage.net quite amusing. I'm anxiously awaiting the translation verdict on the phrase, 'Roughly speaking...' Is that pretty much what W. intended to say?

4) I'm of course curious as to whether the Dakota and Carrier Scrabble letter distributions were based on the frequency of letters in corpora of each language, or on the frequency of letters in the lexicon of each language...Bill? Ben ? Update: See Ben's answer in the comments section below.

5) In my Simpsons post, I forgot to link to a Simpsons language joke over at Literal-Minded that appeared a while back. It's at the bottom of this post. It'd go under the heading "Interpretation of plural number marking." Hee. Update: Neal has just posted on another one, which I was planning to note down in my list for next year, from this Sunday's show, but now I won't have to. Thanks, Neal!

6) It recently occurred to me to wonder whether the availability of P-stranding in a language correlates with the absence of pro-drop in that language. Obviously P-stranding languages, like English, Dutch, Norwegian, are not pro-drop; anti-stranding languages like Italian are not. French is not pro-drop and (mostly) not P-stranding, so it's clear the correlation doesn't hold in that direction, but what about the other one? Anyone know of a robustly P-stranding language that is unambiguously pro-drop (I know about Irish... it's not really unambiguous in its prodroppiness)?

7) Wave of the future? I recently participated in a conference in Syracuse by delivering a talk from Tucson via webcam, along with my colleague who had the idea, Andrew Carnie. It was fine -- fun to take questions from people hundreds of miles away during the question period -- but frustrating in that I didn't get to see the other talks, since I didn't really want to spend the weekend sitting in front of a computer. (I was very grateful that the non-virtual attendees were willing to spend an hour watching my (fore)head on a movie screen!) I did get their handouts though.

8) Here's a link to that important recent work of M. Goose and R. Rabbit I was alluding to a few weeks ago. Check it out -- it's chock-full o' truthiness. (Chock-full 'o truthy goodness? Snowclone alert!)

9) Haven't gone back to try puzzle number 17 yet, but I will soon... I'm scared, now that Lance has blanked! Check out his excellent example sign post, though. How does that whole construal thing work, anyway?

5 Comments:

Blogger Ben Zimmer said...

According to a comment on Blogamundo from Tammy DeCoteau of the Association on American Indian Affairs, the letter distributions for Dakota Scrabble were based on frequency in a lexicon (specifically the Official Dakota Scrabble Dictionary).

7:42 PM  
Blogger peg said...

I enjoyed your post on March 25, 2005 (Beyond embiggens and cromulent) and I mentioned it on my blog.

1:12 PM  
OpenID jackthemac said...

SEO and Scrabble in Syracuse... sweet! Tagged by K

7:05 AM  
Blogger billposer said...

I only just noticed your post. The Carrier scrabble letter distributions are based on lexical frequency.

8:32 PM  
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6:55 PM  

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