Language


When the most powerful man on the planet takes office and by doing so becomes just that (most powerful), how could it not draw all sorts of commentary from all sides. I’ll restrict myself to what one can learn from the pages of the Language Log.
There is an interesting discussion on the flub Obama, or […]

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(1) Recommended:
Happy Christmas by Geoffrey Pullum.
NB: It’s “Happy Christmas” – maybe “merry” is getting a little dated? 😉
(2) “Christmas under fire (1940)” – well worth watching because this is what many people in Britain still remember when they think of “the Germans”:

[Another valuable find at the Open Culture blog.]

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Sehr schöne Beobachtung wieder mal im Language Log (schon vor ein paar Tagen):
Linguistic taboos protecting corrupt officials
Americans don’t think well of people who talk like this when they have important roles in public life. That means that a small additional offense by such individuals may go unnoticed: their hypocrisy in being elected on fair words […]

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Geoffrey Pullum (at the Language Log) is angry about some journalists’ tendency to make things up if it’s got to do with linguistics. In particular, he mentions a text from the Economist on the occasion of Miriam Makeba’s death. What “Epiglottal clicks and giant balls of feathers” have in common or why they are wrong […]

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Wie die Zeitungen (NYTimes, Guardian, ChicagoTribune) und andere Blogger (Herr Rau, Language Log) bereits schrieben, ist Studs Terkel am 31. Oktober gestorben. Der Economist hat in der aktuellen Ausgabe ebenfalls einen schönen Nachruf:
Studs Terkel, recorder of America’s voices.
Ein kurzer Ausschnitt:
Mr Terkel was a man on a mission. First, he meant to fix memories before they […]

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The online edition of the Telegraph has a varied collection of galleries, among them “Sign Language”, at the moment already in its 21st week.
Have a look at this week’s gallery, which – among other things – has a pretty road sign at the foot of a hill, reading “Hill blocks view” 🙂
Sign language: week 21
It […]

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I stumbled across today’s op-ed contribution, “The Great Iceland Meltdown”, by Thomas L. Friedman in the New York Times, where he says a lot of clever things (as usual), but also this (emphasis added by me):

Globalization giveth — it was this democratization of finance that helped to power the global growth that lifted so many in India, China and Brazil out of poverty in recent decades. Globalization now taketh away — it was this democratization of finance that enabled the U.S. to infect the rest of the world with its toxic mortgages. And now, we have to hope, that globalization will saveth.

I was shocked – as I usually am when native speakers use the Shakespearean or Biblical -eth ending wrongly. But this time I decided I wanted to find out about this, and I wrote an e-mail to Prof. Arnold Zwicky (Stanford University), one of the contributors to the fabulous Language Log. I half expected to be ignored (who knows – does he even read the mails that are sent to that address? Does he care about a German reader’s questions?). Well, I wasn’t. Only a few hours later Arnold Zwicky replied and told me he had written a blog entry about my question.
And now for an explanation of the headline of this entry. Zwicky says in his post (my emphasis):

Modern speakers, for the most part, don’t appreciate that -eth is historically appropriate only for 3sg present tense verb forms, and so use it ornamentally.

Well. Hm. I really find this surprising. Even intellectuals like Friedman don’t realize that they are producing grammatical nonsense (sth. will *saves)? Amazing.
But please, have a look for yourselves. Prof. Zwicky’s post is full of good examples and also explains why the quotation in question is a snowclone:
Language Log: Giveth and taketh

This entry with proper links: TulgeyWood

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