The Lady Brizendine

January 16, 2007

The mess with Dr. Louann Brizendine on LanguageLog has prompted be to accidentally fall upon this article in the New York Times Magazine, published 10 December 2006. The following quote is from a question about women using 20,000 words per day while men apparently use 7,000.

The real phraseology of that should have been that a woman has many more communication events a day — gestures, words, raising of your eyebrows.

I think it’s a pretty weak Q & A session, but that’s just me and my criticalness towards this matter. But what they hey…we’re all entitled to our opinions, whether ignorant or not. She’s very opinionated, so I, too, will be opinionated (after all, two wrongs may not make a right, but it makes you feel better). Personally, I don’t like her looks. But I sometimes judge arrogance on looks. She could be the identical twin to a philosophy professor I once knew. She, too, was arrogant. But this is not the issue at hand. I just thought I’d give my two-cents worth of opinions.

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Yeah, I know him…

December 1, 2006

How do we know what words are? Do we need context? Or does the single lexical item suffice? That’s too broad of a question for this post, so I’ll just post a word and I wanna see if anyone knows about it. I can guarantee that this word, as is, in isolation will not be as quickly recognized as in context. There are other factors involved as well, but let’s just start here for today.

    n*****as
    n*******as
    n***as
    n****as

        (yes, they are all the same word. The only question is which one is which?)

        I am always annoyed by this. Maybe it’s a virus…


        Words and/in pages

        December 1, 2006

        I think the strangest thing is when we think of an advanced degree program requirements in anomalous  ways. Take this, for example.

        These degrees are supervised by Professor X, and result in a written research thesis of around 80,000 words.

        Wow. 80,000 words? Okay, so that’s roughly 320 pp, so why couldn’t they say 320 pp? In this publications defense, it is from the UK. But then that makes me wonder about the way they perceive not just situations differently from the way we do here in the states, but the way that advanced degree programs are perceived. Personally, I think this is torture only because it’s harder to look at and absorb such a large number. Would you rather hear 80,000 or 320? I would choose 320. But that’s just me.

        It is true that we have to keep in mind that although 80,000 is large, it is measured in words, as opposed to pages. There’s a difference. Conceptually, a page (or pages, whatever) is larger than, say, a word, since words are the things that fit onto a page. So something seems to happen when we say 320 pages as opposed to 80,000 words. Something in our mind neutralizes these numbers and they somehow become one-of-the-same. My guess is that it happens because since the concept itself is large and that includes a small(er) number,  it becomes of the same level with 80,000 since that large number is part of a small measuring unit (words per page).

        So does this mean that concepts are scarier than the words? Or is it that they are the same? Do they play off of each other? Neutralize each other?

        Weird. Maybe someone knows something about this.


        The brief hiatus should be over…(very) soon

        September 5, 2006

        I need to apologize for the delay in posting. There have been many, many things happening in my life, both prior to school starting and as it started.

        Many of you don’t know, but I started this year at a new school in the grad program. Therefore, there is a lot to get used to (the normal things). One of the biggest adjustments for me is the way linguistics is taught (the school of thought). Not a world of difference, but enough to make me rethink a few things. So, this has paused my writing here as I try to wrap my brain around a few (new) ideas.

        As this progresses, I will write about a few problems. I’ve got one brewing right now in syntax, but I need a better understanding of this matter before I write about it. Just as a preview, it deals with T(ense) and V(erb) categories. The split between the two is slightly new to me (well, okay, pretty damn new, to be honest). I’m not saying anymore, because I may say something untrue or flat-out wrong.

        So, again, sorry and there’s definitely more to come.


        Are you for cereal?

        August 7, 2006

        So when I’m a little bored and restless with myself, I wander into the Urbandictionary. It’s a nifty place to find they new hippest sayings (not that I’m trying to be hip…) defined by the people saying them (I’d hope that’s the case, but I’m sure there are many poseurs posting as well). Anyway, I came across something new (for me) as I was snooping around: for cereal. Yep. That’s it. Not sure about its origin, but it’s interesting, nonetheless, to see how youngsters are processing language these days.

        Read the rest of this entry »


        Guntha…the most up-to-date!

        August 4, 2006

        Okay, okay. I had to post this because I got a HUGE tip on this word AND its origin. Let me start at the beginning, so this story makes better sense.

        Read the rest of this entry »


        Stop stressing

        August 4, 2006

        I recently had a conversation with someone on line about a similarly structured sentence,

        John and Billy’s dog ran away last night.

        Seems easy enough. No problems here. Yep. Whoa….wait. Does that dog belong to John and Billy? Or is it saying that John had a dog and Billy had a dog and they both ran away last night (yes, to shack up in Vegas!). If I had ONLY that context given to me in a survey, written that exact way, I would say the former. However, if there was another example written thusly,

        John AND Billy’s dog ran away last night. (CAPS = stress)

        Read the rest of this entry »