Posts tagged "linguistics"

Obligatory Introduction Post

portmantodyssey:

Or should I say, introbligatoryObligatroduction? Perhaps I shouldn’t.

Hello all! My name is Matthew Aston Seaver, and I am a senior linguistics student at the University of Mary Washington. This semester I’m undertaking an independent study on morphological blends.

What’s a morphological blend?

Well, it can also be called a portmanteau, a blend-word, or just a blend- but fundamentally, a blend is a word like brunch- from breakfast and lunch- that is formed by fusing together two other words. What’s interesting about blends is that they are not a simple case of compounding or affixation. (An example of compounding is icehouse, from ice and house; an example of affixation is affixation, from affix-ate, and -ion.) Both of those processes act on morphemes, the smallest units in language that can carry their own meanings. Morphemes can be bound, like affixes, and be unable to stand on their own, or they can be free, like independent words.

The thing to notice here is that neither *br- nor *-unch is a meaningful unit on its own. (In this context, the asterixes mean something like unattested, ungrammatical, or just plain wrong.) Because the units aren’t morphemes, traditional approaches to morphology- here, the inner structure of words- have trouble analyzing blends. Breakfast is meaningful, and so is lunch, but some of the material from both words is missing; what happened to ‘eakfast’ and ‘l’?

For that matter, what about a word like slanguage (Irwin by way of Wood by way of Pound 1914), where slang and language both make it into the word intact? Or Lewis Carrol’s coinage slithy from slimy and lithe, where the words don’t even have the decency to occur linearly? Slimy wraps right around lithe- is that even allowed?

For my purposes- and this definition is subject to revision!- a blend is formed in such a way that there are at least two parent words, and in the output, there is no place where the end of one word is followed by the beginning of the other. You’ll notice in slanguage that the end of slang occurs well after the beginning of language, and that in slithylithe starts and ends entirely within the bounds of slimy.

Well, now that we’ve got that all cleared up, what’s left for me to talk about for this whole semester? I have a sneaking suspicion that there’s gonna be a whole lot.

~Follow for more soft morphology~

Help me come up with a title for my research blog!

Hello y’all, I’m about to start a log of my research into morphological blends, otherwise known as portmanteaux, such as ‘brunch’ (breakfast + lunch) or ‘smog’ (smoke + fog). Like all blogs it needs a title, and it’d be pretty Uncool if the title wasn’t a blend. My efforts into title brainstorming have been unfruitful: ‘portmantopography’, ‘portmantorphology’ (portmanteau + morphology), ‘portmantodyssey’, ‘portmanteauverdose’??? Y’all have got to have better ideas than this.

The title should suggest ‘the study of morphological blends’ but other than that it’s totally up to you what it could be. I’ll naturally credit whoever comes up with the best title, unless I come up with the one I like best myself. Question mark so y’all can answer if you like?

me: I NEED A NATIVE SPEAKER
person: of what
me: ENGLISH
person: aren’t you a native speaker of English
me: NOT ANYMORE
linguist problems
In formulating linguistic theories, it is very tempting to identify similarity with identity. The upside of confusing similarity with identity is that it allows more sweeping generalizations to be made. The downside is that they are often wrong.
Jeff Mielke, in “The Emergence of Distinctive Features”, throwing hella shade
in my corner of the world the standard textbook is Heim & Kratzer, but Chierchia & McConnell-Ginet is also used a fair bit

Okay, good to know. I’m not in a position to research those right now but I’m making this post just so I have it

Does anyone have any recommendations as far as semantics textbooks go? Frawley’s 1992 “Linguistic Semantics” is hella expensive; Sebastian Loebner’s 2002 “Understanding Semantics” is significantly cheaper; those are the two I’ve seen recommended. I’m looking for a compromise between comprehensiveness and price, and I will likely be using the textbook to teach myself on my own time, so something that supports auto-didaction would be great.

Question mark so that y’all can respond?

lesserjoke:

psychosassic:

and all the linguists in the night vale fandom have a collective cheer

It’s so great that the deep understanding and empathy that the creators of WTNV display towards other matters of diversity and representation extend toward language as well! That’s a bias that goes unnoticed even by many forward-thinking people… This is a real breath of fresh air.

lesserjoke:

psychosassic:

and all the linguists in the night vale fandom have a collective cheer

It’s so great that the deep understanding and empathy that the creators of WTNV display towards other matters of diversity and representation extend toward language as well! That’s a bias that goes unnoticed even by many forward-thinking people… This is a real breath of fresh air.

chomsky is on another level man, I’m reading his 1956 “Three Models for the Description of Language” and I just puzzled through the first bit of obtuse and under-explained mathematical notation (a process that took me fully two or three days) and three paragraphs later there’s another bit of it of equal or greater obscurity

there’s like a dozen of these things scattered through the article, was higher-level math part of what every linguist was required to know in 1956

reading about PSRs like

  • Textbook: Ask me about relative clauses.
  • Me: Okay, what about relative clau-
  • Textbook: shhh honey no
The object of study in linguistics is not a combination of the written word and the spoken word. The spoken word alone constitutes that object. But the written word is so intimately connected with the spoken word it represents that it manages to usurp the principle role. As much or even more importance is given to this representation of the vocal sign as to the vocal sign itself. It is rather as if people believed that in order to find out what a person looks like it is better to study his photograph rather than his face.

Course in General Linguistics- Saussure

(via being-in-myself)

(via didyoudrinkmygingerale)

yo so I have nearly thirty dollars in Barnes and Noble gift cards, what linguistics books should I buy for my NOOK?

Most singular nouns in English require a D
preach, Carnie, prrreaaaach

someone talk to me about English third-person pronouns (◕‿◕✿)

diana hornoiu is blowing my mind and also my analysis out of the water, damn

found someone to do my syntax individual study with trace

I use he or zey ('they' forms with a Z) pronouns. Don't show me pictures with creepy faces in them.

I post a lot about linguistics, some silly shit- cat gifs and the like- whiny text posts, things that make me angry, and every once in a while a good song.

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