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—  Today in “linguists are not kidding when they say that your command of English enables you to understand sentences that have never occurred before in the entire history of the human species.” 

Bad linguistics journalism bingo

Do you feel like crying every time you read, see or hear anything concerning linguistics & languages in popular media? Does the n-th installment of the Eskimo Vocabulary Hoax™ make you cringe? Are you tired of writing letters to editors correcting them about ling & lang facts? Then this is the game for you. 

If you have suggestions for further sheets, please contact us.

[image edited / replaced]

  • Romans:*steal the Greek Gods, only change the names*
  • Greeks:As artists who respect creative integrity and intellectual property, we are disgusted at how much you’ve copied. From the hair to the suit, do you not have any value for respect for originality? You’re a laughing stock. It’s cheesy, it’s disgusting, we personally found it artistically atrocious.
Linguistics fandom

People have been talking about linguistics fandom.

Imagine if the linguistics fandom was like anime fandom…

Fan 1: I ship the palatal approximant with the palatal fricative!
Fan 2: Ew that’s gross! The alveolo-palatal fricatives are much better.

Fan 3: *talks about the linguistics in-joke about French sounding like ronronronronron*
Fan 4: Linguistics is great, but this is why I hate the fandom

Fan 5: Have you seen the latest IPA symbol? People are proposing to include <ᴀ> into the IPA series! Character confirmed! Open central vowel!
Fan 6: Omg is this real? I’ve been waiting for this!
Fan 7: The proposal has been done long ago and no it’s just a hoax.
Fan 6: Aww and I was looking forward to it…

Fan 8: Chinese is not a language!
Fan 9: Chinese is a language and Cantonese is just a dialect!
Fan 4: Please could we not bring this up again?
Fan 5: Esperanto best Romance language

Outsider: What series is this? What’s this “Arabic” people keep talking about?
Fan 1: Oh that’s easy! I know all about it! See, Arabic is…
Outsider: OKOK

Writing Skills: XKCD is on point about language again.

Here’s a study from this year on kids who use abbreviations while texting, and here’s a summary of previous studies: 

The first study, published in 2008, showed that 11 and 12-year-olds in Britain who used more textisms — whether misspelled words (“ppl,” instead of “people”), grammatically incorrect substitutions (“2” for “to” or “too”), wrong verb forms (“he do” instead of “he does”), or missing punctuation — compared to properly written words tended to have slightly better scores on standardized grammar and writing tests and had better spelling, after controlling for test scores in other subjects and other factors. A 2009 study, conducted by some of the same researchers on 88 kids between 10 and 12 years old, found similar associations between high textism use and slightly better reading ability.

Hovertext from the xkcd comic: I’d like to find a corpus of writing from children in a non-self-selected sample (e.g. handwritten letters to the president from everyone in the same teacher’s 7th grade class every year)–and score the kids today versus the kids 20 years ago on various objective measures of writing quality. I’ve heard the idea that exposure to all this amateur peer practice is hurting us, but I’d bet on the generation that conducts the bulk of their social lives via the written word over the generation that occasionally wrote book reports and letters to grandma once a year, any day.