Category: Uncategorized (Page 2 of 2)

The prescriptivist candidate (French style)

(This is a translated version of my post ‘Les travers du candidat au prescriptivisme‘.)

Tuesday, March 29th 2016: I’m home from a day of teaching, during which I have endeavoured to initiate students of all levels to the intricacies and subtleties of language and linguistics. While I wait for the kettle to boil, I absentmindedly flip the pages of M, the magazine edition of Le Monde, which has been sitting on the kitchen table since Saturday, waiting for five minutes of quasi idleness. There, Lucien Jedwab’s column catches my eye; the former chief copyeditor of Le Monde has evidently taken over the position of defender of la bonne langue, previously held by journalist Dominique Pourquery. Continue reading

Les travers du candidat au prescriptivisme

(An English version of this post is available here.)

Mardi 29 mars 2016 : je rentre d’une journée d’enseignement où j’ai tenté d’initier des étudiants de tous niveaux aux complexités et aux nuances de la langue et de la linguistique et, pendant que bout l’eau de mon café (instantané, j’avoue cette faute de goût), je feuillette distraitement M, le magazine du Monde, qui attend depuis samedi que le nombre des copies, des courriels en souffrance, des préparations de cours et autres tâches se réduise suffisamment pour me laisser cinq minutes de quasi-liberté. Là, mon œil s’attarde sur la chronique de Lucien Jedwab, ancien chef du service correction du Monde, qui a manifestement pris dans ces pages la succession de Dominique Pourquery au poste de défenseur de la bonne langue. Continue reading

😂 is not a word. Is it?


A few days ago Oxford Dictionaries voted an emoji, ‘Face With Tears of Joy’, as its Word of the Year 2015, and the lingosphere was soon atwitter with reactions ranging from the puzzled to the outraged. Is the Word of the Year even a word? The WOTY is NOT a word! And the people at Oxford Dictionaries got their share of (not-so-)smart insults. Arguably, they were looking for trouble, and probably a bit of buzz too. After all, if they wanted to highlight the fact that ‘2015 saw [the] use [of emoji], and use of the word emoji, increase hugely’, they might as well have voted emoji as WOTY. Continue reading

(Have you got the) heart to heart?

Twitter announced yesterday that it would be ‘changing [its] star icon for favorites to a heart and […] calling them likes‘, and already tweeters are hearting all over. Wait: the WordPress spellchecker has just underlined that — hearting.

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Here be data

Data is king. In linguistics as well as in any other discipline, no serious claim can be made without solid data. And surely the revolution of Big Data hails a new dawn for linguistics research too: the computer-assisted ability to compile humongous corpora, crunch inordinately vast amounts of data and watch previously unseen patterns emerge has some magical appeal.

Yet, big or not, data and its mathematical exploitation isn’t everything. I was reminded of this by two recent developments in language study.

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