Month: November 2014

Articulatory settings

thelingspace:

firiona:

dr-kara:

counterpunches:

hetagarnet:

qichi:

linguisticsyall:

Where does your tongue stay when you’re not speaking? If you’re an English-speaker, it’s behind the top front teeth. If you’re a Russian-speaker, it’s on the bottom of your mouth, lying flat.

#what #for real

I JUST FREAKING CONSCIOUSLY CHECKED AND TRIED TO MAKE IT LAY FLAT BUT NO, IT’S SERIOUSLY AT THE TOP OF MY MOUTH. I DON’T LIKE THIS

 

image

thelingspace allthingslinguistic Any insights?

Sure, let’s give this thing a whirl. It’s going to be long, so here’s the TL;DR version:

We don’t have a complete idea of why exactly there are different “articulatory settings” (how you place your mouth bits) for different languages, but it’s been remarked upon by scholars for centuries. The data thus far suggests to me that we learn how to set our mouths in speech from the input of the language around us, just like we acquire most of the rest of our grammars. What underlies that knowledge, though, isn’t fully understood yet, but thanks to testing techniques like ultrasound and optical tracking, we’re getting some real good data. With more research in this area, the hows and whys of articulatory settings may well become clearer over the next decade. So that’s something to look forward to. ^_^

Many more details below the cut!

Read More

Whoa!! I never thought about this, and now I sort of can’t stop feeling my own tongue inside my mouth and it’s weird! D:

also super interesting though

jodocho:

Paper Towns came out when I was in high school, and it was my favorite book at the time. It was just so refreshing to see characters I could relate to: pretentious dorks who discuss the complexity of metaphor for fun.

The point is: this book is kinda important to me, so I wanted to make this little comic adaption before the movie comes out and INADVERTENTLY ERASES ANY VISUAL IMAGERY I HAD CREATED WHILE READING THE BOOK SEVERAL YEARS AGO.

Hope you like it!

thelingspace:

What kinds of variation do we see in language? What does it mean for a linguistic system to be classified as a dialect or its very own capital-L Language? This week on the Ling Space, we talk about linguistic variation: the ways in which dialects can differ, what underlies different grammars, and why every version of a language is okay.

Today’s episode deals with linguistic discrimination and prejudice, and why all dialects are equally rich and valid. Pretty attached to this one – it’s easy to feel shame about the way you talk, even if you’ve studied all the reasons you shouldn’t! So embrace your nonstandard ways of speaking, because SCIENCE. 😀

8 Words to Seek and Destroy in Your Writing

latenightnovelwriting:

This may not be what anyone wants to hear during the frenzy of NaNoWriMo, but it’s helpful to remove certain words from your writing vocabulary (with the knowledge that every rule has its exceptions). Filler words dull the impact of a powerful sentence.

1.) Suddenly

Hurr

8 Words to Seek and Destroy in Your Writing

Magic linguistics

thelingspace:

phoneticfun:

If you have a native language with a very complex phonology, and you take polyjuice potion and switch bodies with someone with a native language with a very simple phonology, what would then happen with the speech?

If most information lies in an abstract system in the brain there would be no…

Wow, this is a fascinating question! I wonder if anyone has looked into it. I’d be inclined to say that knowing how you should do something is definitely important, but that the muscle memory matters, so you would still end up with an accent. But there’s room for debate on this one!

Well, as someone with two native languages who fell out of the habit of speaking one of them for about a decade before coming back to using it regularly, I can attest that muscle memory definitely lags a bit when you’re out of practice, but then comes back. SO, my guess is, at first you’d have trouble making the sounds – you might stumble a little, as your articulators struggle to catch up with your mind – but with practice, you could probably train your speech up to par pretty quick. 

Just hide in a room talking to yourself for an hour and you’re good to go!

Magic linguistics

thelingspace:

What lies beneath the sentences that we say and hear? How do we know which words go together? In The Ling Space this week, we talk about syntax: why we need it, and the trees that structure our words into meaningful phrases, using X’ theory.

Hope you all enjoy the video! And if you want even more on syntax, and the extra material on our website isn’t enough, we really recommend the recent series on various approaches to drawing trees on All Things Linguistic.

Looking forward to hearing what you think!

Reblarg! I got a lot out of this episode, personally, because Syntax was really not my forte at school (I was more of a Phonology/Acquisition/Psycholinguistics person). But I like the way Moti explains it! I feel like I understand the basics a bit better now. Go Moti!

Performative Language and Magic

thelingspace:

pleiadeshenderson:

thelingspace:

We here at the Ling Space are pretty good-sized fans of Halloween, and also of fantasy stories, so I think it’s natural to think of magic this time of year. But when we think of doing spells, what does this actually mean linguistically? Like, we figure there’s magical incantations, those words…

I love performative language! There’s this real human urge to believe that saying a thing makes that thing real. And the thing is, almost everyone does this.

Most of us don’t believe that, I don’t know, saying Bloody Mary in the mirror three times causes anything at all, or that you can literally Wingardium Leviosa that sandwich out of your friend’s hand. But we still take things like vows and verdicts and resignations seriously, and it’s virtually the same thing. We’ve socially encoded speech acts into actual events that permanently alter the reality they’re spoken into. 

I think signing documents is pretty similar, too, even if it’s not spoken per se. Putting your name on a thing makes that thing official. Or, you know, checking that you have read the terms and conditions makes you legally bound to what they contain, whether or not you’ve actually read them. We have this whole performative structure based around the things we say.

And this makes sense, right? I mean, we’re using language all the freaking time. It’s this huge part of who we are as a species, and a huge part of what we do every day. I think it shouldn’t really come as a surprise that word use ends up being some of the most socially biding stuff we have. It’s tied to notions of agency and social contract and consent. In a lot of ways, saying things is what makes them real.

And I think this is one of the fundamental human attitudes towards the world! I mean, a bunch of mythologies include the first humans or gods going around and naming things, or words that create and destroy. It’s not much of a step to go from there to magic spells, on the one hand, and marriage vows on the other. It’s all part of the same picture, something that we carry with us as a species that speaks.

Just some follow-up from our director, Adele, that broadens the discussion out, too! The mythological examples are a great point.

I didn’t talk about this in the original post, because it’s slightly different than the immediate changes in the world, but the contractual stuff is also stuff we do all the time. We create all these bonds to people using our words, to carry out tasks or to show up on time for the meeting next time or to use our favorite electronics.

And some of these acts are really binding – even if you don’t read that Terms of Service deal, you still have to do what it says – and some aren’t. Saying you’ll buy your friend a burrito next time you see them doesn’t obligate you to do that, although no one likes burrito renegers. But it does create that extra tie, when you promise.

Language – creative in so many different ways. ^_^

YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED, BURRITO RENEGERS.

Performative Language and Magic

Performative Language and Magic

thelingspace:

We here at the Ling Space are pretty good-sized fans of Halloween, and also of fantasy stories, so I think it’s natural to think of magic this time of year. But when we think of doing spells, what does this actually mean linguistically? Like, we figure there’s magical incantations, those words…

I love performative language! There’s this real human urge to believe that saying a thing makes that thing real. And the thing is, almost everyone does this.

Most of us don’t believe that, I don’t know, saying Bloody Mary in the mirror three times causes anything at all, or that you can literally Wingardium Leviosa that sandwich out of your friend’s hand. But we still take things like vows and verdicts and resignations seriously, and it’s virtually the same thing. We’ve socially encoded speech acts into actual events that permanently alter the reality they’re spoken into. 

I think signing documents is pretty similar, too, even if it’s not spoken per se. Putting your name on a thing makes that thing official. Or, you know, checking that you have read the terms and conditions makes you legally bound to what they contain, whether or not you’ve actually read them. We have this whole performative structure based around the things we say.

And this makes sense, right? I mean, we’re using language all the freaking time. It’s this huge part of who we are as a species, and a huge part of what we do every day. I think it shouldn’t really come as a surprise that word use ends up being some of the most socially biding stuff we have. It’s tied to notions of agency and social contract and consent. In a lot of ways, saying things is what makes them real.

And I think this is one of the fundamental human attitudes towards the world! I mean, a bunch of mythologies include the first humans or gods going around and naming things, or words that create and destroy. It’s not much of a step to go from there to magic spells, on the one hand, and marriage vows on the other. It’s all part of the same picture, something that we carry with us as a species that speaks.

Performative Language and Magic