Friday, March 30, 2012

Linkfest [2]

A collection of language-related things that caught my attention last week:
  • Arabic typography links: Joey (@joeyverse) gave me a book on Arabic design which is cool. (But holy cow it has its own design flaws. So many widows; it makes me sad.) Other cool things -- 
  • Jayme (@aunicorninspace) thought this infographic on the history of western typefaces would be relevant to my interests. She was right. 
  • I loved diagramming sentences in middle school. So did this lady over at the NYTimes, so she wrote about it.
  • Idioms & The Eggcorn Database
    • From the site: In September 2003, Mark Liberman reported (Egg corns: folk etymology, malapropism, mondegreen, ???) an incorrect yet particularly suggestive creation: someone had written “egg corn” instead of “acorn”. It turned out that there was no established label for this type of non-standard reshaping. Erroneous as it may be, the substitution involved more than just ignorance: an acorn is more or less shaped like an egg; and it is a seed, just like grains of corn. So if you don’t know how _acorn_ is spelled, _egg corn_ actually makes sense.
    • In my family, there's a related phenomenon called a "Robism" after my sister Haley's husband, Rob. He's a brilliant man (cf. Untamed Science), but his brain is... different. To Rob, an idiom is just a random string of sounds. It's a toss up if he'll get the words or the usage right. I am taking the liberty of publishing some of Haley's running list here. Love you, Bert.
      • Let's crack a rip
      • By the skin of their sheets
      • Fundamental tablestone of belief
      • Smartie two shoes 
      • Bite off more than we can handle
    • When she heard me giggling over the fact that Rob doesn't know the words to "Jingle Bells" (Jingle bells, jingle bells, marching all the way), Jayme told me about the Turian race of aliens in the Mass Effect universe because she's a dork like that. Turians try really hard to incorporate human idioms into their speech and writing, but usually do it wrong:
Subject: A fly in the lotion...
Commander Shepard,
I've come to have a lot of balls in flight, as you humans say. It was brought to my attention that you're still around, working on something secret. Frankly, I hope that whatever you do keeps you far away from Noveria this time, but if you must come back and, what is it, upset the fruit cart, let me know, and I'll clear a path for you for old times' sake.
A please as always,
Lorik Qui'in, Administrator, Port Hanshan

  • Votes and Vowels: A Changing Accent Shows How Language Parallels Politics
    • Vowel shifts and this article are neat. Remember Mitt sayin' "y'all?" What a conniving little weiner.
    • Instead of blogging about anything I want, I've been trying to keep my writings here loosely gathered around "words," which is a pretty broad topic. But since we're already talking politics and it's my blog, I just have to say what I've been feeling explody about lately: Seriously -- Let's get back to that SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE thing. Government can and should operate outside of the realm of personal and religious morality. Christianity dictates evangelism, not zealotry. From what I know of the guy, Jesus wants people to choose him, not be legally required to comply with interpretations of his teachings. It offends my Christian heritage and really all the rest of me that politicians warp goodness into a tool to mobilize the ignorance of their constituents to get them elected so they can make policy that makes them rich. Whew.


  1. Ambigram. have you heard of these. I just learned of them today. Let's talk about orthographic optimality theory on Monday

  2. I love them. And have seriously thought about getting a fantasy/reality one tattooed on my body even though it's kind of dumb. Because that's pretty much my life, and I've seen a few really cool ones.
    Those other words = freakin' pillow talk, man. Too far? Yeah. Point is that I would love to talk about that.