Two reviews of Language Log‘s book ‘Far from the Madding Gerund’ (it has a prominent place on the blog’s home page). I didn’t do a linguistics course, but Old High German instead, and who’s to say I was wrong (mumbling Phol ende Uuôdan uuorun zi holza) – not that I had a choice – but of course linguists know all that stuff anyway. This is linguists meaning scholars of linguistics. I first met some of them when I was doing Siegfried Tornow‘s Russian course in Berlin in 1967 and these people were there who were also doing a one-year course on Hausa and all sorts of other things.
What do linguists do? Hint: They’re not language cops or polyglots by Jan Freeman in the Boston Globe:
bq. In their capsule biographies, the authors reveal their youthful career detours: Liberman was kicked out of Harvard and sent to Vietnam, while Pullum, a high school dropout in England [this sounds like an incredibly American thing to be], worked as a rock musician. Linguistics saved them, they say, and “linguistics can save you, too.” Not, perhaps, from being sent to war or forced to live by your guitar pick; but linguistics, in this user-friendly form, really might help save you from boredom, complacency, and a multitude of misapprehensions about languages and linguists.
Analyzing Eggcorns and Snowclones, and Challenging Strunk and White by Michael Erard in the New York Times:
bq. Blogging has put him [Mark Liberman] in touch with an audience he never imagined existed, including a walking-tour guide, a horse farm owner, a high-energy physicist and a rock musician, all regular e-mail correspondents. “There is a group of very smart and very well-read people out there who like to read about language and who can put together arguments based on evidence from sources and background knowledge which is not made up or nuts,” he said. “It’s a big world out there.”
No, I didn’t know the walking-tour guide existed, either, and he can certainly put those arguments together. Hey, Language Log, not just smart and well-read, educated too!
(Via the Forensic Linguistics mailing list)