why do people say “don’t be a pussy” when talking about weakness more like “don’t be a man’s ego” because you know there isn’t nothing more fragile than that


because “pussy” is the shortened form of the word “pusillanimous”, which means “timid, cowardly”

and not the slang word for the female genital region?

literally no one else knows this. nobody. 

omg seriously?!

my mind has been blown

According to the OED, it actually comes from “puss” (as in cat), and it was first applied as an adjective to women meaning sweet or amiable (i.e. domesticated). It then got extended as an insult to men because of its association with femininity. So yeah, it’s as bad as we all thought it was.

(Source: littlemixens)

Everyone! My friend Andrew who’s also just started a PhD in linguistics at Berkeley has started a really neat linguistics blog, which I totally feature in (check out the Yo Dude post). The posts are super well written, and take you through several topics in each one drawing them all together really nicely. Seriously such a delight to read.

This is a NZ drink driving ad. I’m curious:

Non-Australians/Kiwis: do you think this sounds Australian?

Because it’s not even close. And if yes, I’m going to do a very serious post about the differences between Australian and New Zealand English.

“A maximal projection walks into a v bar and asks for a little vP. The bartender says, “That’s not your usual selection.” To which the maximal projection replies, “Yeah, must be a phase.””

Source unknown (the person I heard it from also didn’t know, and I have googled to no avail — do let me know if you have any leads!) 

This joke requires quite a lot of linguistics background to get, but if it doesn’t appeal to you, you’ll still probably have some luck with the 15 pages of linguist humour in my archives

(via allthingslinguistic)

Just a few months ago (aka before I moved to America) I wouldn’t have got this. But now I know Minimalism (!!) Stay tuned for some syntaxy posts.

being an expat 101: no boy ever will feel the need for a better pick up line than “I love your accent, where are you from??”

well, I just finished a fairly complicated three week move from Australia to America and am safely installed in my v tumblr-esque apartment [don’t worry I won’t sully Speaking with photos]. so far, I have been laughed at for saying I’d be keen to do x in all seriousness, realised that Americans don’t know what an electric kettle is [presumably because of the tea situation?], found decent coffee [some], found awful coffee [abundant], gone to international graduate orientation to be told that Americans are informal [um, I get called love in Australia and ma’am here] and direct [immediately followed by a slide of phrases that don’t mean what they say], shifted my idea of what’s expensive to the local standard [big mistake, big mistake] and become entirely used to American English. well, at least the Californian kind. I’m loving it.

anyway, now that I’ve started grad school I expect I’ll be posting much more regularly since I now have a reason to procrastinate again (instead of earn money like last year). stay tuned.

Optimality Theory 101: Constraints > Rules



Okay, so here’s a crash course in Optimality Theory (or OT) for any confused linguistics or curious parties out there.

At it’s base, OT is essentially just an alternative way to view phonology. Instead of rules to figure out what is and is not ‘allowed’ in a language OT uses constraints and structures grammars as systems that map from the input to the output. The input is referred to the as underlying form whereas the output is the surface realization.  

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Another entry in Crowdsourced Linguistics! Yay! 

Sometimes people also use non-linguistics decision-making analogies to explain Optimality Theory: here’s a coffee-buying analogy via linguisticky, for example. I just realized that this analogy doesn’t link into the more formal layout of OT, with the tableaux and such, so I’m going to do that below. 

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reblogged before, but… too good.

(Source: itsvondell)





its odd how the tumblr linguistics community rarely discusses sign languages

Here’s something cool you may already have known: wiktionary has ASL. There is standardized orthography for it (left/right, names for common movements and hand positions, etc.)
Is that not awesome!?

Bilabialfricative makes a really good point, though. I reblogged that video about the restaurant in toronto, but it’s one of the only sign language things i’ve seen circulating. 

Oh and there was that thing about the deaf/blind kid whose parents set up a language to narrate the World Cup. But yeah, that’s pretty much it.

Don’t forget that Superlinguo did a great series of posts on Auslan (Australian Sign Language).