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All Things Linguistics published an article promoting Madly Ambiguous, a linguistic game about tricking a computer's understanding of phrases through ambiguity. While nothing particular fancy, it can teach you a thing or two about ambiguity and also about how computers identify phrase structures (it does have a "tell me how you do it" section). Link to the game: http://madlyambiguous.osu.edu:1035/ What did you think of it? Learned anything of interest?
Otávio Banffy posted a topic in Linguistic discussionsWhile still on the legal and contractual train wagon, I found this amazing (and greatly funny) compilation of Twitter suggestions on weird ways that people speak legalese. It was posted by Margaret Marks on Transblawg, and the question was raised by Prof. Jo Delahunty. Jo's question: The case in point, forthwith shown below, depicts the vernacular entries of Twitter folks: Scottish law reports and odd use of Latin. Any use of Latin ‘We are sitting on x day’ – do clients think we distinguish between standing up or not ‘Conference’ instead of meeting. ‘Shall remain in place until after c has left the jurisdiction’ but c can’t leave the jurisdiction if it’s still in place Ex tempore, de minimis cd. esily be expressed in English. Subtle judicial putdowns. ‘Miss X’s ambitious submission…’ ‘Bold’. ambitious slightly more bitchy than bold. Notwithstanding In the alternative Home Office unable to understand that ‘within 14 days’ means a fortnight – they think it means 3 months or so. ‘Proportionality’ in costs: mine are proportionate, yours are extortionate. Double negatives and putting stuff in the passive – done to communicate nuance, but hardly plain English. ‘Forthwith’ – if you mean RIGHT NOW say so! ‘I listened to smultran of a ECJ hearing and the interpreter gave the exact opposite meaning for one word.’ Frequently words that have specific legal meaning or use but are in daily palance that cause bother, e.g. ‘robbing’. Assault – conversion – occasioning – blackmail. I ‘submit’ And our insistence on using fancy words like ‘vernacular’ or ‘particularise’ or ‘traverse’. Disguised compliance. Mutatis mutandis One could argue that the particularised way of Twitter folk speech was inspired by legal slang. I rest my case. Do you guys have any other entries you'd like to add to the list? xD Which is your favorite?
Merriam-Webster came up with an awesome service that lists the words that first appeared in a certain year. For example, here are the most interesting ones for my birth year, 1984: bi-curious, caps lock, chaos theory, chipset, death metal (🤘 roar!), desktop publishing, dialog box, drop-down, earbud, FedEx, geeked, laptop, netizen (really, already in 1984?!), over-the-top, plug and play, search engine (who knew back then, I wonder?), terabyte. What are yours? @Paz Sepúlveda @Becky @Vladimir and everyone P.S. Thanks to @Tanya Quintieri for sharing the link on Facebook! P.P.S. I also went the extra mile and used Google’s Ngram Viewer to waste some work time find out which of them became stronger over the following 30 years. The winner by unanimous decision is dialog box, outrunning the second-bests by at least 5 times: Runners-up are laptop and drop-down, with the latter’s use dropping down in the last 10 years or so: The next group comprises fedex, chaos theory, desktop publishing, and chipset, with all but the first one declining over the last years, and “desktop publishing” outrightly plunging since mid-1990s (a warning for all the DTP publishers in here;): What are yours? Finally, we have the closing group with the luckily declining use of CAPS LOCK, and relatively growing death metal, earbuds, and geeked. P.P.S. This was perhaps the most useless word usage study ever.