Trump fights to break what?

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Toddler pronounced useless

Someone may be able to figure out how this document came into existence — Drew Hangman, "Toddler Dies after Visiting Petting Zoo of E.Coli Infection", Statesman Tribune 10/9/2015:

A Maine toddler was pronounced useless after contracting an E. coli an infection following a go to to the Oxford County Truthful. Based on a report from WMTW, the 20-month toddler Colton Guay of Poland handed away from problems associated to hemolytic uremic syndrome per week after he was admitted to the Maine Medical Middle.

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Japanesey Chinese

A new wave of Sino-Japanese borrowings?

During the last century and a quarter or so, Chinese has absorbed a large number of borrowings from Japanese:

"Recent Japanese loanwords in Chinese" (7/22/13)

"'And the greatest Japanese export to China is…'" (8/21/12)

"Sino-Nipponica " (7/26/15)

"Metaphysics has ruined Chinese" (5/27/15)

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Hangul Day

Akdong Musician's "Like Ga Na Da":

See the Wikipedia article if you're not already familiar with the Hangul writing system. And Hangul Day on October 9 is really a thing.

Alex Baumans writes that "I don't think any other alphabet has such a catchy theme song".

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Grading political comments

A dozen people have sent me links to this blog post — "Presidential Debate Grammar Power Rankings", Grammarly Blog 10/6/2015 — or to various commentaries on it, e.g. Justin Moyer, "Trump supporters have the worst Facebook grammar, study finds", WaPo 10/7/2015; Emily Atkin, "New Analysis Ranks Presidential Candidates By Their Supporters’ Grammar", ThinkProgress 10/6/2015; Paul Singer, "Democrats crush Republicans in grammar; Chafee on top", USA Today; "Trump First in the Polls, But His Supporters Are Last in Grammar", Yahoo! Health 10/7/2015; etc.

I don't have time this afternoon to write anything more about this, so feel free to talk among yourselves…


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Anticipatory confirmation

Claire Landsbaum, "Research Confirms Using Periods in Texts Makes You Seem Pissed Off", ComPlex 10/3/2015:

Before texts, every sentence ended with a period. But with the advent of impersonal electronic communication, line breaks became a quicker and easier way to express the end of a thought. "The default is to end just by stopping, with no punctuation mark at all," Mark Liberman, a professor of linguistics at the University of Pennsylvania​, told The New Republic. "In that situation, choosing to add a period also adds meaning because the reader(s) need to figure out why you did it. And what they infer, plausibly enough, is something like, 'This is final, this is the end of the discussion or at least the end of what I have to contribute to it.'" In other words, because the period is a deliberate choice, including it is especially passive-aggressive.

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Gender bending

There's a guy with brown hair who has worked as a checkout person at a store I go to regularly.  He's been there for about five years.  Of the 20 or so checkout persons at the store, all of the others except one are female, mostly between 18 and 25.

Over the course of the last year or so, I noticed that this fellow became increasingly girllike.  Finally, last week when I went to the store, there was a new checkout girl with straight, long blonde hair.  It turned out that I was next in line to go to her counter.  She was wearing a name tag that said "Karen".  I really didn't know this person, but when she spoke to me I realized it was that guy, though his / her (–> their) voice was much higher, and manner even more feminine than before, and he / she (–> they) was (–> were) wearing a skirt.  I really didn't know what to do or say.  My overall reaction was to accept her as a new hire.

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The G.K. Chesterton Prize for Ignoring Women

Yogi Berra may or may not have said that "You can observe a lot just by watching". He didn't add that you can learn a lot just by counting — but as a baseball person, he surely knew the power of simple statistics.

You can learn a lot about G.K. Chesterton from the Wikipedia article about him, including his observation that "The whole modern world has divided itself into Conservatives and Progressives. The business of Progressives is to go on making mistakes. The business of the Conservatives is to prevent the mistakes from being corrected." But Wikipedia won't tell you that his fiction writing had a striking, perhaps unique, statistical property: he hardly ever uses feminine pronouns.

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Why the sudden need?

And what sort of factory? That's what Stephen B. wondered when he read the Guardian headline, "German factory orders slide unexpectedly".

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Mauritian Creole

Brian Jongseong Park was recently in Berlin and got to see an art show featuring works from Berlin-based Mauritian artist Djuneid Dulloo, who is a friend of Brian's from school. One work that caught Brian's eye was "Ras Lavi", which is covered in examples of Mauritian Creole:

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An unusual way to celebrate

In the running for attachment ambiguity of the week is a photo caption from Simon Johnson and Ben Hirschler, "Beating Parasites wins three scientists Nobel Prize for medicine", Reuters 10/5/2015:

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Looking over pronouns

Henry Thompson wonders (by email) whether something is changing in English syntax:

This from a 30ish native speaker of American English, with a PhD, definitely literate.

"I had a quick glance at sections of the [xxx], and it does have
some good tips, so I'd encourage you to look over it:"

The issue is whether  a verb-associated intransitive preposition goes before or after a direct object. The standard view is that either order is possible with full noun-phrase objects, while unstressed pronominal objects can only precede the preposition:

Kim pointed out the mistake.
Kim pointed the mistake out.
*Kim pointed out it.
Kim pointed it out.

Henry has noticed (he thinks) an increasing number of violations of this pattern:

I first noticed this is spoken English, e.g. ripped off them, fucked over me, picked up it, in the 1970s, and I feel like it's been steadily occurring in my hearing since then.

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Lost and found

In the 10/4/15 issue of the Chicago Tribune, Eric Zorn has a sympathetic look at Chinglish:  "Cultural sensitivity lost — and found — in translation".  He offers the following sign at a museum near Datong as a prime specimen:

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