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February 17 2014


February 10 2014


Such New School. Next Gen Internet Language. Wow.

Schönes Posting von Linguistin Gretchen McCulloch, die ausgehend von der Doge-Meme Newschool-Webspeak untersucht. Im Gegensatz zu LOLCats oder 1337speak, die vor allem syntaktische Sprachmutation betreiben („HAZ“, „1337“), greift die Doge-Meme sprachlich korrekter in Grammatik ein und stellt da eigene Regeln auf („Such X. Wow.“) Netzsprache geht also von beinahe schon grafischen („H4X0R“), einfachen Syntax-Spielereien weg, wird gleichzeitig „komplexer“ und erwachsener, sort of. Wow, such interesting.

The second factor that goes into doge is the general principle of internet language these days that the more overwhelmed with emotions you are, the less sensical your sentence structure gets, which I’ve described elsewhere as “stylized verbal incoherence mirroring emotional incoherence” and which leads us to expressions like “feels,” “I can’t even/I’ve lost the ability to can,” and “because reasons.” Contrast this with first-generation internet language, demonstrated by LOLcat or 1337speak, and in general characterized by abbreviations containing numbers and single letters, often in caps (C U L8R), smilies containing noses, and words containing deliberate misspellings. We’ve now moved on: broadly speaking, second-generation internet language plays with grammar instead of spelling. If you’re a doomsayer, the innovative syntax is one more thing to throw up your hands about, but compared to a decade or two ago, the spelling has gotten shockingly conventional.

In this sense, doge really is the next generation of LOLcat, in terms of a pet-based snapshot of a certain era in internet language. We’ve kept the idea that animals speak like an exaggerated version of an internet-savvy human, but as our definitions of what it means to be a human on the internet have changed, so too have the voices that we give our animals. Wow.

A Linguist Explains the Grammar of Doge. Wow. (via Bruce Sterling)

Vorher auf Nerdcore:
You can haz Linguistic Study of LOLSpeak

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February 05 2014


Clickbait fixing Browser-Plugin

Endlich: Ein Browser-Plugin gegen Clickbait-Headlines.

Downworthy replaces hyperbolic headlines from bombastic viral websites with a slightly more realistic version. For example:

- “Literally” becomes “Figuratively”
- “Will Blow Your Mind” becomes “Might Perhaps Mildly Entertain You For a Moment”
- “One Weird Trick” becomes “One Piece of Completely Anecdotal Horseshit”
- “Go Viral” becomes “Be Overused So Much That You’ll Silently Pray for the Sweet Release of Death to Make it Stop”
- “Can’t Even Handle” becomes “Can Totally Handle Without Any Significant Issue”
- “Incredible” becomes “Painfully Ordinary”
- “You Won’t Believe” becomes “In All Likelihood, You’ll Believe” … and so on.

Downworthy – A browser plugin to turn hyperbolic viral headlines into what they really mean (Danke Ed Paris!)

January 20 2014


Chinese Violin Packaging Review

Youtube Direkttranslation,via The Kernel

Lost in Translation: „The 6 act or talk like a Fool Key“.

January 16 2014


A History of Whoa! Woah!

Toller Artikel auf Slate über die Geschichte des Whoa! und seine Mutation ins Woah!

“Whoa” is hardly a new word; it dates back to at least the early 17th century. At that time it was used mostly in shouted form and was intended to garner the attention of someone in the distance. Around the the mid-1800s, people began using “whoa” to halt forward-moving horses, and by the latter half of the 20th century it had morphed into an expression for conveying alarm, surprise, or advanced interest. (Messrs. Bill and Ted solidified the strength of this usage in 1989, Joey Lawrence sealed the deal during the ’90s, and Keanu Reeves reappeared without Bill S. Preston, Esq. to help usher the word into the new millennium via The Matrix.)

Whoa! Woah?! Whoah. – How an old exclamation became the Internet’s most variously spelled word. (via Coudal)

January 06 2014



Einfach mal Dampf ablassen:


Tumblr Argument Generator (via AnimalNY)

January 03 2014



Tolles Ding vom Atlantic, die Netflix’ Genre-Syntax – der Service beschreibt unfassbare 76891 Mikro-Genres – auseinandergenommen und daraus einen Netflix-Genre-Generator programmiert haben. Der spuckt dann so schöne Genre aus wie: Disney Feel-Good Slashers Based on Contemporary Literature oder Space-Travel Westerns For Hopeless Romantics oder Post-Apocalyptic Comedies About Friendship aus.

December 21 2013


Happy 100th, Kreuzworträtsel!

Das Kreuzworträtsel wird heute 100 Jahre alt. Das erste Kreuzworträtsel – das eigentlich Wortkreuzrätsel heissen müsste und nur Kreuzworträtsel heisst, weil ein Schriftsetzer (ein Kollege von mir!) einen Wortdreher setzte und so statt dem Wortkreuzrätsel das Kreuzworträtsel gedruckt wurde, jedenfalls: – das erste Kreuzworträtsel erschien am 21. Dezember in der New York World und wurde von jemandem Namens Arthur Wynne erfunden.

Das Kreuzworträtsel darbte dann so ungefähr ein Jahrzehnt so vor sich hin in der New York World, woraufhin die Frau des Verlegers gerne ein Buch voll mit den Dingern haben wollte. Ihr Mann druckte das in einer kleinen Auflage und das Teil verkaufte sich in Nullkommanix, bekam eine zweite und dritte Auflage, dann eine neue Ausgabe, dann noch eine und irgendwann waren alle New Yorker im kompletten Kreuzworträtselwahn. Rest is History und heute findet man das Ding in tausend Varianten in allen Zeitungen und Magazinen der Welt. Herzlichen Glückwunsch! Sudokus sind trotzdem besser. (Bild rechts: „The original crossword puzzle, created by Arthur Wynne in 1913.“)

Experts were also called upon to explain the craze. A Columbia University psychologist, for example, said that crossword puzzles satisfied 45 fundamental desires of the human species; Chicago’s health commissioner endorsed crosswords as a means of calming the nerves. But there was debate: The chairman of Maryland’s Board of Mental Hygiene worried that the puzzles “might easily unbalance a nervous mind” and even lead to psychosis. The New York Times derided crosswords as “a primitive sort of mental exercise,” and the Times of London ran an editorial about the fad headlined, “An Enslaved America.”

As early as 1925, many of the rules for how a puzzle should be constructed had been codified. Merl Reagle, who creates crosswords for the Washington Post and other major newspapers, cites a list of rules, published in one of Simon & Schuster’s early collections, that would be familiar to today’s puzzle buffs. The rules included:

- The pattern shall interlock all over.

- Only approximately one-sixth of the squares shall be black.

- The design shall be symmetrical.

- Obsolete and dialectic words may be used in moderation if plainly marked and accessible in some standard dictionary.…

- Abbreviations, prefixes and suffixes should be avoided as far as possible.

- …definitions may be of the safe and sane dictionary kind, may be literary or historical, may employ secondary meanings cleverly, may be legitimately funny.

What’s a 9-Letter Word for a 100-Year-Old Puzzle? (Bild oben: New York Times/Wednesday Crossword Puzzle von Brian Aydemir)

December 20 2013


Word Origin Birthday-Generator

Das Oxford English Dictionary hat einen Generator gebastelt, der ermittelt, welche Worte in welchem Geburtsjahr zum ersten mal im OED auftauchten. Mit meinem Geburtsjahreswortdingsbums kann ich prima leben, denke ich:

Your OED birthday word is: Internet, n. Meaning: Originally (in form internet): a computer network consisting of or connecting a number of smaller networks, such as two or more local area networks connected by a shared communications protocol

OED birthday word generator: which words originated in your birth year? (via Laughing Squid)

December 09 2013


Mentions of „Democracy“ in Constitutions around the World

Schöne Untersuchung von Xavier Marquez von der Uni Wellington in Neuseeland. Der Mann hat historische und aktuelle Verfassungen von Staaten aus aller Welt auf die Erwähnung des Wortes „Demokratie“ untersucht, dabei gab’s ein paar Überraschungen. Dass Frankreich und die Schweiz die beiden ersten Staaten waren, die sich das Wort in ihre Verfassung geschrieben haben, dürfte nach der Revolution 1789 nicht weiter verwundern, dass als nächstes dann Staaten aus Latein-Amerika und der Karibik (Kolumbien, Nicaragua, DomRep, Peru, Venezuela etc.) und dem europäischen Osten (Russland, Litauen, Estland, Tschechien) nachzogen allerdings schon.

Noch erstaunlicher: Nord Korea hatte das Wort vor Deutschland und – ich habe die Liste jetzt dreimal gelesen – Amerika, die Wahrer des Friedens und Weltmeister im Demokratie-Export, erwähnen weder die Worte „Demokratie“ noch das Wort „demokratisch“ in ihrer Verfassung. Erstaunlich.

The earliest mentions of the word “democracy” or “democratic” in a constitutional document occurred in Switzerland and France in 1848, as far as I can tell.[1] Participatory Switzerland and revolutionary France look like obvious candidates for being the first countries to embrace the “democratic” self-description; yet the next set of countries to embrace this self-description (until the outbreak of WWI) might seem more surprising: they are all Latin American or Caribbean (Haiti), followed by countries in Eastern Europe (various bits and pieces of the Austro-Hungarian empire), Southern Europe (Portugal, Spain), Russia, and Cuba.

Indeed, most “core” countries in the global system did not mention democracy in their constitutions until much later, if at all, despite many of them having long constitutional histories; even French constitutions after the fall of the Second Republic in 1851 did not mention “democracy” until after WWII. In other words, the idea of democracy as a value to be publicly affirmed seems to have caught on first not in the metropolis but in the periphery. Democracy is the post-imperial and post-revolutionary public value par excellence, asserted after national liberation (as in most of the countries that became independent after WWII) or revolutions against hated monarchs (e.g., Egypt 1956, Iran 1979, both of them the first mentions of democracy in these countries but not their first constitutions).

Today only 16 countries have ever failed to mention their “democratic” character in their constitutional documents (Australia, Brunei, Denmark, Japan, Jordan, Malaysia, Monaco, Nauru, Oman, Samoa, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Tonga, the United Kingdom, the USA, and Vatican City).

The Age of Democracy (via Hacker News), die ganze Grafik dazu nach dem Klick:


Graffiti in Pompeii

Ich hatte schonmal einen Ausschnitt dieser Liste mit Kritzeleien an den Wänden in Pompeji, hier das komplette Teil mit antiken römischen Schweinereien in Lava gebacken, wie etwa: „I screwed the barmaid“ oder „Theophilus, don’t perform oral sex on girls against the city wall like a dog“. Ganz besonders dreckig, lustig und versaut, zumindest in meinem Kopfs kurz nach dem Aufstehen an einem Montagmorgen: „On April 19th, I made bread“. Die spinnen, die Römer, hier meine Favorites:

Each inscription begins with a reference to where it was found (region.insula.door number). The second number is the reference to the publication of the inscription in the Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum, Volume 4.

I.2.20 (Bar/Brothel of Innulus and Papilio); 3932: Weep, you girls. My penis has given you up. Now it penetrates men’s behinds. Goodbye, wondrous femininity!

I.2.23 (peristyle of the Tavern of Verecundus); 3951: Restitutus says: “Restituta, take off your tunic, please, and show us your hairy privates”.

II.2.3 (Bar of Athictus; right of the door); 8442: I screwed the barmaid

II.3.10 (Pottery Shop or Bar of Nicanor; right of the door); 10070: Lesbianus, you defecate and you write, ‘Hello, everyone!’

II.7 (gladiator barracks); 8792: On April 19th, I made bread

II.7 (gladiator barracks); 8792b: Antiochus hung out here with his girlfriend Cithera.

III.5.3 (on the wall in the street); 8898: Theophilus, don’t perform oral sex on girls against the city wall like a dog

V.5 (just outside the Vesuvius gate); 6641: Defecator, may everything turn out okay so that you can leave this place.

VIII.2 (in the basilica); 1820: Chie, I hope your hemorrhoids rub together so much that they hurt worse than when they every have before!

Herculaneum (on the exterior wall of a house); 10619: Apollinaris, the doctor of the emperor Titus, defecated well here

Graffiti from Pompeii (via Dangerous Minds, Pic: Satyr and Maenad. Roman fresco from Casa degli Epigrammi in Pompeii.)

Vorher auf Nerdcore:
Toiletwall-Graffiti in Pompeii 79 vs Los Angeles 1965

December 05 2013


Letter from a Speech Recognition N00b

„Dear Aunt Rose comma thank you for the speech recognition software exclamation point. This is my first time using it comma but I think I’ve got the hang of it. How’s Uncle Bernie. No. Wait. Backspace. BACKSPACE. Question mark. Huhhhh.“

December 03 2013


The Linguistics of Benedict Cumberbatch

Ihr kennt wahrscheinlich den Benedict Cumberbatch Name Generator, mit dem man jede Menge Synonyme für Fragglerock Cumberbund generieren kann. Und aus irgendeinem Grund weiß man immer, wer mit Namen wie Rinkydink Cabbagepatch wirklich gemeint ist. Linguistin Gretchen McCulloch hat das nun mal genauer untersucht und kommt zu dem Schluss, dass der Name Humperslatch Wackerditch eine relativ komplexe Kombination aus Silbenanzahl und Phonetik darstellt. Sie hat sogar die Crinkershrek-Synonyme zu einem Histogram Cumbergraph zusammengefasst.

Die neue Sherlock-Staffel startet übrigens am 1. Januar 2014, hier der Trailer und kinda related: Forbes hat eine schöne Story über die größte Sherlock Holmes-Sammlung der Welt.

I wrote an article for The Toast on the phonological constraints that allow you to identify Bandicoot Cumbersnatch, Bendandsnap Candycrush, and even Wimbledon Tennismatch as synonyms for the same long-faced British actor, by analyzing all of the names from the Benedict Cumberbatch name generator. […]

So the key constraints that I identified are:

- Has initial stress (97%)
- 3 syllables (98%)
- Begins with b or (hard) c, as appropriate (64%)
- Ends in a consonant (91%)
- Ends in a voiceless obstruent, e.g. t, s, k (59%)
- Nasal between the first two syllables (42%)
- Ends in a fricative or affricate (40% of last names)
- Last syllable has /æ/ (27% of last names)

The Toast: A Linguist Explains the Rules of Summoning Benedict Cumberbatch (via MeFi)
All Things Linguistic: What makes an effective synonym for Benedict Cumberbatch?

November 25 2013


Death Metal English

Death Metal English – kann dazu mal jemand eine seriöse linguistische Studie machen? Ich gehe schwer davon aus, dass da sehr viel dran ist und soweit ich weiß, gab es auch schon linguistische Studien zu Hip Hop. Außerdem würde ich sie echt gerne lesen. Also: „Adjectives: In Death Metal English, they’re like guitar solos. You aren’t using enough. Add more.“

I’ve identified some common traits of Death Metal English below:

Big, polysyllabic words: You don’t have to use them correctly; you just have to use them. Bonus points for Greco-Latinate words that end in “-ition,” “-ation,” “-ution,” “-ous,” “-ized,” “-ism,” “-ance,” “-ial,” “-ity,” and variations thereon. Double bonus points for words ending semi-inappropriately in “-ment,” as in “Torn Into Enthrallment.” These words don’t even have to be real. Is Wormed’s “Multivectorial Reionization” a real thing? Who cares?

Adjectives: In Death Metal English, they’re like guitar solos. You aren’t using enough. Add more. […]

My favorite thing about Death Metal English is that it isn’t subject matter-specific. Of course, it works best when you’re talking about Satan, or Lovecraft, or murder or whatever. But you can turn pretty much any phrase or sentence into fodder for a sick death metal song using the same tropes:

Normal English: “Commuting to work”

Normal English: “This bok choy isn’t very good”

Normal English: “I need to take a nap”

Normal English: “Thanks for explaining the train schedule”

Normal English: “You have to mow the lawn”

Death Metal English (via MeFi)

November 11 2013


„Hä?“ is a universal Word

Youtube Direkthä?

Superinteressante Studie von ein paar Linguisten, die feststellt, dass das allseits beliebte „Hä?“ ein universelles Wort ist, was als Konzept äußerst unwarscheinlich ist. Aber anscheinend erzeugt hier die Kombination aus „Verwirrung durch Nicht-Verstehen“ und Konversationsfluss eine weltweit gleiche Intonation dieser Verwirrung… eben im „Hä?“, „Eh?“, „Huh?“ oder „Höh?“ Sollten wir also irgendwann mal auf Aliens treffen und wir nur sehr wenig verstehen, was die so von sich blubbern: Ein kräftig, gut hörbar ausgestoßenes „Hä?“ sollte auch für intergalaktische Kommunikation ziemlich gut geeignet sein.

A word like Huh?–used as a repair initiator when, for example, one has not clearly heard what someone just said– is found in roughly the same form and function in spoken languages across the globe. We investigate it in naturally occurring conversations in ten languages and present evidence and arguments for two distinct claims: that Huh? is universal, and that it is a word.

In support of the first, we show that the similarities in form and function of this interjection across languages are much greater than expected by chance. In support of the second claim we show that it is a lexical, conventionalised form that has to be learnt, unlike grunts or emotional cries.

PlosOne: Is “Huh?” a Universal Word? Conversational Infrastructure and the Convergent Evolution of Linguistic Items
Website zur Studie: Is ‘Huh?’ a universal word? (via Language Log)

November 04 2013


Dial-Up-Noise thru Voice-Recognition

Twilio bietet Cloud-Services rund um Handy-Kommunikation und die bieten unter anderem auch einen automatisierten Trankriptions-Service per Stimmerkennung. Das da oben (Screenshot von EJ_Brennan) kommt dabei raus, wenn ein Fax-Gerät anruft. Liest sich wie der Text eines Ghost in the Machine oder auch von einem einsamen, psychotischen Computer in Space namens HAL9000: „Hey Dave“!


List of censored Words in chinese Microblogging-App

Hiraku Wang aus Tailand hat im Code eines chinesischen Twitter-Klons eine Liste von Worten gefunden, die vorsorglich für die staatliche Zensur vorgesehen waren und Blocked On Weibo postet nun alle Worte inklusive Erklärungen. Die Watch-Brothers sind beispielsweise drei Regierungsbeamte mit Vorlieben für superteure Rolex-Uhren. Superinteressant, alles!

  1. 浙江签单哥 / Zhejiang’s receipt-signing Brother
  2. 警察杜平 / Police Dupin; 宣恩杀人现场 / Xuanen murder scene
  3. 叶迎春内衣 / Ye Yingchun underwear; 叶迎春 / Ye Yingchun
  4. 孙国相拆迁 / Sun Guoxiang demolition
  5. 中央领导内幕 / Central leadership insider
  6. 盘锦开枪 / Panjin shot; 四学者建言 / Four scholars suggestions; 
  7. 盘锦二表哥姜伟华 / Panjin, Second Watch Brother: Jiang Weihua; 姜伟华名表 / Jiang Weihua namebrand watches; 江诗丹顿 表叔 / Vacheron Constantin uncle
  8. 只身挡坦克 / Tanks block alone
  9. 爆料不孝女 / Expose: unfilial daughter; 爆料朱熹后人 竟是政协委员 / Expose: Zhu Xi’s descendants, suddenly CPPCC committee members
  10. 人大附中择校费杨东平 / Renmin High School, school choice fees; Yang Dongping
  11. 奥数叫而不停 / Complaints about Math Olympiad have not ceased

The Chinese keywords on messaging app LINE’s “bad words” list and why they are “bad” (via Bruce Sterling)

November 01 2013


October 30 2013


Michel Gondrys animated Noam Chomsky-Doc: Is the Man Who Is Tall Happy? – Trailer

Youtube Direktgondry, via io9

Eine animierte Doku von Michel Gondry über die Philosophie Noam Chomskys? Bin ich dabei:

From Michel Gondry, the innovative director of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and The Science of Sleep, comes this unique animated documentary on the life of controversial MIT professor, philosopher, linguist, anti-war activist and political firebrand Noam Chomsky. Through complex, lively conversations with Chomsky and brilliant illustrations by Gondry himself, the film reveals the life and work of the father of modern linguistics while also exploring his theories on the emergence of language. The result is not only a dazzling, vital portrait of one of the foremost thinkers of modern times, but also a beautifully animated work of art.

October 23 2013


Criminal Slang of the 19th Century

Slates History-Blog hat sich durch George W. Matsell 1859er Vocabulum aka The Rogues Lexicon gelesen und ein Best-Of der damaligen Gangsta-Slangs aufgeschrieben. Matsell war der erste Polizeichef von New York, erfand die organisierte Verbrechensbekämpfung und war Herausgeber der berüchtigten National Police Gazette (viele Cover und Scans der NPG findet man im hervorragenden Flickr-Stream von Retro Space), einem der langlebigsten Tabloids der Welt, das mitverantwortlich war für den weltweiten Aufstieg des Boxsports.

Hier jedenfalls ein paar von Slates favorite 19th Century Gangster-Vokabeln, das komplette Buch gibt’s auf Mein Highlight: „Ivy bush: A very small-faced man who has a large quantity of hair on his face and head“.

Altitudes: A state of drunkenness; being high.
Barking-irons: Pistols.
Bun: A fellow that can not be shaken off.
Cutty-eyed: To look out of the corner of the eyes; to look suspicious; to leer; to look askance. “The copper cutty-eyed us,” the officer looked suspicious at us.
Daisyville: The country.
Dry up: Be silent; stop that.
Flay: To vomit. (Also “hash.”)
Flicker: To drink. “Flicker with me,” drink with me.
Forks: The fore and middle fingers.
Foxing: To pretend to be asleep.
Gapeseed: Wonderful stories; any thing that will cause people to stop, look, or listen.
Goosecap: A silly fellow; a fool.
Heavers: Persons in love.
Hubbub: Pain in the stomach.
Idea-pot: A man’s head.
Ivy bush: A very small-faced man who has a large quantity of hair on his face and head.
Kate: A smart, brazen-faced woman.
Lushingtons: Drunken men.
Out-and-Out: A spree; a frolic.
Peery: Suspicious. “The bloke’s peery,” the man suspects something. “There’s a peery, ‘tis snitch,” we are observed, nothing can be done.
Rag-Water: Intoxicating liquor of all kinds. If frequently taken to excess, will reduce any person to rages.
Red Rag: The tongue. “Shut your potato-trap and given the red rag a holiday,” shut your mouth and let your tongue rest.
Sluice Your Gob: Take a good long drink.

Some Excellent Mid-19th-Century Criminal Slang That’s Ripe For Revival

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