The Origins of Yiddish—A Response to Philologos, Part Dray

Aug 26, 2014 by

[NOTE TO READERS: This post is part 3 of a mini-series on the origins of Yiddish. The concluding part 4 will be published after a short summer break, in the week after Labor Day.] [Many thanks to Merlin Dorfman for bringing the...

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Is Esperanto simple and easy?

Aug 8, 2014 by

In my previous post, I maintained that the notion of “simplicity” (and “complexity”) when applied to language is far from being simple. At least two kinds of simplicity need to be distinguished: simplicity of learning (what I...

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“Yo” said, “yo” said…

May 21, 2012 by

A recent LotW post discussed a newly introduced gender-neutral third person Swedish pronoun hen. It appears that a similar gender-neutral pronoun is developing naturally in a local dialect of American English. According to a post on...

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“Hen” said, “hen” said

Apr 15, 2012 by

In many Western countries concerns are raised about gender-specific language. The French hurry to get rid of mademoiselle. The Swedes are not far behind in wanting to get rid of ‘him’ and ‘her’. It has been...

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Google Translates Gender

Feb 13, 2012 by

[Thanks to David Pesetsky for inspiring this post] The topics of Google Translate and of translating gender have been discussed in this blog before. I have argued that Google Translate fails to understand language (as many journalists...

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The plural of virus? Latinate plurals reconsidered

Jan 19, 2012 by

[Thanks to Cynthia Typaldos for bringing this topic to my attention! The cartoon to the left is from this site] A recent article on by Robert Andrews states:   “Google (NSDQ: GOOG) already operates its own...

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