Jayeless.net

Posts categorised ‘Languages’

My honest opinion that I absolutely will not stand by if challenged by someone with coercive power over me is that English needs more flexibility to spell how you feel. I write “centre”, as is standard in Australian English, but “centring” looks so wrong compared to “centering”…

Mental Models of Languages

So as we know, children acquire their native language by being exposed to lots and lots of input in that language, internalising it, and not only memorising vocabulary but also developing mental rules (the grammar) of how that language is spoken. As such, when we come to be adults, we have a very sophisticated mental model for what’s grammatical and what’s not in our native language. …

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Dabbling in Language-Learning

In recent times, I’ve been tossing up whether I should try to learn some basic German. The thing that’s prompting my temptation is that I keep encountering German-language posts on social media, and with my current (completely non-existent) knowledge of the language these are impenetrable walls of text. I’m kind of wondering how much German I would have to learn for these to …

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A linguistic pet peeve of mine: people saying “all X are not Y” when what they mean is “not all X are Y”. I’m usually easygoing about language differences, but this one completely changes the meaning of what you’re saying in a way where it isn’t always obvious what you meant. It’s clearly a mistake semantically, and one that’s been getting more and more frequent in recent years, at least online. You can’t (honestly) say things like “all kids don’t like sports” or “all Americans don’t live in urban areas with good service”… (the likes of which I see on Reddit all the time)

Three Quick Links

I found these through Mastodon and Twitter, and while each could have sustained a linkpost on its own, the fact that I wanted to post all of them at once has made me roll them into one.

Your Lifestyle Has Already Been Designed is a great little article about how the standard 40-hour work week is designed to leave us crushed and exhausted, and how this influences our choices in recreation (i.e. …

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Thoughts on Gender and (My) Pronouns

Recently I’ve been spending a little more time browsing Mastodon, and one of the things that’s caused me to think about is why I don’t feel comfortable nominating some preferred pronouns on my profile (which is a popular thing to do over there). Part of me just feels like my display name – “Jessica” – is already pretty obviously gendered, so the “elegant” …

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Double Object Pronouns in English

When I was studying linguistics at uni, one constant refrain was that native speakers (not grammarians) are the arbiters of what is and is not grammatical in a given language. None of this “you can’t put prepositions at the end of a sentence!” or “no split infinitives!” nonsense; those sound totally fine to English native speakers, so they’re grammatical.

This …

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I feel like this is an underappreciated fact: the American South is not the only place where people say y’all. My partner’s Indian South African relatives use it just as extensively (although they usually spell it your’ll!). Apparently it evolved separately in the two dialects.

photo of Jessica Smith is a left-wing feminist who loves animals, books, gaming, and cooking; she’s also very interested in linguistics, history, technology and society.