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Recent Posts

  • What is forensic linguistics? - …linguistics is virtually invisible to most people…Just as physicians are trained to see things in an X-ray that the average person with excellent vision cannot see, so linguists are trained to see and hear structures that are invisible to the lay person. Roger Shuy, xvii, Language Crimes A forensic linguist is sometimes a general practitioner... Read more »
  • On “systemic racism” -  The truth is what most people believe. And they believe that which is repeated most often Josef Goebbels Political language… is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind. George Orwell  Linguists have long been fascinated with the question of how language originated.   Our... Read more »
  • “You have the right to remain silent”: Obstacles to understanding the Miranda warning, Part II — Workaround -   In an earlier post, I offered some reasons why the Miranda warning, an 89-word text recited in less than a minute, is so often misunderstood, with the result that defendants give up rights they didn’t know they had. A summary of the obstacles (many of which occur simultaneously): Contains several complexities in vocabulary, grammatical... Read more »
  • Musk affirms painful truth about President Puppet -  What orators lack in depth, they make up to you in length Montesquieu, 1767 Here comes the orator, with his flood of words and his drop of reason. Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard’s Almanac, 1735 Now that Elon Musk has dared to say what everyone, including  Dr. Jill (who really wanted to be First Lady and... Read more »
  • The (barely-) hidden agenda of racial equity glossaries - “When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.” “The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.” “The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master—that’s all.” From Lewis Carroll’s “Through the Looking-Glass, and... Read more »
  • Language control through perceived offense: how far can p.c. go? - But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought. — George Orwell In these times of language abuse and language control – when a Supreme Court nominee cannot define “woman” (because she is so politically compromised) – I must once again note that manufactured offense knows no limits.  There is no end to it,... Read more »
  • What’s a “woman”? Supreme Court nominee creates watershed moment in left language lunacy - Not merely the validity of experience, but the very existence of external reality was tacitly denied by their philosophy. The heresy of heresies was common sense. Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past. George Orwell It was one of those moments when history, perhaps time itself, stopped for... Read more »
  • The real pronoun problem: political “we” -   Pronouns, considering that they comprise only a short list of words, are one of the most fascinating aspects of English grammar.  All of them have multiple meanings, and there’s a lot of room for fuzzy interpretation and language deception. Let’s focus on “we.” It can mean ‘you (singular or plural) and I,’ but nobody... Read more »
  • How the virus of political correctness spreads: none dare call it “looting” -   When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’ ’The question is,’ said Alice, ‘whether you can make words mean so many different things.’ ’The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, ‘which is to be master —... Read more »
  • From etiquette to coercion: language police threaten harsh punishments -     Not merely the validity of experience, but the very existence of external reality was tacitly denied by their philosophy. The heresy of heresies was common sense. Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past. George Orwell It has finally happened.  The language police have gone from etiquette... Read more »