Archive for the 'Miscellaneous' Category

Control-b n

My keyboard layout of choice for English is [Dvorak]( At work, I use [this keyboard](

For certain tasks I’ve been involved in of late, I use emacs and often switch back and forth between buffers using control-x b. The x and b keys in dvorak are the physical b and n keys. These two keys are on separate halves of the keyboard, separated by the hump in the middle that contains the zoom thingy. This necessitates using both hands to execute the command.

Last night, I decided to do some work at home on my laptop (which does not have an ergonomic/split keyboard). When I went to switch buffers, I noticed that the b and n keys were right next to each other! It was strange.

November, anyone?

I’m not sure if it’s a record, but I managed to not post for over a month. It guess it makes sense: I had a big deadline in the first week, and then an important-in-a-different-way deadline in the third week. Well, now that there’s nothing going on (wishful thinking)…

I suppose a couple things are in order. First, everyone attend the 2009 LSA Summer Institute! There are so many cool classes (and the people running the show aren’t bad, either). Unfortunately, I will in all likelihood be here and nearby for basically all of the first short session. Oh well.

Next, it seems like it was only a few years ago that (one of?) the first linguistics blog [get]([togethers]( was held in the SF Bay Area, and now I suppose there may soon be another, though this time on some sort of [peninsular location]( Can’t wait, guys!

In other news, I had my first liquid-spilled-on-laptop incident several weeks ago. It was only water, and so far no ill effects have showed themselves. Very thankfully, I had purchased one of those tiny EEE PCs only a few months earlier, so I had a backup while the other one recuped.

Psychotherapy library

Let Google Maps tell you about the libraries near UC Berkeley, and you’ll find out something quite interesting: there’s a “[Library of Education Psychotherapy](” All these years and I never knew we had such a facility.

McCawley cited for linguification (by Newmeyer)

A topic of continued interest (primarily by(?) Geoff Pullum) is [linguification](, or the expression of a particular idea or argument in terms of language. A couple years ago I [wrote about]( one particular type of linguification that often takes the form of

> You rarely hear X and Y in the same sentence

and which expresses, basically, X and Y are really different and totally unrelated. In case X is a modifier of Y, then it means Y is anything but properly described by X (e.g., you never hear “politician” and “honest” within three words of each other).

In the June 2008 issue of _Language_, Frederick (Fritz) Newmeyer writes, in a footnote:

> The late Jim McCawley wrote somewhere that he can always pick out theoretical linguists at academic cocktail parties. We are the ones who talk about the Fibonacci sequence, the laws of thermodynamics, and Romance clitic climbing, all in the same sentence.

This reflects what I guessed was a folk theory of discourse, one part of which is the idea that sentences have only a single topic, and that nothing is present in the scope of negation (e.g., “studying Romance clitic climbing clearly has nothing to do with the laws of thermodynamics, which is just as well considering that I know nothing about the latter”). This particular form of linguification relies on the idea that if any concepts are mentioned in the same sentence, this indicates at least that the speaker is interested in all three topics, and perhaps even that the speaker is somehow arguing for a significant relation between them. (Or perhaps just that they are [concept-dropping]( in order to impress their colleagues).


Wow. [Garkov]( has to be the funniest example I’ve seen in the domain of replacing the content of speech bubbles in comics. And in this case it has the added virtue of being funnier than what used to be there. In almost every case.

Coherent spam

The combination of the subject line and first few main text lines of a bit of spam I got this morning was, in fact, slightly coherent.

> Subject: Or coherent
> Body: increasingly so the longer I m here and the more time I spend at
> C A 9N A D/8AN P 0 4H A RM A 5CY

I prefer a colon after _coherent_ and a comma after _increasingly so_

Oh no a joke

How do you describe a cow that’s rather pessimistically chowing down on grass in a meadow?

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Rights back on the table

In the news today is China’s return to the discussion table with the US on human rights. Unless you read [the Washington Post headline]( Ah, what a difference a little word makes.

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