Pareidolia refers to the human tendency to attribute meaning to random stimuli. Usually, when people talk about pareidolia they mean visual phenomena like Virgin Marys appearing on pieces of toast and the like. But pareidolia can be auditory as well.
This is a great video. I only studied Irish for one year in grad school (and it was Old Irish at that), but I still have a soft spot for the language, in both modern and old varieties, as well as a deep respect for the sort of autodidactic drive exemplified here.
I just got a new laptop (oh frabjuous day!) to replace my 4-year-old antique, which was on its last legs. It's a very slick Asus model and so far I'm very happy with it, but while creating a recovery DVD, I encountered a very interesting usage of predictably to mean "it is predicted that": "Predictably, four blank writable DVDs are needed to create the recovery DVD." When I first saw this, I did a double-take, since as a sentence adverb, I take "predictably" to mean "as could be/have been predicted." It sounded like the computer was expressing frustration: I should have known!
Many people are deeply insecure about the difference between who and whom, resulting in hypercorrect insertions of whom where it doesn't belong. So it's interesting to find a writer using whom in the correct case while simultaneously falling into a different error, one that my intuition tells me should be much easier for native speakers to spot.
Arrrh, me hearies! Today be Talk Like A Pirate Day, on which day I be wantin' to answer a question that gentlemen o' fortune all o'er the briny blue ha' been askin' theyselves: what be the part of speech of avast?
So the Top 100 Language Blog list done by Lexiophiles and bab.la came out today. Alas, I didn't make the cut, but there were some more surprising omissions, especially Language Log. Who in their right mind leaves Language Log off a list of 100 top language blogs? Or even a list of the top 10. Give me a break! Did everyone think that LL was a sure bet and so gave their vote elsewhere?
An interesting phenomenon of language variation is lexical reversal, where a term that normally points in a specific temporal direction is flipped. Hence people will occasionally use ancestor, which points backwards in time, where descendant, which points forward, would be standard.
I've written before about how preparation material for the SAT writing section sometimes presents an over-simplified view of grammar that can get you into linguistic trouble. Here's another case in point: The following question appears in a Kaplan practice SAT (12 Practice Tests for the SAT 2009 Edition, p. 589):
Although talent may be a crucial element on the road to fame, it is difficult to succeed without a highly developed work ethic.
Polysyllabic has been nominated for the top 100 language blogs in the Language Professionals category. You can vote by clicking the button in the right sidebar, or by going here. Voting goes through July 27.