Language Log is slashdotted

Arnold M. Zwicky zwicky at CSLI.STANFORD.EDU
Sun Jan 23 19:44:53 UTC 2005

it started with a story in the Economist ("Corpus colossal") about
linguists using the world wide web as a source of data, with favorable
mention of the Language Log:

mark liberman duly reported this in LL:

and then, this morning, LL was slashdotted.  piles of comments in no
time at all, most of them just "blather" (to quote mark liberman in

geoff pullum has already chosen to reply to one of the comments:

this was from someone posting as "phaln":
It came to me that the English language was in deep trouble when people
started saying "rotfl" and "lol" in person.

pullum sensibly notes that there is absolutely no need for alarm here.

my own favorite of the comments i've read so far -- my enthusiasm for
reading them waned rapidly -- is one from "Dracos", which begins:
I think that for most of the 20th century, English, and most languages
in the industrialized world, was largely static, dominated by the
written word which was dominated by proper grammar. Since WWII, popular
culture and faster communications have increasingly exposed us to local
vernaculars, mostly through radio and television. The written word
lagged behind in its cultural evolution.
an interesting reading of history.  i also like that first sentence,
which illustrates the trouble that parentheticals can cause for
subject-verb agreement; neither "was" nor "were" is really
satisfactory, and the sentence should have been reshaped to avoid the

arnold (zwicky at

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