Friday, March 29, 2013

Word hunters

This sort of novel may help seed linguistic curiosity in the young.

Word Hunters - The Curious Dictionary

'While stories build from words, it’s true, The words themselves have stories too. Who dares to read? Who dares to look? Who dares to hunt within this book?' 

An action-packed adventure story filled with humour, excitement and mysteries to solve, Word Hunters: The Curious Dictionary is sure to capture the imagination of children with an interest in history and language. Described as a ‘word nerd adventure’, the story winds through history showing how words evolve over time, such as tracking ‘hello’ back through time to ‘Ah, Rou’ in Rouen, France in 925. Visit the Word Hunters website.

Quoting from

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Lingua Franca finale: "Unbreak my heart"

The very last Lingua Franca radio program replayed a program on morphology, especially the prefix un- in pop songs. "Unchain my heart" is right. "Unbreak my heart" is a rule breaker or linguistic special effect. You can't un-give someone a ring. Why not?
How come you can be hurt by an unknown assailant but you can't unknow or undiscover or unthink things or uncry your tears .... Why not?
How come we know intuitively what verbs we can un- and which ones we can't. This final 26 January 2013 Lingua Franca was triggered by the words of the popsong, 'Unbreak my Heart'. The reknowned grammarian and former keyboard player in the soul group the Ram Jam Band, Geoff Pullum, uncovered the reversing 'un'-cryptotype while visiting Australia.
  The entire Lingua Franca series is available online as transcripts and audio files. Wonderful stimulating fodder for language lovers. Thanks to the Australian Broadcasting Commission and Maria Zijlstra.