February 16, 2018

Feb-12 Recap

The end of another week! I apologize for the relatively skimpy content this week. I got sick one week and unexpectedly fell behind on my content production quota. This particularly bad cold has made me realize that a biweekly update is not very feasible to maintain with my current life conditions. With that being said, I am switching to updating once a week. I haven't fixed the date yet, but right now I am going to aim for Wednesday. I will continue doing Friday posts, only they'll probably change from being "recaps" (since there's only one post to recap) to general updates on the blog. I'll continue to comment on general linguistics news (and any interesting musical observations as well!).

This week I included a sneak preview of a research vein I'm looking at, the intertwined origins of Max Martin and "babay." I also gave you all a very superficial introduction to some interestingly named syntactic jargon.

I do have some good news for you all: all the audio clips for the next Dialect Dissection are ready! To make up for this week's lack of content, I hope to bring you the next Dialect Dissection next week. I'm very excited about this one because it's on one of my favorite singers.

I'll be with you again next week - hopefully healthier this time.

- Karen

February 14, 2018

Happy Valentine's Day!

Hello to all my readers! Whether you're celebrating a romantic relationship, a friendship, or your own independence, I hope you have a lovely Valentine's Day. Here's a meme I made for my alma mater's linguistics club back when the first Fifty Shades movie was coming out:

"What is this filth you've published here?" Fun fact - all of these terms are totally real and used in syntax all the time! Domination is one of the most basic relationships in syntax. Binding is another centrally important one, and it was especially important in the 70s when "government and binding" theory was all the rage. I think every intro to syntax student has sort of chuckled at how these terms sound kinky today. They weren't exactly making movies like Fifty Shades back in those days, so it's not like they were watching out for the optics.

Syntax has other terminology problems to worry about. For example: a "verb phrase" is abbreviated as "VP." But at some point, someone wanted to have something else that started with "v" to have a phrase. The solution was to make the "v" lowercase and call it... "little v." Another interesting terminology choice is "probe," which has a specialized meaning in syntax but is also used in papers to talk about, well, probing for something. Authors sometimes have to clarify what type of "probe" they mean.

If this all sounds like pretty poor naming, that's because it is. I'll leave you with another image made for my old linguistics club. Remember to always practice safe syntax!


February 12, 2018

January 12 - Sick Day

Hey! You may have noticed there was no post today. That's because I contracted a cold over the weekend that left me feeling pretty bad. Unfortunately I was not able to write up a post in time for today. I'm quite sorry about that, and I'm looking into options to have back-ups in case I am unable to post on time.

If you'd like a heads-up on what I'm working on, I found an interesting lead for a future article. If you'll remember the article on happy-laxing ("happih") vs happy-breaking ("happay") I did ("Oh Babih Babay"), my conclusion on where happy-breaking came from in music was that Max Martin basically started it. I admit I wasn't fully satisfied with this explanation, because it left the question of where Max Martin got it from in the first place. Sure, he could have made it up entirely, but that's not quite satisfactory. There has to be something else to it. I found out an interesting tidbit that he sings all his demos himself and then asks artists to sing them just as he sings them. If that's the case, then it explains why songs linked to him have that feature - he himself is doing it, not just asking artists to do it. But where he got it from is the real question, since this feature is very rare before the 90s. There's further research to be done on this, but I think we're getting closer to definitively finding out where happy-breaking comes from in pop music.

Progress has stalled a little on the Dialect Dissection, mostly with regards to getting all the audio clips. The writing is mostly in place. If you want further hints on who this dialect dissection is about, let me tell you that this singer has been in the news recently, but not for the most positive things.

I hope you all have a great day, and make sure to protect yourself from sickness! If you're in a place that offers a flu vaccine, get a flu vaccine! Stay at home if you're sick so you don't spread it to others! Your health is important! I'll be back next time.

- Karen