Category Archives: Uncategorized

Academics, we need to talk, because I am sick and tired of this.

This is my personal response to the recent Mother Jones article about sexual harassment at the University of Rochester. tl;dr Sexual harassment is pervasive in academia. The solution first lies in every professor acknowledging their privilege and being brutally honest with … Continue reading

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Where are all the brown-skinned boy characters?

Has anyone else noticed how the dark-skinned characters that appear on kids’ TV shows are almost never boys? It’s like, if there’s one non-white character on a show, it’s a girl. Leaving aside for now those shows with mostly all animal or vehicle characters (despite the fact that … Continue reading

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Sesame Street does Sociophonetics

“Rosita doesn’t want to speak, ever again! She doesn’t like the way she sounds. She says she sounds different.” — Big Bird   Today I happened upon an episode of Sesame Street that’s all about sociolinguistics. The vignette touches on sociophonetic variation, bilingualism, ethnicity, … Continue reading

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When ‘big’ starts with /p/ and ‘pig’ starts with /b/

I’m writing because of another little language acquisition oddity. I’m basically curious to hear if anyone else has known a kid who’s done the thing that my kid is doing. Let me say off the bat: I’m not worried about this … Continue reading

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Sometimes I blog about things that I feel too awkward talking about face-to-face. This is one of those things.

I don’t want to make too big a deal here, but I’ve got a little PSA. It’s about something I feel like I’ve always known, something I assumed everyone knew, something that I thought was common knowledge, common sense. But … Continue reading

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What’s Gaelic for Gavagai?

Nothing highlights Quine’s gavagai problem like trying to learn a new language through books written for babies.   My daughter has been attending Scottish Gaelic immersion preschool for just over a month now. I don’t know any Gaelic myself, and … Continue reading

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Two weeks later: ‘English’

This is a brief addendum to my previous post from two weeks ago about my daughter’s emergent and idiosyncratic typology of language types. Today she mentioned a new one: English. And what it seems to mean is ‘speaking correctly’. We were reading books at … Continue reading

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