The Anatomy of “Touching”

Mar 20, 2015 by

The verb ‘to touch’ in Russian—kasat’sja and its perfective counterpart kosnut’sja—is a very peculiar one, in several respects. To begin with, it is unusual in having the clitic –sja, without any of the meanings typically...

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Je Suis “Random Folk in a Deli”—What Went Wrong With Obama’s Remark?...

Feb 20, 2015 by

Last week, the lowly English adverb randomly found itself at the center of a political controversy. In an interview, President Obama made a comment that generated a barrage of criticisms from Republicans and from Jewish organizations...

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It’s not all black and white

Nov 30, 2011 by

As was discussed in earlier postings, the cross-linguistic range of color terms is quite complex and languages differ as to how the treat the color spectrum (e.g., see how Hanunoo does it). But interestingly, not all uses of color...

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A man and a woman…

Nov 23, 2011 by

[Thanks to Joel M. Hoffman for his inspiring pieces in the Jerusalem Post Glamour of Grammar column on “The birds and the bees” and “Girl people and boy people”. The title of this post alludes to the the...

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What’s in a (Russian) name?

Nov 23, 2011 by

[All names below are presented in the transliteration, rather than the more traditional English spelling] This post is in response to a question by John Cowan in connection with an earlier post that mentioned the Russian system of...

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On doing things with words

Nov 21, 2011 by

[The title of this post is inspired by the title of Austin’s very influential 1962 book How to do things with words?] In our earlier discussions of such topics as telling the truth and concealing the truth, we have so far...

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