The best books about how human language works

Jan 29, 2024 by

Do you like to read? Would you like some great book recommendations? Then check out Shepherd.com: here are my book recommendations, and there are recommendations by other book authors as well. Happy reading!...

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A Guide to the Perplexed: How to Identify Pseudo-Linguistic Articles i...

Nov 8, 2015 by

[The title of this post is inspired by the title of a famous work by one of my favorite scholars of all time, Moshe ben Maimon, aka Maimonides, an extremely influential Jewish philosopher, astronomer, Torah scholar, and physician....

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Napoléon Bonaparte: Frenchman, Corsican, Italian, or Moor?—And the Las...

Oct 30, 2015 by

[This post was originally posted in July 2012.] While population genetics typically focuses on migration and settlement patterns of relatively large groups of people, sometimes a genetic signature of just one person tells an...

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Count Sollogub on the 1824 flood in St. Petersburg

Sep 26, 2015 by

[Note: the following is primarily for the benefit of the students in my current courses.] From the Memoirs of Count Vladimir Sollogub, on the 1824 flood in St. Petersburg [translation mine]:   “And I remember with horror that...

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Are the Black Jews Jewish?

Sep 4, 2015 by

[A recent discussion of the “Lost Tribes” prompted me to repost this piece below, originally published on GeoCurrents in July 2012] The South African University of KwaZulu-Natal has recently hosted a conference on black...

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The “Russian World”—What And Where Is It?

Dec 7, 2014 by

In the past five weeks or so, my students in “Russia Beyond the Russians” course at the Santa Clara University’s Osher Institute and I have grappled with the notion of ethnicity (or “nationality”) as it is understood—and has been...

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