Archive for the 'ideas' Category


N-ary X-bar Conjunction Trees

I recently saw something… odd on YouTube. However, something good came out of this. See, back in Syntax class (and French Syntax, and even Semantics), when making a basic Principles and Parameters style tree of a sentence, based on X-bar theory, we were always told that everything needed to be formed in binary trees… except conjunctions for some reason. This always struck me as odd.

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Subtitling can be a tricky issue. I’ve tried my hand at subtitling before, so I know how hard it can be, getting the right words to show up in just the right place. You have all the problems of an accurate, idiomatic translation, amplified by the need to break it up into one- or two-line blocks in the right places and make it show up in the right place, down to the hundredth of a second. (Most subtitle formats allow for thousandths of a second, but rare is the case where that makes much difference.)

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The Simple Things

Although I love making fancy food, and Americans in general like to pile on the flavors, I was recently reminded that sometimes simple is best.

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Real Life Phonology

Linguistics is a relatively young science, so it’s still got a few kinks to work out. One I just recently noticed is that the definition of “phoneme” needs a little work. The official definition is a little hard to pin down, but let’s go with the great Wiki’s “the smallest segmental unit of sound employed to form meaningful contrasts between utterances.” That’s a good enough definition for most purposes. However, phonemes are referred to by their base allophones, so I suppose that’s really what I have a problem with.

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story idea

I’m not sure I’d call this a full post really. It’s just an idea I got from a comment on a message board concerning the possibilty of a certain character getting married as early as she does in a certain long-running fanfic. At one point, the author said “Sometimes, love uses a 2×4 to get someone’s attention.” Later, another poster responded, “And sometimes the 2×4 is ducked.” I just really wanted to avoid losing the possible story idea of this happening literally.