Category Archives: Linguistics

Language Log » François Mitterrand crash blossom

From Language Log:  Here’s an example of why it’s important to understand the basics of syntax, structural ambiguity, and proper punctuation.  The first line of the New York Times piece has seemingly added to Mitterrand’s sins! Interesting commentary at the Language Log link’s combox.  –psm

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“François Mitterrand crash blossom”

Under the heading “the benefits of paired em dashes, part 57″, Mark Swofford sent in the following screen shot from yesterday’s New York Times:

The main part of the caption under the most prominent photo in the screen shot reads:

“Mazarine Pingeot, the daughter of François Mitterrand, the former French president, and his longtime mistress, has published a diary.”

As Mark says, “It took me several readings before that stopped sounding incestuous.”

December 2, 2012 @ 11:09 pm · Filed by Victor Mair under Crash blossoms, Punctuation

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Here’s a piece that I just posted on our School of Christian Thought website at Houston Baptist University. I explore briefly what linguistics is, and why it is beneficial to study linguistics.

School of Christian Thought

Here at HBU we have a Biblical Languages program, which includes both an undergraduate degree in biblical languages (just Greek and Hebrew) and an MA in biblical languages (Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic).  One of the requirements that we insist on for both programs is a course in General Linguistics.  As the Director of the MABL program, sometimes I am asked questions like What is linguistics? and Why is it important to study linguistics?  In this post I will attempt to provide some brief answers to those questions.

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Invitation to Hebrew Lecture by Josh Westbury at HBU

This is an invitation to those in the Houston area who love Biblical Hebrew and the Hebrew Bible:  On Friday, Sept 21, at 11am at Houston Baptist University, Dr. Marshall will have as a guest lecturer in the Hebrew Reading course Josh Westbury, Hebrew Language Specialist from Logos Bible Software.  He will be talking about some of the discourse features of Biblical Hebrew from Genesis 37 and 39, as well as giving us a peek at the new Lexham Discourse Hebrew Bible database and how it can is useful for just this sort of analysis of the text.

If you are a former HBU language student, or a present/former student of Biblical Hebrew from any school or church/synagogue, we would love for you to come and hear what Josh and HBU is up to. (By the way, Josh is a graduate of HBU, and one of his majors was biblical languages!).  Here’s the stuff you need to know:

Who? Josh Westbury (see bio below, which is from the Logos Bible Software website)

Where? Atwood 2 building, in room 215, on the campus of Houston Baptist University

When? Friday, Sept 21, 2012, at 11am (class runs from 11:00-11:50am)

Why? Because we love Biblical Hebrew, we love linguistics, and we love talking about both of them together!  Oh, and we love you, too, which is why you’re invited to come. Please let me know if you are coming (and you’re not one of my Hebrew students)–you can just reply to the post here if you’d like.

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Dr. Robert Holmstedt on Writing Book Reviews

Robert Holmstedt of the University of Toronto recently posted a piece over at Ancient Hebrew Grammar on the function of book reviews, in light of a few negative reviews of his book Ruth: A Handbook on the Hebrew Text.  He makes some great comments on what a review should aim for, especially how reviews ought to assess the success of any work based on the author’s purpose (and the series’ purpose, if it is a volume in a series).  I recommend that all my students take a look at what Holmstedt has to say on this.

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Filed under Biblical Scholars, Book Reviews, Hebrew Language, Linguistics

Linguistics Handouts

This spring I’m teaching a General Linguistics course at HBU that provides an entrée into the main subfields of linguistics: speech production (phonetics), sound patterns (phonology), word formation (morphology), sentence structure (syntax), aspects of meaning (semantics and pragmatics), and language change (historical and comparative linguistics). Our goal is to enable our BA and MA students to engage in linguistic analyses of Biblical Hebrew and Koine Greek.

For those taking the course, and for those who aren’t but are interested in what we’re doing here at HBU, I’m making the handouts available here.

If you’re interested in our MABL (Master of Arts in Biblical Languages), go here.  Information on the BA in Biblical Languages can be found here.

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