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  • March 30, 2016
  • 04:19 AM
  • 1,016 views

The real problem with linguistic shirkers

by Ingrid Piller in Language on the Move

Germany has discovered a new social type that is causing grieve in modern diverse societies: the “Integrationsverweigerer;” literally someone who...... Read more »

  • March 17, 2016
  • 05:44 PM
  • 577 views

Once upon a time… On the origin of fairy tales

by gdw in FictionalFieldwork

(Also appeared on United Academics Magazine) Once upon a time, around 6 000 years ago, there lived a blacksmith. This blacksmith was a true craftsman, always looking for ways to improve his metal-moulding skills. When he had practised all he could, he saw only one way towards perfection: a demonic deal. So he called forth […]... Read more »

  • March 14, 2016
  • 07:10 PM
  • 1,107 views

Crucial communication: language management in Australian asylum interviews

by Laura Smith-Khan in Language on the Move

Asylum seekers in Australia face a few very public hurdles. Successive governments have used increasingly restrictive refugee policies to gain...... Read more »

  • March 8, 2016
  • 10:22 PM
  • 1,094 views

Temples helping heritage language maintenance in Australia

by Niru Perera in Language on the Move

Do you know which non-Christian religion has grown the fastest in Australia since the new millennium? You might be surprised...... Read more »

Perera, N. (2016) Tamil in the temples – Language and religious maintenance beyond the first generation. Multilingua. info:/10.1515/multi-2015-0059

  • March 3, 2016
  • 10:01 PM
  • 1,305 views

Herder: an explainer for linguists

by Ingrid Piller in Language on the Move

Some contemporary sociolinguists love to hate an 18th century educator, philosopher, theologian, translator and general polymath by the name of...... Read more »

  • February 27, 2016
  • 01:00 AM
  • 1,107 views

Sticks and stones (3): How names hurt

by Michael Ramscar in The Importance of Being Wrong

The shock of the old

Most people in Iceland don’t have family names. Instead, Icelanders’ last names are made from their father or mother’s first name, to which males add the suffix -son (son) and females -dóttir (daughter). This practice can seem strange to outsiders, but it was common throughout Scandinavia until surprisingly recently: laws compelling citizens to adopt heritable family names were only enacted in 1828 in Denmark, 1901 in Sweden, and 1922 in Norway......... Read more »

Baek SK, Kiet HA, & Kim BJ. (2007) Family name distributions: master equation approach. Physical review. E, Statistical, nonlinear, and soft matter physics, 76(4 Pt 2), 46113. PMID: 17995066  

Chang, J., Donnelly, P., Wiuf, C., Hein, J., Slatkin, M., Ewens, W., & Kingman, J. (1999) Recent common ancestors of all present-day individuals. Advances in Applied Probability, 31(4), 1002-1026. DOI: 10.1239/aap/1029955256  

Colman, A., Sluckin, W., & Hargreaves, D. (1981) The effect of familiarity on preferences for surnames. British Journal of Psychology, 72(3), 363-369. DOI: 10.1111/j.2044-8295.1981.tb02195.x  

A. Crook. (2012) Personal Names in 18th-Century Scotland: a case study of the parish of Beith (North Ayrshire). Journal of Scottish Name Studies, 1-10. info:/

Guo, J., Chen, Q., & Wang, Y. (2011) Statistical distribution of Chinese names. Chinese Physics B, 20(11), 118901. DOI: 10.1088/1674-1056/20/11/118901  

Shannon, C. (1948) A Mathematical Theory of Communication. Bell System Technical Journal, 27(3), 379-423. DOI: 10.1002/j.1538-7305.1948.tb01338.x  

Shannon, C. (1951) Prediction and Entropy of Printed English. Bell System Technical Journal, 30(1), 50-64. DOI: 10.1002/j.1538-7305.1951.tb01366.x  

  • February 9, 2016
  • 06:40 PM
  • 1,064 views

Alles in Ordnung? Reflections on German order

by Rahel Cramer in Language on the Move

Everyone who has learned a second language will have noticed that certain words and expressions cannot be translated easily from...... Read more »

  • January 26, 2016
  • 07:18 PM
  • 930 views

Ways of seeing

by Ingrid Piller in Language on the Move

Here in Australia we celebrated our national holiday yesterday. Australia Day marks the end of the summer holiday season and as everyone heads back to school and work, Language on the Move is coming back from our break, too. Welcome … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • December 8, 2015
  • 05:43 PM
  • 1,305 views

Discrimination by any other name: Language tests and racist migration policy in Australia

by Laura Smith-Khan in Language on the Move

Australia has a proud national narrative of migration and multiculturalism. It also has an equally prevalent history of exclusionary and discriminatory migration policy. Perhaps the most famous is its “White Australia Policy”, which sought to restrict the migration of “non-European” … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • November 24, 2015
  • 05:36 PM
  • 1,200 views

Cultural brokering

by Ingrid Piller in Language on the Move

Recently, I signed a contract for a revised second edition of my 2011 book Intercultural Communication: A Critical Introduction to be published in 2017. One way in which I am planning to extend the book is to have a greater … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • November 6, 2015
  • 07:47 AM
  • 1,211 views

Broca’s area processes both music and language at the same time

by Richard Kunert in Brain's Idea

When you read a book and listen to music, the brain doesn’t keep these two tasks nicely separated. In a new article just out, I show that there is a brain area which is busy with both tasks at the same time (Kunert et al., 2015). This brain area might tell us a lot about […]... Read more »

  • October 27, 2015
  • 07:09 PM
  • 1,339 views

“Made in Germany” at risk? Volkswagen and the German trademark

by Rahel Cramer in Language on the Move

The Volkswagen (VW) emissions scandal has received significant media coverage in and outside of Germany. Besides accounts of the developments that led to the discovery of Volkswagen’s unethical behaviour, the immediate impacts on the company’s finances, CEO Martin Winterkorn’s resignation … Continue reading →... Read more »

Piller, I. (2003) Advertising as a site of language contact. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, 170-183. DOI: 10.1017/S0267190503000254  

  • October 26, 2015
  • 05:00 AM
  • 1,151 views

Sticks and stones (1): How names work & why they hurt

by Michael Ramscar in The Importance of Being Wrong

Boiling a frog In 1781, Christian Wilhelm von Dohm, a civil servant, political writer and historian in what was then Prussia published a two volume work entitled Über die Bürgerliche Verbesserung der Juden (“On the Civic Improvement of Jews”). In it, von Dohm laid out the case for emancipation for a people systematically denied the […]... Read more »

Fryer, R., & Levitt, S. (2004) The Causes and Consequences of Distinctively Black Names. The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 119(3), 767-805. DOI: 10.1162/0033553041502180  

Nunley, J.M., Pugh, A., Romero, N., & Seals, R.A. (2014) An Examination of Racial Discrimination in the Labor Market for Recent College Graduates: Estimates from the Field. Auburn Economics Working Paper Series. info:/

Zajonc, R. (1968) Attitudinal effects of mere exposure. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 9(2), 1-27. DOI: 10.1037/h0025848  

  • October 7, 2015
  • 01:28 AM
  • 1,206 views

Children as language brokers

by Ingrid Piller in Language on the Move

Some of the most striking images from the refugees who have been trekking across Europe are of families and children. Beyond the immediate perils of their journeys, migration inevitably changes families. As children are usually much quicker to learn new … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • September 22, 2015
  • 10:23 PM
  • 1,141 views

Who is a real refugee?

by Agnes Bodis in Language on the Move

The refugee crisis in Europe has caught a lot of global media attention. Countries at the entry points and their official actions, as well civil organizations, get a lot of attention in online media; furthermore, social media comments quite often … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • September 11, 2015
  • 11:04 AM
  • 729 views

You Are an Expert Tweeter

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish



Do you tweet formally for a wide audience (and use abbrevs 4 ur peeps)? You may not realize you're doing it. But a study of  hundreds of thousands of tweets showed that Twitter users subtly tailor their language based on who's reading.

Twitter "is a single platform that serves a huge range of communicative functions," says Jacob Eisenstein, who leads a computational linguistics lab at Georgia Tech. With the same 140-character messages, a user can participate in a mass social movement or........ Read more »

Pavalanathan, U., & Eisenstein, J. (2015) AUDIENCE-MODULATED VARIATION IN ONLINE SOCIAL MEDIA. American Speech, 90(2), 187-213. DOI: 10.1215/00031283-3130324  

  • September 10, 2015
  • 08:18 AM
  • 1,366 views

Bitter gifts: migrants’ exclusive inclusion

by Ingrid Piller in Language on the Move

My migration newsfeed in the past few weeks has been dominated by news about the Syrian refugee crisis and the various European and international responses. But there have also been two other noteworthy migration news: one relates to the changing … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • September 3, 2015
  • 09:28 PM
  • 1,062 views

Reproducibility project: A front row seat

by Dan Mirman in Minding the Brain

A recent paper in Science reports the results of a large-scale effort to test reproducibility in psychological science. The results have caused much discussion (as well they should) in both general public and science forums. I thought I would offer my perspective as the lead author of one of the studies that was included in the reproducibility analysis. I had heard about the project even before being contacted to participate and one of the things that appealed to me about it was that they were t........ Read more »

  • August 25, 2015
  • 07:58 PM
  • 1,035 views

Don’t know what “jurisdictional error” means? Some people’s future depends on it

by Laura Smith-Khan in Language on the Move

When people arrive in countries like Australia, seeking to be recognised as refugees and offered protection, it is obviously important that they are able to communicate their experiences and respond to any doubts the authorities may have about their claims. … Continue reading →... Read more »

Crock, M. . (2011) Immigration, Refugees and Forced Migration: Law, policy and practice in Australia. Annandale: The Federation Press. info:/

  • August 11, 2015
  • 09:50 PM
  • 1,271 views

Getting past the ‘indigenous’ vs. ‘immigrant’ language debate

by Dave Sayers in Language on the Move

“Indigenous languages” and “immigrant languages” are much discussed in language policy research, but surprisingly little time is spent actually defining those terms. In general, “indigenous” tends to encompass two features: a long heritage in a place; and some form of … Continue reading →... Read more »

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