Linguistics & Cognoïntellectualism

Affischering Förbjuden
Hall of Fame

From the San Jose Mercury News police blotter of March 5th, 2013:


1163 San Carlos Ave., 2:04 p.m. Friday A man who ran up a $70 food tab at Sneaker’s Restaurant and then out the door afterward without paying, was located and arrested on Elm and Cherry street. Further investigation revealed the man was on parole in Marin County.

(They call that “WTF coordination” over at Language Log.)

Miscellaneous links

GKP explains rules regarding who/whom
GKP explains generative grammars using xkcd #1129, Cell Numbers

Jules Levin teaches Cyrillic.

Paul Joyce’s guide to German pronunciation.

The Duck Collection




"Rubber Duck"
Rubber Duck
  • “Does a one-legged duck swim in circles?” —Rhodri Morgan, 1998 winner of the Foot in Mouth Award
Ducks. In a row.
  • “For some, social life is centered on Prospect Avenue, where “Princeton’s eating clubs are lined up like ten booze-soaked ducklings in a row.”” —The Princeton Review, The Best 376 Colleges, 2012 ed., entry “Princeton University”
  • “Colourless green ideas sleep furiously. Of what do they dream? A smoking duck that walks and quacks like the Higgs.”—Rube, in the comments to this Language Log post, of equal amazement
  • If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, maybe it’s Schrödinger’s duck? —Ars Technica
  • “[I] screwed the duck” —CNN, quoting (incorrectly) Barack Obama, 2013–12–20
  • “What the ever living duck did I just read?” reddit, 2014-02-14
  • “I’m going to make you hurt like the ducks.” The Boston Globe, “Demise of 5 cherished ducks brings a trail of human turmoil”, 2014-04-26
  • A tomato duck. Or is it a duck tomato?
  • “it is a sign of just how fast the duck feet are paddling under the surface of the water.” The Economist (Schumpeter blog), 2014-05-16
  • “Is a chicken a duck if you call it a duck?”—from Yahoo Answers; posted to reddit 2014-06-13
Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, described in the press as “The Rubber Duck Comet”. Why specifically rubber, I don’t know. Surely it’s more of a rock/ice duck….
Joined ducks
From the The Lewis K. and Elizabeth M. Land Collection at the de Young Museum, San Francisco.
“Joined ducks [and apparently, a pipe sticking out their collective rear —cl] West Mexico, Colima
300 B.C.–A.D. 300
Duck in White Blood Cell
Duck in white blood cell. (via Reddit)
A small part of xkcd 1416, “Pixels”.
"The Fire-Breathing Rubber Duckies"
“The Fire-Breathing Rubber Duckies”


Christmas duck. Source:
Christmas duck. Source:

The Cognoīntellectualist Dictionary

A lexicographic collaboration of Gunn Linguistics and the Gunn Cognoīntellectualist Society

a thing, s.  Given the frequency with which this phrase is used, one might think it entirely unnecessary to include it in this list, except I have combed several dictionaries both formal and informal, and they all seem to think that this usage is… not a thing.
ground truth, s. [esp. meteorology] observations made directly at the source, rather than via remote means. Under no circumstances to be confused with facts on the ground, which means something entirely different.
healthy-duck, a. opposite of lame-duck [The Economist, Nov 14, 2014]
avi, s. abbreviation of avatar (i.e., profile picture)
qurl, s. [from gurl] (internet slang) alternate spelling of girl. (Yes, that is a Q. No, it is not pronounced /k/.)
carnism, s. [see generally, here] the opposite of veganism. “The invisible belief system, or ideology, that conditions people to eat certain animals.”—
juvenequinallian, a. [ex nihilo by Ken White of Popehat, here] something about ponies, I think?
scrooble, s. [apparently created ex nihilo here] the part of a bendable straw that bends. Not to be confused with scrobble, which has to do with internet music.
demitarian, s. [from Gk. demi-, “half”, seevegetarian] one who pledges to cut their meat consumption in half (cit. Guardian, quoting coiner as Mark Sutton)
Palo Altoid, s. Palo Altan (cit. twitter 1, 2). Police chief has never heard it, but commented, “Minty and spicy!”. Citation (2) claims it is used by relatives in Chicago.
Calvinist, s. a disciple of Calvin (of Calvin and Hobbes); specifically, one who arbitrarily changes the rules to his own benefit, especially in the middle of the game. see Calvinball (cit. Krugman, citing Konczal 2011). Not to be confused with Calvinist, a follower of the teachings of Reformation figure John Calvin.
incestuous amplification, s. “when a closed group of people repeat the same things to each other – and when accepting the group’s preconceptions itself becomes a necessary ticket to being in the in-group” (Krugman) see epistemic bubble/closure
“A fundamentally flawed notion – say, that the Germans can’t possibly attack though the Ardennes – becomes part of what everyone knows, where “everyone” means by definition only people who accept the flawed notion.”
tho~, a. (internet slang) general sentence-final intensifier. No semantic meaning that I can distinguish. ·~ may or may not be optional—function unknown. Sometimes phonetically re-interpreted as doe. ref. See also qurl.
real person, s. (college) a non-student or a graduate. (cit. TenerenceLove on reddit, 2012-10-25:
fruit salad, s. (mathematics) the incorrect addition of dissimilar terms, i.e. “adding apples and oranges”. (cit. Dunbar, 2012-10-24)
smuggish, a. [smug + -ish] somewhat smug (cit. Izabella Kaminska of FT Alphaville, 2012-10-11. h/t Krugman)
Joe job, s. [from Joe, “everyman” + job] a low-paying service job, characterized by a uniform consisting of a shirt with the employee’s name embroidered on it. (cit. Dr. Hébert, 2012-10-11)

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