The Best Language Website in the World

News junkies might start up their web browser day any number of ways. There are those who prefer the Post to the Times. Those with a business mind might start with the Journal. On the West Coast, there are those who swear by LA’s daily. I myself start with Slate.

However, I can state with little fear of correction, that the website of record for die-hard language buffs is the Language Log. The Language Log, I admit, is not for the faint of heart. The bloggers are linguists, and they like nothing better than parsing syntax. This is not William Safire.

What makes the Language Log great is that the writers really know what they are talking about. Growing up, I went to a chamber music camp several summers in a row (I played viola). One of my friends who attended the camp was a singer. One year, a violinist in her ensemble decided that, rather than play the violin part, she wanted do the voice part for one movement of a piece. I never heard them perform, but I am assured she was awful. My friend complained:

“If you haven’t studied the violin, you wouldn’t try to perform a difficult piece for an audience of trained musicians. You’d barely be able to get a single note in tune, and you’d know it. Everybody can open their mouths and make sound come out, which means they think they can sing.”

The world of language is afflicted with a similar problem. Everybody speaks a language, and many people believe they are experts in language (here, here, here). A great deal of what is written about language is embarrasing. To make matters worse, the field is packed with urban legends about all the (they have less than a half-dozen, approximately the same number as we have in English). Here is an urban legend the Language Log uncovered about the Irish not having a word for sex.

Language is one of the most complicated things in existence, and even the professionals understand remarkably little. The bloggers at the Language Log do a great job of giving even the casual reader a feel for what language is really about. They also spend a considerable portion of their time debunking fallacies and myths. If you read only one blog about language, LL would be my choice. If you read two, then you might consider reading my blog as well:)



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2 thoughts on “The Best Language Website in the World”

  1. Language is really intricate and complicated. There are hundreds of languages around the world and it’s great to know that we can still understand one another using the international language.

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