Thursday, July 29, 2010

metalinguistically unpossible

Nate Silver uses the amusing term "unpossible" in this post: It's Like Mathematically Unpossible for Republicans to Win the House, or Something. There are a few Urban Dictionary definitions, such as Even more impossible than impossible. Quite possibly the most impossiblest thing in the world. All three of the examples given seem to be pretty meta-linguistic (in the sense that the speakers are likely aware of the semantic contradictions within the word and are intentionally employing the contradictions for effect; call it Seinfeld Semantics).

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NLPers: How would you characterize your linguistics background?

That was the poll question my hero Professor Emily Bender posed on Twitter March 30th. 573 tweets later, a truly epic thread had been cre...