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Far from the Madding Gerund: And Other Dispatches from Language Log

3.93  ·  Rating Details ·  59 Ratings  ·  13 Reviews
Mark Liberman and Geoffrey K. Pullum have collected some of their most insightful and amusing material from Language Log, their popular web site. Often irreverent and hilarious, these brief essays take on many sacred cows, showing us--among many things--why Strunk & White is useless, how the College Board can't identify sentence errors in the SAT, and what makes Dan Br ...more
Paperback, 360 pages
Published April 30th 2006 by William James & Company
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Sep 09, 2007 Nat rated it really liked it
This is a collection of posts from the language log blog, run by a bunch of linguists who are advocates of the value of linguistics in general education, unrelenting critics of those who make up or misrepresent linguistic "facts", and opponents of linguistic prescriptivists (like David Foster Wallace). The authors display frightening erudition and their care for accurate representations of the way things are is inspiring.
Ivan Komarov
Feb 21, 2010 Ivan Komarov rated it liked it
This is a dead-tree version of the best posts from Language Log (I think it’s called a blook), in which Mark Liberman and Geoff Pullum do a great job explaining linguistic intricacies to the unwashed masses. The subjects they write on range from computational linguistics and theoretical grammar to eggcorns and usage patterns of the notorius word “like” in young Americans’ speech. Since LL is an informal blog written in an informal tone, the posts are not only enlightening, but amusing and entert ...more
Aug 08, 2011 Robotbee rated it really liked it
I wrote a paper for a linguistics class on language change, focusing on the phenomenon of eggcorns. I bought myself this book, mostly so I could have an actual text for my bibliography (we could use only a limited number of non-text or online-journal sites, although she later gave me approval to use sources like unorthodox online dictionaries, given my topic), but I ended up enjoying it for its own sake.

If you are a supercilious grammar nerd who takes pleasure in other people's displays of igno
Jun 08, 2008 Ron rated it it was amazing
For anyone that enjoys reading about Language, this book contains a series of entries from the Language Log blog: The book ends on a high note, criticizing the writing ability of Dan Brown, author of The DaVinci Code. I had a similar feeling reading Dan's books, and enjoyed reading my thoughts on paper written by another person.

This is one of my favorite books I have ever read. However, if I had found the Language Log blog earlier, I wouldn't have neede
Mark Flowers
Aug 18, 2009 Mark Flowers rated it it was amazing
Because I'm a total nerd, my favorite blog in the world is Language Log (, a blog about language, linguistics, and related issues. This book is a compilation of posts by the two main bloggers for Language Log, Mark Liberman and Geoff Pullum. Their take on language is totally refreshing and descriptivist (none of that Eats, Shoots, and Leaves crap) and if you give them a little time it'll change your worldview not just on language but a whole host of socio-cu ...more
Jul 16, 2007 Ben rated it liked it
Recommends it for: english geeks
This book is just a collection of blog posts from Language Log. It is fun to read, but it's not going to give you any amazing new insight into, well, much of anything. If you're interested in the English language, this is good bathroom reading material. It deals with topics ranging from grammar to sociolinguistics to computational linguistics -- but it is all written on a very accessible level.
Jul 07, 2016 Weirleader rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2014
Don't remember when, exactly, I read this, but it's a lot of fun for somebody who enjoys discussions of grammar and word usage. If that sounds geeky, well... sorry. I've always enjoyed discussions about language. It amounts to a bunch of collected blog posts, organized thematically. So it's easy to dip into for a bit when you have time -- no long, deep reading required.
Jun 04, 2007 Kate rated it liked it
Good in small doses. I enjoyed contemplating what constitutes "proper" use of language, and possibly having something to back up some of my suspicions, but after a while it's just one rant after another.
Aug 21, 2012 Sally rated it liked it
Shelves: not-gonna-finish
I love linguistics in the global sense; this is more an examination of the nuances of English. This is a good book, it's just really difficult to read for any length of time before your eyes glaze over and you begin to drool due to cerebral overload.
Jan 22, 2008 Jenn rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
slowly, slowly working my way through the posts from the Language Log
Jul 26, 2012 Spencer rated it really liked it
Interesting and entertaining, at least as a language geek. This is a collection of posts for the language log blog, so you can read them online and decide if you would want to read them in book form.
Jul 20, 2007 Jonathan rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Your Mom
The best language log blog posts. Very funny and illuminating. I gave this to my Mom and she really liked it.
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