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Then sayde Nathan vnto Dauid: Thou art euen the man.

That’s from the Coverdale Bible, printed in 1535, the first Modern English translation of both testaments of the Bible.  As you can see, it’s not just Modern English but surprisingly Modern English.  At least, aside from the spelling convention that u and v were both written as v word-initially and u word-internally. And the use of thou art. Also, even doesn’t get used like that anymore (I believe it is supposed to mean “precisely” in this context). Okay, so there’s a lot of differences. But just try and tell me you’re not picturing Sean Connery right now, straight out of Finding Forrester, bellowing “THOU ART EVEN THE MAN NOW DOG“.  What, that scene’s not commandeering your mind right now?  How I envy you, then.

Anyway, I guess the big point here is that language often comes full circle; what is now known as slang was once used in the Bible, blah blah blah.  I’m sorry, I still have Sean Connery stuck on a loop in my head.

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A lot of people make claims about what "good English" is. Much of what they say is flim-flam, and this blog aims to set the record straight. Its goal is to explain the motivations behind the real grammar of English and to debunk ill-founded claims about what is grammatical and what isn't. Somehow, this was enough to garner a favorable mention in the Wall Street Journal.

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I'm Gabe Doyle, currently a postdoctoral scholar in the Language and Cognition Lab at Stanford University. Before that, I got a doctorate in linguistics from UC San Diego and a bachelor's in math from Princeton.

In my research, I look at how humans manage one of their greatest learning achievements: the acquisition of language. I build computational models of how people can learn language with cognitively-general processes and as few presuppositions as possible. Currently, I'm working on models for acquiring phonology and other constraint-based aspects of cognition.

I also examine how we can use large electronic resources, such as Twitter, to learn about how we speak to each other. Some of my recent work uses Twitter to map dialect regions in the United States.



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