12 April 2006

one year of piloklok

Today marks one year of piloklok, which is a fine excuse for taking stock and reflecting upon the paths it’s taken. Piloklok is one of a roll call of language blogs, many of which are linked from this page, and many of which have started to link back. So to begin, many thanks to all my mutual linkers!

The first post on piloklok is a little brief; basically it says “this is a new language blog; what should I call it?”. A minor change of mind that occurred after I set up a blogspot account resulted in the discrepancy between the blog’s name (piloklok) and its url (biloklok.blogspot.com). So far this discrepancy has not posed a problem, and probably never will.

I became involved in linguablogging, nearly a year before starting this site, as a contributor to Eric Bakovic’s phonoloblog, a forum whose mission is to enable linguistic discussion in the blog medium, so long as the topic is phonological in nature. Generally I followed these guidelines, but I occasionally found myself wanting to post about something linguistic but not-so-phonological (or in some cases, not phonological at all). It was the growing lack of fit between some of those posts and the “all things phonology” component of phonoloblog that led to the creation of piloklok.

Several aspects of phonoloblog are notable: its contributors use no pseudonyms, and many are at a career stage of trying to build a strong CV. The same applies to the solitary contributor to piloklok. As a result, I avoid putting truly serious scholarly content on either site, because I’d rather submit it for formal blind review. This leaves less potential content to write up for either phonoloblog or piloklok, and has led me to construct posts about the speech errors produced by reality TV contestants and nativization of Russian last names by English-speaking broadcasters. Basically, phenomena that might be worth bringing to the attention of other linguists, in some cases simply for amusement, but which otherwise probably would not be worth trying to develop into a scholarly reviewed publication. Still, I believe that since piloklok started, my subsequent posts on phonoloblog have returned to more serious phonological content.

In the meantime, a lot of what grabs space on piloklok has fallen within what you might call “the linguistics of sports”. So much so that this Yahoo directory of language and linguistics blogs describes piloklok as “a Blog investigating linguistics, modern language use, and lexical oddities in sport, from a researcher in Santa Barbara, California”. This post might be my most detailed discussion of sports writing.

A particular recurring theme has been what I’ve called lexical crossover – usages like home run in football and quarterback in hockey. One spooky result of this line of research is my realization that ace (as in skilled player of any sport) and point man (as in power-play defenseman in ice hockey) have non-sport origins that both refer to the head of a cavalry or column of troops.

Nevertheless, not everything on piloklok has been about the linguistics of sports. Some other favourites of mine include a discussion of the cran-morph kini, a taxonomy of nicknames for cities and states, my tongue-in-cheek defense of the Morissette song Ironic, and my one snowclone scoop.

I also have assembled a lengthy list of posts I either failed to finish or decided not to publish, including the following:
  • a laudation of Douglas Coupland’s recent coffee-table book “Souvenir of Canada”, which mentions the Inuit at least three times but never ever invokes anything regarding words for snow
  • a diatribe about baseless prescriptivism in The Vocabula Review
  • a brief writeup regarding the definition of planet
  • an unfavourable review of the parody usage guide Eats, shites, and leaves.
I think in the future I will probably keep up with the sports linguistics, like this recent treatment, and maybe I'll post another cartoon. I may also embark upon a lengthy discussion of the parallels of linguistic analysis in the sociological and behavioral structure of certain licensed establishments, with topics like “prescriptivism in wine selection”, “cocktail morphology”, “shooters and the lexicon”, and “kitchen pidgin”. We’ll see.


At Wed Apr 12, 04:36:00 PM 2006, Blogger Bridget said...

Happy blogiversary!

At Thu Apr 13, 02:26:00 PM 2006, Blogger Bob Kennedy said...

Thank you!


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