Stanford Linguistics
A Stanford Linguistics 
       department        contribute       

Department News

  • Look Who's Talking

    • Ivan Sag is giving a talk today at the University of Washington called `Reflections on Competence and Performance'. He's also taking part in a Graduate Student Syntax Roundtable where the topic of discussion will be Ivan and Tom Wasow's forthcoming paper `Performance-Compatible Competence Grammar'.

  • Stanford Blood Center: Shortage of O-, A-, B-, B+ and AB-. For an appointment: or call 650-723-7831. It only takes an hour of your time and you get free cookies.


Caught in the Act


After extensive research, the latest issue of the New Yorker magazine reveals the truth about language evolution.


Linguistic Levity

Today's Daffynitions

  • Vacuum Cleaner: A weapon of mess destruction (wordfoolery)
  • Cockney: To bend the leg joint; also a condition in which your leg joint resembles that of a rooster (Cynthia MacGregor)
  • Accrue : People who work on a ship . (Gunjan Saraf) .
  • Saab: An auto that cries real tears. (Cynthia MacGregor)
  • Hearsay: What small children do when you mutter a dirty word. (Stan Kegel)
  • Damnation: A country dependent on hydroelectricity. (Tim Breuning)
  • Cement: What the woman intended to say (Cynthia MacGregor)
  • Gentile: Ceramic squares in the men's shower rooms (Stan Kegel)
  • Insane: Swimming in the river in Paris
  • Homogenous: A brilliant gay (Stan Kegel)
  • Free will: what a lawyer writes up for you without charge. (Doug Drill)
  • Flycatcher: Zipper (Stan Kegel)
  • Robust: Ancient torturous method of propelling a boat by leaning overboard and moving your bosom through the water. (Cynthia MacGregor)
  • Coincide: What you do when it starts to rain.. (Paul Dickson)
  • Advil: experimental community where residents pay no property taxes, but every square inch of sidewalk and wall space is filled with billboards and other commercial come-ons. (Washington Post)
  • Horse sense: A sure sign of a stable mind. (Very Punny)
  • Boxer Shorts: Film clips of famous pugilists. (Joseph Leff)
  • Urinal: The one place where all men are peers. (Dan & Paula)
  • Bobby Socks: What British policemen wear on their feet. (Joseph Leff)
  • Advice: Phone book pages for massage parlors and escort services. (Stan Kegel)
  • Bathing Suit: A female garment cut to see level. (Sandy Sibert)
  • Formally Attired: Your condition after waking up from a nap. (Gary Hallock)
  • George Washington Carver: The man who performed the autopsy on the first President of the U.S.A. (Judy K.)
  • Jail: Arrest home. (Gail S. Angel)



  • Friday, 25 May
  • Monday, 28 May
    • University Holiday

  • Tuesday, 29 May
    • Syntax Workshop

      17:30pm in MJH 126
    • Tatiana Nikitina (Stanford)
      The Mixing of Syntactic Properties and Language Change
      (Dissertation Proposal Talk)

  • Wednesday, 30 May

  • Thursday, 31 May
    • CSLI CogLunch

      12:00 in Cordura Hall 100

      Idriss Aberkane (Ecole Normale Superieure)
      Kinesthesia and Cognition: Towards the Merleau-Pontian Universes

  • Friday, 1 June
    • Linguistics Honors Colloquium

      15:30 in MJH 126

    • Weekly Social

      17:00 in the department lounge. Gourmet delights from the Social Committee!.



  • END OF THE YEAR PARTY is Saturday, June 9. Live Music by Creole Formation and Dead Tongues!Nobody will want to miss it.
  • For local linguistic events, always consult the Department's event page, available RIGHT HERE

  • Got broader interests? The New Sesquipedalian recommends reading or even subscribing to the CSLI Calendar, available HERE.

  • What's happening at UC Santa Cruz? Find out HERE.

  • What's going on at UC Berkeley? Check it out HERE.


Want to contribute information? Want to be a reporter? Want to see something appear here regularly? Want to be a regular columnist? Want to take over running the entire operation? Contribute something at the top of this page or write directly to


May 25, 2007
Vol. 3, Issue 29

This Issue's Sesquipedalian Staff

Editor in Chief:
Ivan A. Sag

Associate Edior:
Scott Grimm

Design and Production Consultant:
Philip Hofmeister

Contributing Humor Editor:
Susan D. Fischer

Tom Wasow

Paul Kay

Newsletter Committee: Scott Grimm, Graham Katz, Ani Nenkova

Melanie Levin and Kyle Wohlmut