Tuesday, December 30, 2008


I just read Language Log's posting about Illinois's Governor Blagojevich (sometimes I wish people who don't live in Illinois would leave us alone, but that's another story), and I was very impressed at the linguistic analysis Roger Shuy wrote of the tapes that the prosecutor has against the governor. At first I wondered why Language Log was posting about a political issue, but then they brought up excellent points about how to analyze those tapes.

While I am not fan of Blagojevich, believe me, I am a fan of being considered innocent until one is found guilty. Americans seem to have forgotten that, ever since the OJ Simpson trial. When you read Roger Shuy's post there, you see that there are many linguistic nuances in those tapes. For instance, he writes: "Are feedback markers, like 'uh-huh' and 'okay' treated as agreements rather than as indicators that the speaker is simply uttering noises that tell the speaker to keep talking?"

Blago's lawyer should hire a linguist.

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