Congratulations Language Log

This is a nice story. The latest issue of Southwest Airlines’ inflight magazine features some recommended diversions. They include the usual summer books, movies and music, and a plug for Language Log as blog reading. Academic blogs have come a long way if they’re being recommended in inflight magazines. Now we only have to get them to be promoting other academic blogs the same way.

I’ve been seeing a lot of references to Language Log around the web recently, particularly to their prescriptivist-bashing posts. I particularly liked this attack on the alleged rules for using less and fewer, complete with examples from King Alfred’s Latin translations. It’s an example of how academic blogs can make an impact on public life not by dumbing down their work, or by stretching to find alleged applications, but simply by setting out their work in a clear and accessible way. Or, to bring things back to a favourite theme of mine, of why academics should get credit for successful blogs not necessarily as examples of research, but as examples of service to the community. Now giving people diversions alongside summer blockbusters isn’t quite the same kind of service as solving their medical or social problems, but it is a service, and a praiseworthy one.

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