Sign languages are as expressive and systematic as spoken languages, and that includes taboo words. As Benjamin Bergen writes in What the F, ‘Signers use rules of grammar, some of them specific to profanity, just like speakers of spoken languages.’ There’s also great variation in how a given idea may be conveyed – not just between sign languages or their dialects but within them.
If Cory O’Brien’s terrific post on the middle finger in American Sign Language made you want to increase your rude repertoire in ASL, look no further. The video below features a host of signers demonstrating some favourite insults and profanities. It also shows how much fun swearing can be.
We’re pleased to introduce Strong Language readers to Anne Gilson LaLonde, the author of Gilson on Trademarks, a legal treatise on United States trademark law. Anne writes and speaks about many different aspects of trademark law, but this topic may well be her favorite.
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Under the federal trademark statute, trademarks that are found to be “scandalous” can’t be registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. While this doesn’t stop trademark owners from using these marks, they can’t rely on various legal advantages that come with federal registration.
Google Docs announced today that you can now create documents using your voice. And of course, like any good linguist, I immediately went to try to stump it. It’s pretty good, actually — it recognized both pronunciations of “gif” and “aunt” in the contexts “animated ___” and “uncle and ___” although it tended to assume that I might have the bit/bet merger, which I most emphatically do not, and thus presented me with a few transcriptions that felt like odd candidates to me.