Infix this

I just became aware of Indistinguishable from Jesse, the blog of a Computer Science & Engineering grad student here at UCSD. One of Jesse’s many categories is about linguistics (“Indistinguishable from English“), and one of his posts in this category from earlier this year was about expletive infixation. Jesse asks:

Poll (pick one): Un-fucking-believable or Unbe-fucking-lievable?

I was about to pick the second — I tend to prefer the phonologically-defined condition to the morphologically-defined one — until I saw one of the last comments on the post.

I vote for “unbelievingly-fuck-able”.

That one wins, hands down.

In the very last comment, Jesse provides a link to a JSTOR copy of John McCarthy‘s 1982 Language paper on expletive infixation, but I recommend getting it from John’s research page instead — you’ll find much of John’s other older work there, too, in (somewhat) searchable form, as John explains:

About the scans: Scanned files linked below are in the Adobe Acrobat format called ‘Original Image with Hidden Text’. What you see is a graphical image of the original page, including any extraneous marks and with margins cropped away to save space. This image can be printed, but it cannot be edited or cut-and-pasted. Acrobat’s OCR engine has been applied to the image to create the hidden text. This text is used when you search the file, but it is otherwise unavailable to you. Searches are not 100% reliable; they are only as good as the OCR engine and the quality of the original image. And because these files contain a lot of image data, they are significantly larger than typical Acrobat files, on the order of 3-20 megabytes.

As I mentioned in my previous post, I wish more people would do useful stuff like this.

One thought on “Infix this

  1. The Tensor

    I noticed a while ago that Amazon’s “Search Inside” feature is (at least sometimes) augmented by OCR of the text in images. Try searching inside this Star Wars comic book for “Luke”, for example. It’s a pretty nifty feature. I agree that it would be great if more of the Acrobat versions of scanned journal articles were annotated for searching in this way.

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