Eli Fischer-Jørgensen (1911-2010)


Lingoblog continues to provide you with suggestions for your summer readings on various linguistic topics. This week we have found a biography of language researcher Eli Fischer-Jørgensen (1911-2010).

In January 1999, a few years after I had moved to Denmark, I was astounded to come across an interview in the Danish weekly Weekendavisen with the renowned Danish phonetician Eli Fischer- Jørgensen (henceforth EFJ) and marveled: She is still alive! Having made her name in publications as early as the first half of the past century, in the interview EFJ still appeared intellectually unabated, and full of new writing plans yet. She even remarked that she hoped soon to finish a major work on a special liturgic form of Danish!

In …

Phon-phon for phun

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You may have heard about an entity that exists at Aarhus University, titled Phon-phon for phun. What is it? Why is it? Should you care about it? Let me explain.

Phon-phon for phun stands for “Phonetics and phonology for fun” and is the unofficial but very commonly used name of one of the official research groups of interest to those who are associated with the programme of Language, Linguistics, Communication, and Cognition. The research group was initiated in spring 2017 and officially established as a research group in autumn 2017. We’ve got our own website, which you are very welcome to explore: https://soundsoflanguageandspeech.wordpress.com/

What is it we do, exactly? Well, we do all sorts of things because we’re interested …

Why are there so many different types of “R”?


One of the things that got us excited about linguistics back in the days wasn’t any kind of scientific holy grail, such as why only humans have language or whether we are born with an innate language faculty. It was something very simple, namely: why are there so many different types of “R”?

As a speaker of an Eastern-Dutch dialect, I (Jeroen) noticed I could never roll my R’s with the tip of my tongue like in Spanish or Italian. Rather, I roll my R’s with my uvula (the little “ball” in the back of your throat, see the picture below). Why, I wondered, do I roll my R’s in my throat, whereas most people in Amsterdam roll their R’s …