double entendre

I was just thinking about using this picture as an illustration for pijpen. But then I realised the image itself was already too equivocal to accompany a text about ambiguities in language. Not only is there the misspelling ‘dentention’, but most of all there is this marvellous ambiguity about closing prisons, jails and detention centres as an effort to prevent the spread of Covid-19. Well … I guess the intentions were good.

son – bruit – rumeur

Le 7 novembre 1922 eut lieu à Bakou, en Azerbaïdjan, la première intégrale de la Symphonie des sirènes d’Arseny Avraamov – pas dans une salle de concert, mais en plein air, au milieu du port. En effet, les instruments dont se servit le compositeur inclurent plusieurs chœurs, les sirènes de l’entière flotte Caspienne, des régiments… Lire la suite son – bruit – rumeur


In so many different languages people say AMEN to conclude a prayer or to confirm what has just been stated. ‘That’s how it will be, full stop, amen, finished!’ US Representative Emanuel Cleaver (Dem.) however has recently discovered a new connotation in this centuries old term: it is an offence against gender neutrality. Last Sunday,… Lire la suite discrimination

a long goodbye

Jan Blommaert is saying farewell to life. And as far as his public life is concerned, he does so in the way people have got to know him: astute, critical and engaged in the world around him, but not without questioning his own position in it. Jan Blommaert has always been an inspiring researcher and… Lire la suite a long goodbye

meta meta meta meta meta

“… the importance of the communicative context in the negotiation of the conditions through which truth is constructed, …” A quotation from a fascinating study by Marco Jacquemet, Credibility in court – Communicative practices in the Camorra trials (1996). It's in a paragraph on ‘Metapragmatics in court’ that the author formulates this sentence on truth.… Lire la suite meta meta meta meta meta


Lange tijd heb ik gedacht dat de Engelse term pacification in zwang kwam rond 1970, als een nog cynischer variant van ‘vredesproces’ – zoals in: het vredesproces tussen Israël en de Palestijnen. Het was de periode toen duidelijk werd dat de Verenigde Staten de oorlog in Vietnam militair niet zouden winnen. Pacificatie werd het nieuwe… Lire la suite pacificatie