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Blog Excerpts

Pronouncing the World's Words

Forvo is a new website where you can find a huge array of words pronounced in their original languages. Native speakers can upload their own pronunciations — it's "crowdsourcing" at its best.
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If you've been keeping up with the news about the Obama transition, you might have noticed an awful lot of "czar" talk. From "health czar" to "climate czar" to "urban affairs czar" to "technology czar" to "copyright czar," it seems like there's a czarship for every policy area in the new administration. And even though the proposal for a "car czar" stalled on Capitol Hill, expect that pirate-friendly rhyme to make headlines again in 2009.  Continue reading...
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When I'm feeling stuck on a naming project, I like to remind myself of brand names' myriad and diverse genealogies. Companies have been named for their founders (L.L. Bean), products for their founders' daughters (Mercedes-Benz). Trademarks have been created from street names and star names, numbers and neologisms, contemporary slang and archaic vocabulary.  Continue reading...
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Blog Du Jour

RIP, Harold Pinter

The world has lost Nobel-winning playwright Harold Pinter, a master of language and silence. Bloggers remember.

Theater Loop

Parabasis

OC Register: The Arts

Mental Floss

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Happy holidays from everyone at the Visual Thesaurus. This month we've got a puzzle in the holiday spirit. Solve it and you could win a Visual Thesaurus T-shirt!  Continue reading...
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Dog Eared

Books we love

Modern Christmas Classics

We've come a long way from the days of Dickens and Clement C. Moore. Here are new classics in the Yuletide tradition.

Holidays on Ice

The Stupidest Angel

A Christmas Story

The Christmas Chronicles

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Fred R. Shapiro, the editor of The Yale Book of Quotations, is constantly on the lookout for new quotations that might make the cut for the next edition of his authoritative (and entertaining) quotation dictionary. Below, find out what he thinks are the top ten quotations of 2008.  Continue reading...
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