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Blog Excerpts

One Troop, Many Troops

As Veterans Day is observed in the United States, a question of military usage continues to pose a puzzle: if "50,000 troops" refers to 50,000 people, then does "one troop" refer to one person? Linguist Neal Whitman looked into the matter on Veterans Day in 2009. Check out his column here.
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Verizon offers "Even faster FiOS Quantum Internet" speeds. Duracell has a new Quantum alkaline battery. James Bond had his Quantum of Solace. Any number of companies have "quantum" in their names as well. The implication is that "quantum" is something big and powerful, with a hint of science behind it.  Continue reading...
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It's almost Euphemism of the Year time, and whoa nelly, do I have a contender: sluggish cognitive tempo. As Peter Aldhous notes in Slate, "The name of a 'new attention disorder' sounds like an Onion-style parody. It also sounds like a classic case of disease mongering: blurring normality with sickness to boost drug companies' bottom lines."  Continue reading...
Fun
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Oversight has two rather contrasting meanings. There's oversight-1: "an unintentional omission resulting from failure to notice something"—something you generally want to avoid. And there's oversight-2: "management by overseeing the performance or operation of a person or group"—something that in a perfect world would happen all the time, and would ideally prevent a lot of oversight-1s from happening. Why use the same word to designate such contrasting things?  Continue reading...
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Here's the latest in our series of quick tips on usage and style shared by Mignon Fogarty, better known as Grammar Girl. Mignon points out a common confusion that might leave you star-crossed.  Continue reading...
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Ripped. Slapped. Poked. Swatted. If you've been watching the World Series, you've probably heard some of these verbs for hitting a baseball. Sports can involve a lot of repetition, so to make it different and exciting, sportscasters often use a wide variety of terms to describe the action. It is this variety that makes sports lingo an interesting object of study.  Continue reading...
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Blog Excerpts

Ben Zimmer Wins LSA's Linguistics Journalism Award

The Linguistic Society of America today named Vocabulary.com-Visual Thesaurus Executive Producer Ben Zimmer as the first recipient of the Linguistics Journalism Award. The award honors "the journalist whose work best represents linguistics" during the past 12 months. In addition to his stellar work on Vocabulary.com and the Visual Thesaurus, the LSA singled out Zimmer's language column in the Wall Street Journal, as well as "articles on linguistic topics for the Boston Globe, The Atlantic, Slate's 'Lexicon Valley' blog, and Language Log."
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1 2 3 4 5 Displaying 8-14 of 194 Articles