6 7 8 9 10 Displaying 50-56 of 96 Articles

In his new book The Story of English in 100 Words, the absurdly prolific David Crystal provides a unique answer to a question he poses: "How can we tell the story of the English language?"  Continue reading...
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I can't get through a column without citing Green's Dictionary of Slang. This biggest-ever slang dictionary, edited by Jonathon Green and published last year, is my favorite book. Here's a bevy of dodges, evasions, and ludicrous turns of phrase I learned through Green's. They are a type of poetry: a poetry of poppycock.  Continue reading...
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Richard Bailey's Speaking American is one of those books I wish I could make every prescriptivist grouch in the world read. You know the type: the kind of misinformed peever who kvetches about "kids these days" and the language going to hell while yearning to preserve English, as if it were a precious vase a teenage texter might knock over while planking, shattering it forever and leaving us all mute.  Continue reading...
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Before pushing on with this month's batch of old and new euphemisms, I'd feel remiss if I didn't give my take on job creator, which the American Dialect Society voted 2011's Most Euphemistic term of the year.  Continue reading...
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My friend Laura knows four languages plus "bits and pieces" of six others. That's impressive, but it's not quite in the same league as folks who pick up languages the way George Clooney picks up starlets: with frightening ease. Unfortunately, there hasn't been a lot written, in academic or popular literature, on hyperpolyglots: people who know not just two or three languages, but six or ten or twenty.  Continue reading...
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Sadly, I won't be in Portland for the American Dialect Society's meeting, that annual gathering of learned lexicographers and amateur wordinistas. This is an outrage. What foul conspiracy of left-wing moonbats, right-wing wingnuts, and middle-wing batnuts conspired to keep me away?  Continue reading...
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When word nerdom and sci-fi nerdom collide, what do you get? A dictionary-bot that recites definitions while performing the duties of a butler? Someday, I hope that's true. For now, the answer is From Elvish to Klingon: Exploring Invented Languages: a thorough look at invented languages (also known as conlangs, short for constructed languages) from sci-fi and elsewhere.  Continue reading...

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6 7 8 9 10 Displaying 50-56 of 96 Articles