3 4 5 6 7 Displaying 29-35 of 52 Articles

There's a federal law that defines writing. Because the meaning of the words in our laws isn't always clear, the very first of our federal laws, the Dictionary Act--the name for Title 1, Chapter 1, Section 1, of the U.S. Code--defines what some of the words in the rest of the Code mean, both to guide legal interpretation and to eliminate the need to explain those words each time they appear. Writing is one of the words it defines, but the definition needs an upgrade.  Continue reading...
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AT&T wants you to believe that corporations are people, just like you and me, and that just like us, they have a constitutional right to privacy. To prove it, AT&T says, just look at the law and the dictionary.  Continue reading...
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People judge you by the words you use. This warning, once the slogan of a vocabulary building course, is now the mantra of the new science of culturomics.  Continue reading...
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Last week, President Barack Obama sent Americans running to the dictionary when he called Democrats opposing his compromise on tax cuts "sanctimonious."  Continue reading...
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Last spring the New York Times reported that more and more grammar vigilantes are showing up on Twitter to police the typos and grammar mistakes that they find on users' tweets. According to the Times, the tweet police "see themselves as the guardians of an emerging behavior code: Twetiquette," and some of them go so far as to write algorithms that seek out tweets gone wrong.  Continue reading...
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The English language is full of paradoxes, like the fact that "literally" pretty much always means "figuratively. Other words mean their opposites as well — "scan" means both 'read closely' and 'skim.' "Restive" originally meant 'standing still' but now it often means 'antsy.' "Dust" can mean 'to sprinkle with dust' and 'to remove the dust from something.' "Oversight" means both looking closely at something and ignoring it. "Sanction" sometimes means 'forbid,' sometimes, 'allow.' And then there's "ravel," which means 'ravel, or tangle' as well as its opposite, 'unravel,' as when Macbeth evokes "Sleepe that knits up the rauel'd Sleeue of Care."  Continue reading...
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Apple's latest iPhone app will clean up your text messages and force you to brush up your French, or Spanish, or Japanese, all at the same time.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office recently approved patent 7,814,163, an Apple invention that can censor obscene or offensive words in text messages while doubling as a foreign-language tutor with the power to require, for example, "that a certain number of Spanish words per day be included in e-mails for a child learning Spanish."  Continue reading...
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3 4 5 6 7 Displaying 29-35 of 52 Articles