3 4 5 6 7 Displaying 29-35 of 82 Articles

Last week, in the first part of this series on buzzwords and catchphrases of the current political season, I looked at six words that caught the national attention, from brokered convention to grandiosity. Here, in alphabetical order, are another half dozen more that have crossed my political radar.  Continue reading...
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The U.S. presidential election is six months away, but the Republican debates and primary contests have already gone on for more than a year. The long campaign has meant plenty of exposure to that special genre of language known as political speech.  Continue reading...
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I consider myself a reasonably fluent speaker of Fashionspeak, a dialect distinguished by peculiar adjectives ("statement" necklace, "boyfriend" jacket), enigmatic abbreviations (boho, bodycon, cami), and a bullying use of the imperative mood ("must-have," "dos and don'ts"). Nevertheless, I sometimes find myself staring in puzzlement at a fashion headline, trying to decode an unlikely usage of a word I thought I knew. This season, that word is "tribal."  Continue reading...
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You've read the advice to writers: Strive for clarity! Make your meaning transparent! Your sentences should be lucid and understandable, your paragraphs logically constructed, your meaning readily accessible to your readers. Who could quarrel with that?  Continue reading...
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In honor of Valentine's Day, let's revisit one of the most famous couples in the love-story canon: Romeo and Juliet. Remember how the prologue to Shakespeare's play introduces them? "From forth the fatal loins of these two foes / A pair of star-cross'd lovers take their life."

Star-cross'd! Isn't it romantic?  Continue reading...
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Of all the orthographic garnishes to be found among American brands, the most popular by far is the umlaut, the double dot that's common in German, Turkish, Swedish, and Finnish — and nonexistent in English. We can't help wondering: What's üp with that?  Continue reading...
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It's high season for X-of-the-year lists, especially words of the year. I'll leave it to my fellow language observers to decide whether volatility, occupy, squeezed middle, tergiversate, or some other word best sums up the year's prevailing mood. For my part, I'm focusing on a different corner of the linguaverse: brand names of the year.  Continue reading...
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3 4 5 6 7 Displaying 29-35 of 82 Articles