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In this month's Language Lounge, we explore one of the most curious corners of contemporary consumer culture: the litany of side effects in commercials for prescription drugs, in which sometimes horrifying conditions are narrated over pleasing images. Warning: May cause unsettling contemplation.  Continue reading...
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A recent New York Times article reports that the Philippines has now overtaken India as the hub of the outsourced call center. The article contains a telling characterization of the Philippines as "a former United States colony that has a large population of young people who speak lightly accented English and, unlike many Indians, are steeped in American culture."  Continue reading...
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The Internet makes it possible to publish dictionaries containing entries of any length, in any format, that are not necessarily subject to traditional rules or conventions. So it's fair to ask: is abandoning the traditional short-form definition, along with the paper it was once printed on, a case of throwing out the baby with the bathwater? Or is it a good opportunity to reinvent lexicography?  Continue reading...
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Words step outside of their borders all the time; and once they are in new territory, they rarely follow the rules that bound them in their original context. As time passes, they can become complete strangers to their original users, and may even be seen as betraying them.  Continue reading...
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The idea of the "elevator talk" is that you only have the duration of an elevator ride to get your idea across, so you have to strip it to its essentials. Starting long before this idea came along, however, organizations and institutions have striven to encapsulate their essence even more succinctly, in a short form of expression called a "motto."  Continue reading...
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If we divide up the short list of English parts of speech according to status, adjectives are at the top of the B-list. The elites, nouns and verbs, seem to get everyone's attention because without them, sentences wouldn't have a job.  Continue reading...
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English is not long on productive verb-creating affixes — things you can tack onto or tuck into words at will to make entirely new verbs and get away with it — so it's worth celebrating one of the few that have a proven track record: the suffix -ize. -Ize allows you to neologize when the occasion calls for it, in a way that very few other English affixes do.  Continue reading...
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3 4 5 6 7 Displaying 29-35 of 116 Articles