Fred R. Shapiro, the editor of The Yale Book of Quotations
, is constantly on the lookout for new quotations that might make the cut for the next edition of his authoritative quotation dictionary. Below, find out what he thinks are the top ten quotations of 2011.
I've been coaching a team of three eighth-grade girls for the North American Computational Linguistics Olympiad, as one of the co-curricular clubs that are offered at my sons' school. We've been having fun working what amounts to logic puzzles with a linguistic slant, and I've been introducing various linguistic concepts as they become relevant. A few weeks ago, as we worked our way through a puzzle whose solution depended on recognizing the length of a syllable, I decided it would be useful for the team to know the word diphthong
The word hybrid
(from Latin hybrida
, "mongrel") commonly refers to animals and plants of mixed lineage, and more recently to vehicles with two or more power sources. In linguistic morphology, it refers to a word formed by combining elements that originated in two or more languages. The process is called hybridization
Earlier this month, the Earth's population passed seven billion. During the summer, the United States' national debt (at least the official debt as calculated by the U.S. Treasury) hit $14 trillion. And in a joke that's been going around for about a decade, various people, including blondes, Texas Aggies, violinists, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama, have learned of the death of several Brazilian skydivers (or Brazilian soldiers in Iraq) and wondered, "How many is a Brazilian?"
As most histories of Halloween will tell you, Hallowe'en
) is a shortened version of All-Hallow(s)-Eve
, but how and why did eve
turn into e'en
? For that matter, what is a hallow? Why did the all
The terrorist attacks on 9/11 happened ten years ago, and although everybody remembers what they were doing at that flashbulb moment, and many aspects of our lives were changed by those attacks, from traveling to shopping to going online, one thing stands out: the only significant impact that 9/11 has had on the English language is 9/11
The movies have me in a venge
-ful mood these days. Among the surfeit of superhero movies this summer there was Captain America: The First Avenger
. This movie, along with Thor
and last summer's Iron Man 2
, is a prelude to next summer's The Avengers
, showcasing the Marvel superhero team that features these characters.