3 4 5 6 7 Displaying 29-35 of 178 Articles

Earlier this week we featured an excerpt from the linguist John McWhorter's new book, What Language Is, in which he explains how the English language is essentially "disheveled." Here, in a second excerpt, McWhorter considers some questions that the chaotic history of English raises.  Continue reading...

In his new book, What Language Is, the linguist John McWhorter takes the reader on a guided tour of language as it really is, not how we might assume it to be. One of his keys to understanding language the way a linguist does is to appreciate that it is inherently messy, or "disheveled," as he puts it. In this excerpt, McWhorter uses the history of English as his example of just how disheveled language can be.  Continue reading...

In 2009, we had the pleasure of speaking with Roy Blount, Jr. on the occasion of the publication of Alphabet Juice, a compilation of his linguistic musings presented in dictionary style. Now he's back with the sequel, titled, naturally, Alphabetter Juice. Blount's wit is just as sharp in this followup, which he subtitles "The Joy of Text." Here are a few choice excerpts from the letter A.  Continue reading...

One of the great pleasures of Twitter is @FakeAPStylebook, which sends up the Associated Press Stylebook with hilariously terrible writing tips. Now the masterminds behind the tweets, known as The Bureau Chiefs, have a whole book of phony style advice: Write More Good. Here we present an excerpt adapted from their chapter on punctuation and grammar. Proceed with caution.  Continue reading...

The prolific British language writer, David Crystal, has produced another winner: A Little Book of Language (now out in paperback), which Publishers Weekly calls "the perfect primer for anyone interested in the subject." In this excerpt, Crystal explains how language changes, from vocabulary to grammar.  Continue reading...

The Pun Also Rises

John Pollack makes a case for the cultural significance of the lowly pun in his new book, The Pun Also Rises: How the Humble Pun Revolutionized Language, Changed History, and Made Wordplay More Than Some Antics. Pollack, a former presidential speechwriter, was also the winner of the 1995 O. Henry Pun-Off World Championships, in Austin, Texas. In this excerpt, Pollack describes the first round of the competition.  Continue reading...

Last week we presented an excerpt from Robert Lane Greene's fascinating new book, You Are What You Speak, tracing the origins of "language sticklers" back to the early days of English. In this second excerpt, Greene concludes his history of sticklerism with the recent success of the book Eats, Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Truss.  Continue reading...

3 4 5 6 7 Displaying 29-35 of 178 Articles