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Blog Excerpts

Michael Jackson's Nonsense Chant

The world has lost Michael Jackson, but his music stays with us. On the linguistics blog Language Log, Visual Thesaurus editor Ben Zimmer uncovers the origins of Jackson's nonsensical chant, "Ma ma se, ma ma sa, ma ma coo sa," and Mark Liberman follows up with an analysis of the chant's linguistic accents and musical beats.
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Blog Excerpts

Mystery-y-ish-y!

Visual Thesaurus contributor Mark Peters writes: "After years of weird-word collecting, I'm pretty unfazed by words with multiple, redundant, exuberant suffixes... However, even I was gobsmacked out of my chair when I spotted mystery-y-ish-y." Read all about the suffix-y pileups Mark has found on OUPblog.
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Blog Excerpts

Most Looked-Up Words in the Times

The New York Times has been keeping track of the words that users of the Times website click on the most to look up definitions. The word with the most lookups in 2009 is the Latin term sui generis. Nieman Journalism Lab presents the words and crunches the numbers.
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Going Down a Bomb

If you were baffled by Scottish singing sensation Susan Boyle's use of the expression "going down a bomb," as discussed in this Word Routes column, then wonder no more. Lynne Murphy explains the idiom on her blog Separated by a Common Language. Lynne also makes sense of such Briticisms as "he looks a right twit" and "going down a treat."

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Wordgeddon!

Why say "blizzard" when you could say "snow-mageddon"? And why refer to the "swine flu outbreak" when you could say "a-pork-alypse"? Visual Thesaurus contributor Mark Peters considers some catastrophic coinages in his latest column for Good.
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Blog Excerpts

Know Your '90s Catchphrases

"Psyche!" "Don't go there!" "Take a chill pill!" "Not!" The Children of the '90s blog takes a loving look back at catchphrases that "enjoyed a substantial heyday before being put to rest for being insanely irritating."
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Blog Excerpts

Thesaurusi?

How do you pluralize the word "thesaurus"? Both "thesauruses" and "thesauri" are perfectly acceptable. But would you believe "thesaurusi"? It's rare, but it's out there. Brett Reynolds, professor of English at Humber College, investigates the pluralization error on his blog English, Jack.
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9 10 11 12 13 Displaying 71-77 of 204 Articles