8 9 10 11 12 Displaying 64-70 of 777 Articles

After the Seattle Seahawks shellacked the Denver Broncos in the Super Bowl last night, the Seahawks players, coaches, and owners all made sure to thank "the twelfth man," as the team's boisterous fans have come to be collectively known. But the Seahawks only have the right to use that phrase because of a licensing agreement worked out with Texas A&M University, the trademark holders. Texas A&M claims the expression goes back to a legendary 1922 game, but its true history is far more complex.  Continue reading...
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Many paradoxes are tied up with language, specifically language's ability for self-reference. This self-reference causes a loop it can be difficult to get out of. Beyond creating paradoxes, it also raises the question of whether the individual sounds in words mean things.  Continue reading...
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The great folk-music pioneer Pete Seeger died on Monday at the age of 94. He's best known for such classics as "Where Have All the Flowers Gone?," "If I Had a Hammer," and "Turn, Turn, Turn!" But we're particularly fond of a song that he performed about the irrationality of the English language, "English is Cuh-Ray-Zee."  Continue reading...
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With the Super Bowl just around the corner, our own Ben Zimmer talked to Seattle's KUOW about the origins of some football language. Some of the terms, like "the 12th man" and "the Legion of Boom," have special resonance in Seattle, home of the Super Bowl-bound Seahawks.  Continue reading...
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Language writer Jen Doll takes on the phenomenon of linguistic "peeving" for the Atlantic and collects a list of "classics." See any you recognize?  Continue reading...
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In the spirit of New Year's resolutions like quit smoking, lose weight, exercise more, each January brings new calls to ban words, the linguistic equivalent of losing weight. But while New Year's resolutions are self-imposed — I decide that an hour on the elliptical watching Sherlock would be better than an hour on the couch with Sherlock and a bowl of chips — word bans tend to be imposed by someone else.  Continue reading...
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Blog Excerpts

The Best Punctuation Marks in Literature

On New York Magazine's Vulture blog, Kathryn Schulz has compiled what she considers the five best uses of punctuation in the history of literature. From the colon in Dickens's A Christmas Carol ("Marley was dead: to begin with") to the ellipses in T.S. Eliot's "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock," it's a fascinating list. Read it here.
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8 9 10 11 12 Displaying 64-70 of 777 Articles