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Blog Excerpts

Remembering the "Gear" Language of The Beatles

When the Beatles invaded America 50 years ago, it wasn't just their music and hairstyle that struck Americans as novel, but their Liverpudlian language as well. In his latest column for the Wall Street Journal, Ben Zimmer looks at how words like "gear" and "fab" emerged out of the Liverpool dialect known as Scouse. Read the column here.
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In just about every city, people repeat variations of the saying, "If you don't like the weather, wait an hour." And for good reason. Weather is an ever-changing — and, on our stressed-out globe — increasingly extreme phenomenon. Weather never stops: it just keeps shifting and mutating into something else. That sounds like another natural phenomenon I know: language.  Continue reading...
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The Plain Writing Act, which Congress passed into law in 2010, is well intentioned. Too much public writing — that includes government, business, and legal writing — is confusing and disorganized. But the law can't work, because language can't be legislated.  Continue reading...
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Last summer I wrote a lot about zombie rules, usage rules that really aren't rules but that we teach, follow, and pass along with little thought anyway. I have two more zombies to share with you, about using the verbs curate and reveal.  Continue reading...
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Welcome to another roundup of the euphemisms — new and old, fresh and stale, sweet and salty — that have lately come to my attention. I hope they tickle your funny bone and baffle your think bone.  Continue reading...
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If you read the Visual Thesaurus Word of the Day you know that it often explores word origins. Even without keeping count, you are probably vaguely aware that the language mentioned more often than any other besides English is Latin. Statistics about the English lexicon reflect this.  Continue reading...
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Blog Excerpts

Dog Blends, from Wienerhuahuas to Peekapoos

One of the commercials run during the Super Bowl this year was one from Audi featuring an imagined "Doberhuahua," a cross between a Doberman and a Chihuahua. But as VT contributor Mark Peters explained on OUPblog, real-life canine hybrids often have blended names that are just as fanciful, whether it's "wienerhuahua" or "peekapoo." Read Mark's blog post here.
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5 6 7 8 9 Displaying 43-49 of 763 Articles