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A New York Times article yesterday about Google Book Search features some research I did on the petulant phrase "You're not the boss of me!" This is an expression that many people suppose is rather recent — some might have first come across it in the past five or ten years, while others might fancy that this bit of kid-speak is restricted to their own family usage. But using Google Book Search, it's easy to find examples all the way back to 1883.  Continue reading...
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Everybody knows there are rules regarding punctuation. This article isn't about them.

I'm on a lot of e-mail lists; a great many people feel I should be kept abreast of developments at their companies, career milestones of the artists they represent, legislative or electoral triumphs and outrages, and too much more. And though I find some of the news they herald noteworthy, more often than not they compensate for mundane content with an inappropriate, nay, giddy level of enthusiasm. The primary means of expressing this overwrought intensity? The exclamation point.  Continue reading...
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I've always wanted to be a scientist. But in the early 1970s, the pull of the hippie movement was strong. After dropping out of the University of Michigan, I married a stoneware potter, and for several years my husband and I made our living traveling throughout Michigan and surrounding states selling his work at art shows.  Continue reading...
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In this anniversary edition of Language Lounge we return to the topic that started it all — sound symbolism — in our quest to learn the true meaning of /oi/.  Continue reading...
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