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Ever wonder how the food terms macaroon
are related? It turns out that all three are "rooted in the great meetings of the Islamic and Christian culinary traditions in the Middle Ages." Read all about it on The Language of Food, Dan Jurafsky's wonderfully nuanced blog, here
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Lisa McLendon, a copy editor for The Wichita Eagle who maintains the Grammar Monkeys blog, recently fielded a complaint from a reader about how the newspaper had used the verb "rise" in a headline. This led her down the path of documenting "nutty non-rules of grammar" that people often hold on to, despite appeals to common sense.
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The truth is no one really knows when the great bard was born, but Shakespeare's fans celebrate his life and work on April 23rd (ironically, the date of his death). Join us in paying homage to Shakespeare this week by using the Visual Thesaurus to get to the heart of some of his more famous puns.
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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.
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What's not to like about a big, roomy vehicle that can carry the kids, the dog, the groceries, and a team's worth of soccer equipment? Plenty not to like, as it turns out — if you call that vehicle a minivan
, a word that's become burdened by associations with boring family life in the suburbs.