Blog Excerpts

Weird Al's "Word Crimes" Takes on Language Peeves

Weird Al Yankovic's "Word Crimes" video transforms Robin Thicke's scandalous "Blurred Lines" into a prescriptivist grammarian's screed. We think it's brilliant and are happy to see it getting much play in the language-loving community this week. Not since School House Rock's "Conjunction Junction" has a grammar lesson been this entertaining.

Bravo, Al! But one gentle word of correction: a linguist is not someone "you should help you distinguish what is proper English." Rather, a linguist's business is to study language without attempting to influence its evolution. Several linguists have mentioned this prescriptivist/descriptivist distinction in tweets about "Words Crimes," and in a post on Language Lounge, Ben Zimmer cites a few and speculates on which camp Weird Al falls into.

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Comments from our users:

Thursday July 17th 2014, 5:16 AM
Comment by: Adrian K.
Friday July 18th 2014, 4:38 PM
Comment by: Mary M. (Shelbyville, TX)
I think this is an excellent dramatization of a song. I like Robin Thick's song. I hum it in my head a lot. I think it needs to be used in classrooms. Kids would probably relate to it quickly and have fun doing it. I had fun watching it and I'm a senior citizen with the little child within - I love it. Anyway, I love words.
Saturday July 19th 2014, 12:11 PM
Comment by: The Dormouse Awakes (Austin, TX)
Weird Al deserves a MacArthur Fellowship!
Monday July 21st 2014, 9:38 AM
Comment by: Morgan D. (AL)
I have one word for Weird AL.....GENIUS!!!!!!
Tuesday July 22nd 2014, 11:05 PM
Comment by: RosieC
I wish there were more fun educational videos like this. Thanks Weird Al, pure gold!
Wednesday July 23rd 2014, 9:06 AM
Comment by: Ivan K. (NY)
Wisdom from Weird Al! What could be better than that?

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Our last Weird Al sighting.