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I have long been a bit disposed (and definitely not predisposed) to peeve about pre- words that don't really require pre-. Lately I have added a new peeve, actually a lexicographer's lament, about words that begin with the complementary prefix post-. These two prefixes share the quality of suggesting a timeline, and the problematic nature of both of them arises when the reader or listener isn't quite clear on where to land on that timeline, or what is happening there.  Continue reading...
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The 200th anniversary of astronomer Charles Messier's death is a great opportunity to gaze into the night sky and examine the curious patterns in the way we name faraway objects that were known to us for most of human history only by their luminous appearances.  Continue reading...
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A new uncertainty besets people about the quality of information presented to them, and if there was any expectation that the prevalence of prevarication from authorities would end when the 2016 presidential election season concluded, that expectation has not survived.  Continue reading...
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Just as enhanced is a term that attracts euphemisms like catnip attracts cats and cats attract YouTube views, alternative is no newcomer to the euphemism game.  Continue reading...
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Though I made a case for alt-right as 2016's Euphemism of the Year, the American Dialect Society went in another direction, those rascals! They selected locker-room talk, which is a pretty solid euphemism, though I'm not sure it made the top ten twaddlesome terms of 2016. This year is young, but there's already a candidate I suspect everyone and their uncle is going to support or at least suggest for 2017's euphemism of the year: alternative facts.  Continue reading...
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When I open an email that a spam filter has misdirected I'm rarely in doubt about whether it is or isn't spam, and the basis of my certainty is nearly always linguistic. For me, the reasons that spam fails so colossally to convince can be divided into two convenient categories of linguistic analysis: lexical and pragmatic.  Continue reading...
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At its annual meeting the American Dialect Society selected dumpster fire as its word of the year for 2016 and set a precedent by including an emoji in its announcement of the vote.  Continue reading...
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1 2 3 4 5 Displaying 8-14 of 868 Articles