Browsing Month April, 2007

What Most People Are Doing on Twitter

Problem spelled as “promblem”

Looks like Namibian Otjiherero-speakers aren’t the only ones who misspell problem and promblem.

Sweden, too, furrows its brow over foreignisms in its language

Swedish fights rearguard action against English behemoth. “In 2006, the Academy’s dictionary (ordlista) was updated for the thirteenth time with the inclusion of guzz, (meaning ‘girl’ in Turkish) and keff, (meaning ‘bad’ in Arabic). But what, perhaps, is more interesting is that aftershave, new age, pep talk, sexist, touch and queer made it through, among more…

A Finely Crafted Run-On Sentence

Someone whose name I believe is Jenny writes in the blog A Finely Crafted Run-on Sentence about the use of English slang among Ugandan students, as much of an issue there where English shares mouths with myriad other languages as it is in the United States where English dominates: English is like any form of more…

Does slang degrade or reinvigorate English?

On Sunday, April 22, at 6 p.m. PST I’ll be joining Anu Garg of A Word a Day to discuss the nature of slang: its place in English, whether it represents linguistic innovation or corruption, and why people have such a visceral reaction to it. It’s an open text chat, meaning that anyone with a more…

Bandit bagu: the new Chinese slang

Private argot in the public sphere. “Hearing the girl say ‘make a call’ (dǎ zhāohu), and ‘whack’ (bǎipíng), I gasped involuntarily, and felt a shiver on that warm spring day. That uncomfortable feeling lasted for quite a few days. This kind of hooliganish language has been popular for many years; people think nothing of it, more…

Elements of E-Style

Nick Paumgarten of the New Yorker discusses Send: The Essential Guide to Email for Office and Home, a style and etiquette guide for email writing.

What are the age constraints on learning new language?

Get your mind in the mood for languages. “Last month I stood before my Applied Linguistics class and gave students the accumulated wisdom: If ‘critical period’ means a sharp decline in learning ability, it does not exist. There is simply a progressive decline from birth to death as people mature. Resistance to a new language more…

Lexicographer Robert Barnhart dead at 73

Lexicographer Robert Barnhart, son of Clarence and brother to David, both also lexicographers, died this week. Robert is best known for the Barnhart Dictionary of Etymology, three editions of the Barnhart Dictionary of New English, the Barnhart Abbreviations Dictionary, and, with his father, the World Book Dictionary. Quibbling point: the story linked above calls him more…

The Kingdom of Judah has very secure airports; King’s eyes still missing

Officers receive tips from Israelites. “As for the airports, Israelites have several security checkpoints, unlike America where there is one. Passports are checked anywhere from five to seven times. They don’t require people to take off shoes or belts because they are so used to profiling people.” Quibbling point: The demonym for the inhabitants of more…