Linguist, lexicographer, radio host, public speaker

Month: May 2007

  • No surprise that most people on the web just want to watch

    Anybody who has ever spent time observing the ad hoc warez or music download networks—be they FTP, Hotline, Napster, Gnutella, or anything similar—would not find the story that a sliver of a percent of people who visit user-driven web sites upload content to be a surprise. They already know most people are observers or takers.…

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  • Here’s my chance to use the word inscrutable in a headline

    Rick Harrison stretches his lexical muscles with a rumination on big words, and quotes me to boot: “Most words are new to most people most of the time.” And don’t you forget it. One of the words I encountered today that I’ve never seen before: ridgeling, an animal, especially a horse, with one or both…

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  • It’s Natural That Hillary Clinton Changes Her Accent to Match Her Audience

    Torie Bosch explains it in Slate’s Explainer: We’re all guilty of changing the way we speak in subtle ways, depending on whom we’re talking to. Linguists call this “code shifting”—you don’t want to talk to your boss the same way you talk to your old college roommates. We often code shift subconsciously, by picking up…

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  • Upgraded Server Today

    We just finished upgrading the server, so if you encountered any difficulties over the last half-hour, that would be why. The new setup should be better able to handle the increased user load.

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  • The Con’s English

    Bryan Curtis reviews for Slate Randy Kearse’s Street Talk, a slang dictionary he wrote in prison. My colleague Jesse Sheidlower is quoted as giving the book generally good marks, commenting that it’s a bit better than folk dictionaries usually are: “One of the typical things about self-edited books of this sort is that they’ll include…

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