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OMG, I heart the OED

The OED has proved once again that it takes the development of the English language seriously. Among the words recently included in the OED online edition are “initialisms”(1) such as:


Now, fair enough. But what really surprised me is the inclusion of “heart” as a verb, as it occurs in the verbalisation of slogans on T-shirts, [...]

“A hundred and ten” (BrE)

Arnold Zwicky’s post “Year names and number names” at the Language Log treats the pronunciation of numbers.
For me, this article is interesting for two reasons:

1) I’ve learned what to call the two different styles (with and without “and”):

a) conjoined reading, like “two thousand and ten”
b) juxtaposed reading, like “two thousand ten”

2) I’ve learned that juxtaposed [...]

Ouch – was that a push-back?

It is what it is.
Ron Rosenbaum writes a very entertaining article on “The Catchphrase of the Decade”.

Maybe it’s not all superfluous to quote a definition of “catchphrase” (courtesy of Longman’s DCE online):

a short well-known phrase made popular by an entertainer or politician, so that people think of that person when they hear it

I don’t think [...]

Happy Christmas

(1) Recommended:
Happy Christmas by Geoffrey Pullum.

NB: It’s “Happy Christmas” – maybe “merry” is getting a little dated? ;)

(2) “Christmas under fire (1940)” – well worth watching because this is what many people in Britain still remember when they think of “the Germans”:

[Another valuable find at the Open Culture blog.]

Linguistic taboos protecting corrupt officials

Sehr schöne Beobachtung wieder mal im Language Log (schon vor ein paar Tagen):
Linguistic taboos protecting corrupt officials

Americans don’t think well of people who talk like this when they have important roles in public life. That means that a small additional offense by such individuals may go unnoticed: their hypocrisy in being elected on fair words [...]

MLA Formatting and Style Guide: MLA Update 2009

The OWL at Purdue tells us of interesting changes in the Modern Language Association’s principles for documentation: MLA Formatting and Style Guide: MLA Update 2009.

Among other things, titles of books are no longer underlined, but italicized. And:

No More URLs! While website entries will still include authors, article names, and website names, when available, MLA no [...]

Giant Balls of Feathers

Geoffrey Pullum (at the Language Log) is angry about some journalists’ tendency to make things up if it’s got to do with linguistics. In particular, he mentions a text from the Economist on the occasion of Miriam Makeba’s death. What “Epiglottal clicks and giant balls of feathers” have in common or why they are wrong [...]

Giveth, taketh … and embellisheth

I stumbled across today’s op-ed contribution, “The Great Iceland Meltdown”, by Thomas L. Friedman in the New York Times, where he says a lot of clever things (as usual), but also this (emphasis added by me):

Globalization giveth — it was this democratization of finance that helped to power the global growth that lifted so many [...]

Congressman Rebukes McCain … and Times journalist gets lost in time …

… or rather: in tense. At least I find this sentence in today’s New York Times intensely annoying. Both. The incident described in the following half-sentence *and* the grammar used in this description, where Elizabeth Bumiller writes:

In a blistering statement reacting to the angry crowds at McCain-Palin rallies in the past week that have shouted [...]

United Kingdom English for the American Novice

Terry Gliedt, who grew up in Iowa and Wisconsin, worked for IBM for many years and works now with the University of Michigan. He spent some years of his professional life in the UK, from 1981 to 1983. He seems to have encountered a few awkward situations when his (American) vocabulary turned out to be [...]