17 Sep 2008

Tasty Relief

Submitted by Karl Hagen
Topic: 
While driving in to work this morning, I head the reporter on NPR talking about a sense of "palatable relief" on Wall Street due to the bail out of AIG. After I finished snickering, for which elitism I will soon, doubtlessly, be punished by the law of prescriptive retaliation, I googled the phrase. It's not very common (only 100 g-hits as opposed to 8080 for 'palpable relief'), and a few are just accidental collocations crossing phrase boundaries, but clearly this is not unattested.
26 Aug 2008

Irregardless

Submitted by Karl Hagen
Contain your righteous indignation for a moment and consider the much-maligned word irregardless. There are two arguments typically advanced against it, usually together: first, that it is "not a word," and second, that it is a kind of double negative. The first claim is simply stupid. By any reasonable definition of what a word is, of course it's a word. Just because a word irritates you does not demote the utterance from wordhood.
28 Jun 2008

Those pesky pronouns

Submitted by Karl Hagen
Topic: 
Your high school English teacher always warned you about those ambiguous pronouns, but many of the examples she gave you probably weren't really ambiguous in a practical context. Here's one that is demonstrably ambiguous, but not, I think, for the reasons usually offered in high school textbooks. Language Hat grouses about an explanation offered by Dear Abby about the distinction between "burn down" and "burn up."
DEAR ABBY: Does a house "burn up" or "burn down"?
5 May 2008
I think we need a new subtype of the law of prescriptive retaliation.. The woman holding this sign isn't trying to correct a specific point of grammar or usage, but she is advocating a general sort of prescription: English as the official, or as she puts it, the "offical" language of the U.S. [Link via Digg]
2 May 2008

Transliteration for dummies

Submitted by Karl Hagen
Note to the College Board: the correct transliteration for 'þ' is 'th', not 'p'. I've finally started to go back to analyzing the SAT writing material to infer the College Board's views on grammar, and while flipping through the January 2008 SAT, my eye came upon this bit from a passage in a reading section about Ezra Pound's translation of the Old English poem "The Seafarer":
Moreover, there are unfortunately some mistakes, as when Pound misreads purh ("through") as pruh ("coffin").
2 May 2008

New Service Provider

Submitted by Karl Hagen
I've been neglecting my blog lately, partly because I've been busy, but also because my former service provider was giving increasingly spotty service, and I didn't have the energy to deal with it. However, I've now switched to a new provider that I trust will give much better service. (The site already feels much snappier). I can also finally upgrade Drupal.

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