01 août 2015

The Shortest Generation

http://chronicle.com/img/photos/biz/linguafranca-45.pngBy . When Novak Djokovic recently paid tribute to Roger Federer, saying that the Swiss master was admired by players of Djokovic’s generation, many academic types might have had a little weep — and not because none of us will ever be able to grade papers at 130 miles per hour, or whatever the conversion might be from mph to pph. More...

Posté par pcassuto à 01:13 - - Permalien [#]


Laying Low

http://chronicle.com/img/photos/biz/linguafranca-45.pngBy . Last week a friend texted to see if I wanted to go out for dinner. I was recovering from some minor surgery and had been told to stay mostly indoors and take it easy. So I texted back a regretful no and added, “I’m just laying low this weekend.” More...

Posté par pcassuto à 01:03 - - Permalien [#]

Do We Really Hate That?

http://chronicle.com/img/photos/biz/linguafranca-45.pngBy . It was the question-and-answer session after a talk I gave about “language pet peeves” (presenting a linguist’s view) a few months ago at a city club. One woman in the audience immediately raised her hand and asked, “Why do people insist on using impact as a verb?” She then added, “I hate that.” There were assenting murmurs around the room: “Ridiculous,” “I hear that all the time,” and, echoing the questioner, “Oh, I hate that.” More...

Posté par pcassuto à 01:02 - - Permalien [#]

The Dictionary on Trial

http://chronicle.com/img/photos/biz/linguafranca-45.pngBy . In a court of law, a dictionary can be a blunt weapon.
It provides meanings, to be sure, and context for arguments. But by its very nature, a dictionary rarely cuts to the heart of the matter. More...

Posté par pcassuto à 01:00 - - Permalien [#]

Busy B’s at ‘DARE’

http://chronicle.com/img/photos/biz/linguafranca-45.pngBy . What’s new at the Dictionary of American Regional English?
Boneless cats, for one. Badgers and back-budgers. Beach-walks, bodegas, (cellar) bugs, and beelers. More...

Posté par pcassuto à 00:59 - - Permalien [#]


Revealing American Speech

http://chronicle.com/img/photos/biz/linguafranca-45.pngBy . If you want to become an expert on the English language in North America, and maybe teach it too, a good place to start is with the American Dialect Society’s quarterly journal, American Speech. The latest issue is Volume 90, Number 2, dated May 2015. More...

Posté par pcassuto à 00:58 - - Permalien [#]

Fit for a New Century

http://chronicle.com/img/photos/biz/linguafranca-45.pngBy . That’s a 21st-century question you can ask, thanks to the invention of the phrase fitness age. But what does this new term mean?
Here’s an answer provided by the lexicographer David Barnhart, editor of The Barnhart Dictionary Companion, a quarterly devoted to new words. More...

Posté par pcassuto à 00:56 - - Permalien [#]

Wanted: Grown-Up Bedtime Stories

http://chronicle.com/img/photos/biz/linguafranca-45.pngBy . Preparing for my vacation next week, I posted a query on Facebook, which read in part: “Looking for suggestions for a couple of novels to really get into on vacation. Am not looking for tales of emotional distress, pain, suffering, etc. I can get that at home.” More...

Posté par pcassuto à 00:53 - - Permalien [#]

Existential Questions

http://chronicle.com/img/photos/biz/linguafranca-45.pngBy . Testifying before a Senate Committee last week, Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., President Obama’s nominee to head the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said, “If you want to talk about a nation that could pose an existential threat to the United States, I’d have to point to Russia.” More...

Posté par pcassuto à 00:52 - - Permalien [#]

Of Footfalls and Plasters

http://chronicle.com/img/photos/biz/linguafranca-45.pngBy . A question that has long preoccupied some of the best minds of the generation is why, in American movies and TV shows set in foreign or imagined lands, the characters almost invariably speak in British accents, especially if they’re bad guys. One commentator theorized that, on the fantasy end of things (on up through Game of Thrones, where poor Peter Dinklage is made to talk British), it’s the responsibility of J.R.R. Tolkien, author of the books that started the genre, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings: “even though Middle Earth is a fantasy world it’s clearly inspired by England. More...

Posté par pcassuto à 00:50 - - Permalien [#]