Posts Tagged ‘language’
I was having a conversation – which is to say a face-to-face conversation, in person, not online – with someone recently. Something in the flow of the conversation led to me recalling a time at a job when I needed help finding information. Invariably, she would say, “Oh, that’s easy.” This would usually irritate me, on two levels: 1) it wasn’t necessarily easy for me, and 2) she was giving short shrift to her own skills.
The conversation proceeded and my friend told a story. When it was over, I said, “Now THAT’S a blog post. You need to write it. And if you do, I’ll link it to MY blog.” And so now I have. Read the rest of this entry »
I’ve tried, I really have. When Webster and other dictionaries, announced that the second definition of the word “literally” means “figuratively” – “My head literally exploded” – I had some difficulty with that. Still I tried to shoehorn this new meaning into my vocabulary. Alas, I have failed.
“Literally” served me well. When I wrote, “LOL, literally,” this meant that an audible chuckle erupted from me, not just that I found it quite funny.
I noticed that Arthur@AmeriNZ is not bothered by this. He says, correctly, “English is constantly evolving and changing, and it always has been. New words enter usage and old ones die out.” And so I noted at the time that it didn’t bother me. But the more I thought on it, the more I was irritated by the change.
So while using literally to mean figuratively may be OK (for some), what do I use when I REALLY, REALLY mean literally? How can I make this clear to the reader/listener?
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An eponym, if you don’t know (and even if you do), is one for whom or which something is or is believed to be named. For example, the Bowie knife or the sandwich (for some Earl of Sandwich) or gerrymandering.
I used to go out with a poet, and she helped put out this poetry chapbook. It came out triannually, and that was the first time I knew that triannual meant thrice a year, rather than once every three years, which is triennial. Likewise biannually and biennially – twice a year and every two years, respectively. EXCEPT that Read the rest of this entry »
Jaquandor, that fine Buffalo blogger, wrote about the acronym FUBAR, and how a writer had used it as FUBARed. FUBAR, in case you don’t know, means Fouled Up Beyond All Recognition, where F really represents some OTHER word.
“Here’s my thing: Isn’t FUBAR already past-tense? Can something really be FUBARed, when the -ed suffix has already been used in the F part of the FUBAR acronym? Seems to me that FUBAR covers all bases, in terms of tense.”
And I replied: “As fussy as I can be, the absence of the -ed SOUNDS wrong… As I think more on this, I HAVE heard FUBAR NOT as a past tense. ‘You really know how to FUBAR.” So the -ed isn’t always already present anyway, in my experience.”
This inevitably got me thinking about how an acronym, “an abbreviation formed from the initial components in a phrase or a word,” is made plural. From the Wikipedia: “it has become common among many writers to inflect acronyms as ordinary words, using simple s, without an apostrophe, for the plural. In this case, compact discs becomes CDs…
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QUESTION OF THE MONTH: Who are the four music artists to have won an Academy Award for an ACTING role and achieving a #1 album in the U.S.? (This excludes people such as Bruce Springsteen and Elton John, who won MUSIC Oscars.)
Arrgh! – the idiots who are the Newtown truthers. Other fools are harassing the guy who took in six children after the Newtown shootings. The Hitler gun control lie. Related: Run, Hide, Fight: Alabama’s video response to mass shootings. Also, Amy’s poem – “If Jesus had had a gun in Gethsamane, would he have taken aim at the guards?”
Idle No More 101. What it’s NOT: “An extended Native American Heritage Month, where non-Natives have to act like they’re fascinated by Native culture.”
I was clearing out some old newspapers when I came across the continuation of a story from August about words being added to the Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, which I meant to write about at the time. That ever happen to you? Here’s the article.
Shown below are some of the words, along with a few thoughts about them. The years indicate first documented use.
– n (1939) a moment of sudden realization, inspiration, insight, recognition, or comprehension
Surprised this didn’t make it sooner.
– n (1982): an instance of temporary mental confusion resulting in an error or lapse of judgment
There are some variations on this term that may be more popular.
– n (2006): a list of things that one has not done before but wants to do before dying
I was really shocked Read the rest of this entry »