Category Archives: Language and Reference

Words Know No Borders…

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Reading Between The Lines

Microsoft’s Joe Belfiore has published a blog post today that has caused a slight disturbance amongst the company’s fans: Your Windows 10 PC will love all the devices you own. The reason for their discomfiture is that Microsoft is intent … Continue reading

Posted in Computers and Internet, Consumer Electronics, Language and Reference | Tagged | 3 Comments

Management Speak

Steven Poole has hit a nerve with his article in the Guardian on 10 of the worst examples of management speak. It’s got over 1,800 comments all of them expressing their loathing of management speak. It reminds me of the … Continue reading

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On Being A Grammar Pedant

Few things are guaranteed to irritate me more than bad grammar. Yes, I know that my reaction is out of all proportion to the sin, but it is the way that I was brought up. For example, yesterday I made … Continue reading

Posted in Language and Reference | 7 Comments

Damn The Rising Inflection

As you know, it doesn’t take much to get me going on a Victor Meldrew rant. One thing that is practically guaranteed to do it is to hear someone speak with a rising inflection at the end, or even during, … Continue reading

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The Twelve Days of Christmas

An updated version from Carol Ann Duffy. God, she’s good.

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Warning – Purple Prose Ahead

Steven Poole draws our attention to a strangely fascinating opening sentence: Pigeons rustled in the beams of the Staten Island Ferry terminal as Rebecca Miller, the writer and director, ordered a soft pretzel. It comes from a New Yorker article, … Continue reading

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The Etymology of “Go Forth and Multiply”

This is a wonderful piece of research on the word "fuck" and all who sail in her.

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Multi-lingual Puns

Most excellent news about Karadzic. Today’s Volkskrant has a rather brilliant wordplay comment on the event in its daily "Gorilla" cartoon: Een baard!Een baard!Mijn koninkrijkvoor een baard! Which literally translates as: "A beard! A beard! My kingdom for a beard!" In Dutch, … Continue reading

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Serbian Biscuits

Nicey, over at a NiceCupOfTeaAndASitDown, discovers some biscuits from Serbia with a rather unfortunate name… I wonder if Kees Moeliker would like them?

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How High Is The Bar?

There’s a fad going round at the moment whereby anyone can test the reading comprehension level required for a given blog. Apparently, I set the bar fairly low:     I’m actually quite pleased by this. I take it to … Continue reading

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Standard Procedure

Steven Poole, over at Unspeak, makes me ponder the phrase Standard Procedure…

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Extensive Travel

Steven Poole salutes NASA for doing what it says on the tin. 

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Be Prepared

Here’s a handy-dandy guide to propaganda and debating tricks. Train yourself to spot when they’re being deployed (by politicians, practically all the time these days, it would seem). Very useful.    (hat tip to Larry Moran of Sandwalk for the link)

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Pronunciation

Jerome Weeks tells a good, and possibly apocryphal, tale about a student who completes her dissertation on Samuel Pepys without ever realising that she has never learned the correct pronunciation of his name. Speaking as someone who didn’t realise until recently … Continue reading

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Architect Or Car Salesman?

Steven Poole, over at the excellent Unspeak blog, takes a look at Frank Luntz’s latest book "Words That Work". It’s fair to say that he’s not impressed, and gives ample evidence to back up his opinion. Oh, and I can … Continue reading

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Everything Is Miscellaneous

That’s the title of both a book and a talk given by David Weinberger. The talk (given at Google) is interesting and worth watching. I’m now intrigued about the book.   (hat tip to Tim at the Thingology Blog for … Continue reading

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Safety First

The Silly Season in the media seems to be coming earlier every year. Here’s the story of a Welsh council which has banned its workers from answering the phone in Welsh because of fears from the union that "it could … Continue reading

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Quantum Feminism

I’ve often bemoaned my irritation with management speak here. But the irritations are merely pinpricks in comparison with some of the writing that can be found lurking under the stone of PostModernist critique.   Here’s a particularly fine example penned by … Continue reading

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Lost In Translation

At least, I hope it was. Surely the Japanese Health Minister didn’t really refer to women as "birth-giving machines"?

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