Archive for the ‘Words’ Category
BARTLET [to Obama]: Plus, if you had a black daughter who was 17 and pregnant and unmarried and the father was a teenager hoping to launch a rap career with “Thug Life” inked across his chest, you’d come in fifth behind Bob Barr, Ralph Nader and a ficus.
Aaron Sorkin has written a short exchange between President Bartlet and Barack Obama for the New York Times.
Sometimes it can be hard to see inequality, until someone hits you over the head with it.
The founders of the Super 8 motel chain must surely have been ignorant of the meaning of the word ‘suppurate’.
The late David Foster Wallace, writing for Harper’s Magazine about English usage.
I hadn’t heard of Wallace until I read of his recent suicide, but the first page of this essay makes me think I’ll enjoy catching up.
(For the record, having stayed at a Super 8 motel–albeit only once–I found it perfectly good.)
Writers who hedge their use of unfamiliar, infrequent, or informal words with “I know that’s not a real word” … are giving up one of their inalienable rights as English speakers: the right to create new words as they see fit.
From Lexicographer Erin McKean’s article for the Boston Globe.
I think most people fail to realise that the rules of a language are a product of its usage—of its evolution—rather than the other way around. For every word ever spoken or written, there was a moment in time when it was invented.
When children first get their heads around language they tend to play with it, using the rules they have learned to extend their vocabulary, inventing words like “funnest” that tend to be expressed in other ways by more experienced users of the language. Children are corrected: “‘funnest’ is not a real word, you should say ‘most fun'”. And rightfully so; but we should also teach children—and one another—that there are contexts in which it is perfectly acceptable to invent or misuse language.
There is hardly anything in the world that someone cannot make a little worse and sell a little cheaper, and the people who consider price alone are that man’s lawful prey.
Those Victorians had a way with words, don’t you think?