Let me begin with a confession: my mind is on vacation. It didn’t tell me before it left, and though I had my suspicions, I didn’t fully recognize its absence until yesterday when I showed up for a dentist’s appointment that is not – strictly speaking – until Saturday. I am loathe to break my habit of posting 2-3 times every week, however, and so I will work with the few neural stragglers that have been left behind to house-sit to present a collection of ideas and links that might not flesh out an entire post, but which may be interesting anyway.
Since I published Tuesday’s post, I found several other articles on the discussion of how different dialects of English are viewed:
- Peeving is not Journalism by Throw Grammar from the Train
- Journalists must be arbiters, not stenographers by Motivated Grammar
- Viewpoint: American English is getting on well, thanks on the BBC
- Anti-Americanismism Part 1 and Part 2 by Separated by a Common Language
I’m sure that there are others and that I will find them minutes after I post, but the points made in these articles are very interesting additions to an issue that has apparently become quite the kerfuffle.
Edited on Sat. 30 July to add: A kerfuffle indeed! Matthew Engel, the author of the original article on the BBC website, has written a response in which he defends his original argument and expresses surprise at the angry response from “American bloggers and blowhards – that’s an Americanism, but a useful one – .” Call me crazy, but exactly why is he surprised to get an angry reaction?
I knew I’d find something else! The new article is published in the Financial Times which will require a free registration to read the entire article. If you’re at all interested, it’s worth the 2 minutes.
It seems like a strange thing to mourn the loss of a big, overextended, impersonal corporation, but as I browsed the shelves of the local Borders that has just started its liquidation sale, that is just what I did: mourn. It never had the charm of a small used book store, and the selection was decent but fairly predictable. Yet, it was still a lively place and it brought book lovers together. It’s a shame to see any book store go out of business.
While A. browsed the history shelves, I went to search for the linguistics section, which has dwindled from a full shelf to just half a shelf, sandwiched between philosophy and religious studies. I bought three books: The First Word: The Search for the Origins of Language by Christine Kenneally; Language, Consciousness, Culture: Essays on Mental Structure by Ray Jackendoff; The Prodigal Tongue: Dispatches from the Future of English by Mark Abley. And so, in one fell swoop and $25, I completely wiped out their entire linguistics section. I also gave in to the urge to buy a hot stone massage kit for $8, a Euro-esque notebook for $6.39, and a hot pink pencil case for $4.49.
Hello, my name is Leonore and I’m a book-store-sale-aholic.
Speaking of books, here are some links:
- Mark Kaplowitz wants to know if you remember when people read only physical books.
- Miss Darcy probably would not be able to procure her desired titles at a Borders liquidation sale.
- Wendy at Herding Cats in Hammond River shares her rules for getting the most out of book sales. She buys for one of those aforementioned charming used book stores that Borders is not. Or was not.
- 3000 books reviews A Game of Thrones and A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin. Here’s a teaser: “When an early description of a family’s bloodline contains the words ‘for centuries they had wed brother to sister’, you know you’re in for a hard-to-defend-to-your-friends kind of read. “
- Whystudylit relates musings about history, knowledge, religion and literature at the site of one of the earliest repositories for books, the Library of Alexandria.
There was a minor debate over dinner about patron saints, specifically, Thomas Aquinas, Francis of Assisi, and Christopher. We couldn’t remember what particular occupation or behavior these men protected. This led to an internet search, where we confirmed their patronage; in order, they are teachers, animals, and travelers. We couldn’t ignore some of the other patron saints and the – shall we say – odd assortment of things they protected against or aided.
There is Saint Joseph, who is invoked “against doubt, against hesitation, dying people, expectant mothers, happy death, holy death, interior souls, people in doubt, people who fight Communism, pioneers, pregnant women, travellers, and fetuses”. And Saint Quentin protects against coughs, sneezes, and something called dropsy, which according to The Free Dictionary, is either another word for edema (swelling due to fluid build-up) or a slang word for a tip or a bribe. I’m not sure if one prays to be protected from bribes or to get a bigger one.
More interesting to me was the discovery of both Saint Francis de Sales – patron saint of writers – and Saint Gotteschalk – patron saint of linguists. I especially like the latter, since his name makes me think, “Got chalk?” and that pleases me because I’m quite fond of chalk, if you must know. This means that, if I consider my activities in writing, linguistics, teaching and traveling, I have four saints (de Sales, Gotteschalk, Aquinas, Christopher) that are currently looking after me. Let’s hope that’s enough.