A linguist in the rough?

Joey Barton

Joey Barton is a soccer player from England. He’s played for Manchester City (always overshadowed by its flashier cousin, Manchester United), then Newcastle United, and until very recently, the Queens Park Rangers. He got into a bit of trouble during this past season for allegedly attacking three other players. He was not given a place on the team for the upcoming season. The latest news is that he’s contracted with Marseille.

In the meantime, Mr.Barton has started a website, which includes a blog. It’s only been live for a few weeks, and he’s written on a number of subjects. A friend sent me a link to his latest post, which he thought I might find interesting.

He was right. Continue reading

Hackles up!

The Great Book Reorganization continues, but it is going rather slowly. Sure, there are other things that I need to do, but it also goes slowly because I cannot seem to resist the temptation to open up the books I am trying to reorganize and browse through them. I would be much more efficient if I didn’t need to do so, but it’s nearly impossible to sit in the midst of that many books and not open even one.

I keep finding more tucked away in dusty corners! Plus, I need to dust more often.

When I picked up one of my dictionaries, I opened up to a random page, closed my eyes, and placed my finger on the page. Whatever word was closest to my finger would be a word that I would try to figure into speech or writing today. The word was hackles and I nearly danced at how fortuitous it was that fate picked that word for me today. (Okay, okay – so what if I actually did get up and do a jig? Lord knows I’ve busted a move for far less.) Continue reading

Can’t we all just get along?

For the past week and a half, there has been a lot of fuss over the idea that the British don’t like the way Americans speak. This is not a new phenomenon. In fact, it’s a horse that has been well and truly flogged. The latest round of this game started on 13 July when the BBC posted an article about Americanisms that annoy speakers of British English. The author asked readers to send in their own examples.

While that was happening, plenty of others were weighing in on the issue. On the same day as the original BBC article, Dan at “The Blog Formerly Known as @SFX” posted a reply. Then, on 16 July, Mark Liberman wrote a post over at Language Log about how 4 out of 5 of the examples in the article were actually of British origin, not American.

On 19 July, the BBC published the 50 most emailed examples of hated Americanisms. The very next day, the Economist’s language blog, Johnson, posted responses to some of the examples that appeared on that Top 50 list. The author pointed out something that many of the examples have in common: Continue reading