Link love: language (39)

The year is almost a month in, and I haven’t done a linkfest yet. So without further ado, here are some language-related items for your reading pleasure:

Carved book landscapes.

Thou eunuch of language.”

Glossary of journalists’ jargon.

The thesaurus: a friendly warning.

How the hell do you use “the hell”?

F-bombs away! On curse words in the dictionary.

The mystery of poetry editing.

Henry Miller’s 11 commandments for writing.

William Safire’s self-contradicting rules of grammar and style.

How to write for an oral presentation.

The origin of web browser names.

Writing the end to an endless game.

The case for footnotes over endnotes.

Is the word sustainable sustainable? (Yes.)

When words are neighbours.

The strange case of Edward H. Rulloff.

How left- and right-handers think differently (PDF).


[links archive]

9 Responses to Link love: language (39)

  1. What a great roundup! One footnote on “the hell”: there’s been a trend toward bare “the hell” as an interjection, especially in informal speech and writing; what/when/how are implicit. “Gingrich wants to colonize the Moon. The hell?”

  2. johnwcowan says:

    I left comments elsewhere, but summarizing:

    Rulloff was a polymath all right, but definitely not a philologist: his contributions to linguistics were nil. And the whole idea of a text meant to be read aloud (except in politics) seems very strange to me: I would infinitely rather hear an extemporaneous talk based on notes and/or slides.

  3. Stan says:

    Glad you enjoyed it, Nancy! Thanks for pointing out the additional use of bare “the hell”, and for the topical example. There’s also the acronymic WTH, which I see a lot less often than the stronger WTF. “What the hell” is itself intensified in colourful ways

    Thanks, John. I revisited the links to read your comments. Rulloff’s claims to philological genius seem, on a cursory look, to be little more than bluffing and bloviation. Nor does he sound remotely sympathetic — unlike William Chester Minor, of whom I got to thinking after reading the bare facts of Rulloff’s life.

  4. johnwcowan says:

    Though I admit that reading people’s papers-for-presentation is neat, because you get the feel of how the person speaks. So I want it done, I just don’t want it done in my presence, as you might say.

  5. Stan says:

    John: I’d rather hear an extemporaneous talk accompanied by visual material too, but I guess there are academics who prefer to stick to the letter of a prepared text, or feel they need to. Writing something exclusively for speech presumably has its niches: it would be suitable for audio recording, or perhaps certain kinds of online seminar, though I don’t think these are what Explorations of Style has in mind.

  6. Stan, your link to “journalists’ jargon” needs a warning on it that the list of words is strictly North American: east of the Atlantic we use a different set, eg “the lead” is the main story on a page, not the opening paragraph of a story; “par” is used for paragraph, not “graf”; captions are always called just that, captions; a continued story “turns”; and a subhead is the smaller headline underneath the main one (the ones that divide up copy are called “crossheads”). To name a few differences. (Oh, and while the definition there for “masthead”, as the place where the editorial staff are named, is technically correct, I doubt that one in a hundred modern British [or Irish] journalists knows that, and almost all use “masthead” to mean “title”.)

  7. Stan says:

    Thanks for the information and clarifications, Martyn. Your comment can serve as the warning.

  8. […] * Guy Laramee’s earlier book sculptures appeared in Link love 39. […]

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