Category Archives: Linguistics

Grammatical doorstop

Since I first read about the new Cambridge Grammar of the English Language, I’ve wanted a copy. The authors are Rodney Huddleston and Geoffrey Pullum (with some chapters written by others), and it’s an 1,800-page doorstop of a book. Just … Continue reading

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isolated pedants’ society

John McIntyre, formerly a top copy editor at the Baltimore Sun, and a loser in the downsizing panic, writes about a book he’s just read: I also note, with professional regret, the numerous typographical errors throughout the book, many of … Continue reading

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Kindle talk, with touches of autism

So my son Peter and I were noodling back and forth by e-mail, as we do now and again when some vagrant idea catches our fancy, and along the way it occurred to me that there were some points that … Continue reading

Posted in Eclectic (nothing in particular), Linguistics | 2 Comments

Simplified spelling — don’t go there

Over at Kitchen Table Math, Catherine Johnson has recently written in favor of simplifying English spelling. She asks: Suppose you simplified spelling so that written English became a perfectly transparent writing system like Spanish. It would be obvious to one … Continue reading

Posted in Education, Linguistics | 2 Comments


The news agency Reuters posted a story the day after the inauguration claiming: “President Barack Obama’s inauguration generated an unprecedented 35,000 stories in the world’s major newspapers, television and radio broadcasts over the past day — about 35 times more … Continue reading

Posted in Journalism and media, Linguistics | 1 Comment

Linguistics by amateurs

I was reading Romenesko’s journalism blog at the Poynter institute website, and well, one link led to another, and I found myself reading Roy Peter Clark’s bleg for the book he’s writing, The Glamour of Grammar. (Don’t bother asking. Obscure … Continue reading

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Linguists get peevish too

Rocky Mountain News columnist Mike Rosen wrote about a few of his pet grammatical peeves last week, and like many people who have never studied linguistics and don’t know what it’s about, he managed to embarrass himself. Rocky edit page … Continue reading

Posted in Journalism and media, Linguistics | 1 Comment

Column: To quote or not to quote

So what did Clinton Portis really say? According to Mark Liberman, a University of Pennsylvania linguist who hangs out at the blog Language Log, the Redskins running back said during a July 27 meeting with the media, “I don’t know … Continue reading

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