brokenclay.org/journal

Language

Best Old Lady Story Ever

Run, do not walk, to Chewing the Fat to read A New Meaning for OT. Please. Thank God there are still people out there with some respect for accuracy in speech.

The Good Old Days

In choir, we are rehearsing The Night Before Christmas: He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle… After practicing the above, the guy next to me turned to the guy next to him and said, “Those were…
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Exercising the franchise

Just a couple of random items from my voting experience: Paper or plastic? I have been paying very little attention to the controversy over electronic voting. In Virginia, you went into a curtained booth and toggled little switches on a…
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Alas, poor English

English is going to hell in a handbasket, hastened to its destination by military and quasi-military law enforcement-speak. An actual quote from FBI Assistant Director Mark J. Mershon, courtesy of today’s news (I am not making this up): They were…
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The writing badness that is Dan Brown

My children gave me Dan Brown’s Angels and Demons for Mother’s Day, by way of a gag gift. They also gave me a red pen to mark it up with. I couldn’t possibly do any better than Language Log, though:…
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Like a Mouse on Fire

At work, we have a new metaphor for that behaviour that is between getting revenge and going down in flames: Mouse burns down house in revenge A mouse wreaked revenge on a pensioner who tried to kill it by tossing…
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Is there an English teacher in house?

Via Fazia, What corporate America can’t build: A sentence. I guess I should be grateful for my liberal arts education (not usually perceived as an asset in aerospace).

Words had to change their meanings

To fit in with the change of events, words, too, had to change their usual meanings. What used to be described as a thoughtless act of aggression was now regarded as the courage one would expect to find in a…
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Language Abuse

Heard at a business meeting last week: “Desirement” In a software change request: “Pair down the size of [item]” In a list of document revisions: “Second Revision | Third Revision | Forth Revision” In email, to indicate agreement with the…
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Apostrophes

WordPress apparently goes around converting perfectly good low-bit ASCII characters like the single quote into high-bit characters like the apostrophe. This is tremendously irritating – if I wanted text littered with high-bit ASCII, I’d use Microsoft Word. Hunting for the…
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Stress and the English Language

Stress makes Multiple Sclerosis worse more evidence I would have titled it “More Evidence that Stress Makes Multiple Sclerosis Worse”, or maybe “Stress Makes Multiple Sclerosis Worse: More Evidence”, but what do I know?

Brecht followup

Another followup, this time to my question about a Bertolt Brecht quote: This quote is (in its entirety) a poem by Brecht called Motto, which can be found in Bertolt Brecht: Poems 1913-1956. The German original: In den finsteren Zeiten…
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