"Polish language experts launched a campaign Thursday to preserve the challenging system of its diacritical marks, saying the tails, dots and strokes are becoming obsolete under the pressure of IT and speed."
Here are some of the terrible words in the English language from the past year. This list is British, but much of it is universal. At least for those who speak English. And really, who doesn't? Not anyone I'd want to know.
"The next time an American 'mate' asks you to 'ring' her on her 'mobile' about renting your 'flat' during your 'holiday,' it’s fair to ask, have we all become Madonna?" —If this ever happens, you have our permission to stab your imaginary friend right in the neck, Briton-style.
Hahahahaha, David Brooks can't say "cavil" right! To be fair, we all have words we find difficult to pronounce correctly. I, for instance, can never quite manage "antediluvian." Also "Schermerhorn." How about you?
Man, I thought bigotry was as easy as "ready, set, hate," but apparently you've got to figure out a whole system of codes and stuff. It hardly seems worth the effort. I mean, yeah, when you think about it, there's not a whole lot in life that does seem worth the effort, but it especially feels like a waste of time to put in all that toil just to be prejudiced.
"Fresh doesn't have to be low-calorie or even especially nutritious—a burrito with ingredients prepared on-site at Chipotle may pack three times the calories of a burger. Nor does fresh require pathologically locavorian supply-chain standards: As Arby's has revealed, a sandwich from Subway might contain cold-cuts processed, packaged, and shipped from a centralized facility in Iowa. Better yet for retailers like Taco Bell, Domino's, and Arby's, the mere implications of freshness can be sold at a premium to new customers who otherwise might have avoided those chains' wares altogether. The only unabashedly pure thing about the concept of fresh is its subjectivity."
"As people increasingly communicate in short bursts of words, via text messaging and emails, they are finding less use for 'P.S.' The Latin abbreviation refers to something 'written after' the body of a letter. But it is also a cherished part of epistolary tradition that entered the spoken language, inspiring songs and movies."
"No, correlation does not imply causation, but it sure as hell provides a hint. Does email make a man depressed? Does sadness make a man send email? Or is something else again to blame for both? A correlation can't tell one from the other; in that sense it's inadequate. Still, if it can frame the question, then our observation sets us down the path toward thinking through the workings of reality, so we might learn new ways to tweak them. It helps us go from seeing things to changing them."
"Say what you will about all of the media attention that the incarcerated Russian punk collective Pussy Riot has generated in the West. Whether you think they’re martyrs, hooligans, or just savvy performance artists with a meme-ready message, one thing is certain: They got a lot of people saying the word pussy." —Yes, say what you will.
Anybody know where the "because [NOUN]" construction came from? If I had to guess it would be someone using "Because Jesus," probably in a despairing fashion after the 2004 elections, but I'm certainly open to other citations.
"So, what about 'beg the question'? This is probably the most widely misused expression in the language. I don't propose to explain what it means. People with degrees in philosophy have no trouble understanding it. The rest of us find it virtually ungraspable. There are only two things you need to know about 'beg the question'. The first is that it is not the same as 'raise the question'—which is the expression the writer of the Johansson item should have used. The second is this: don't write 'beg the question' – ever."
"People who do not belong to certain groups are asked to defer in their use of certain words to those who do (the practice is known in some quarters as ‘privilege-checking’). Words and phrases are ring-fenced in order to strip them of their ‘stereotypical’ and ‘clichéd’ implications. Recently the use of such terms as ‘mental’ or ‘Brazilian transsexuals’ was said to feed into a stereotype. Of course it does: language is a work in progress and an accumulation of conscious and unconscious usage. It’s not surprising that metaphors and analogies tend towards stereotypes; clichés are ways of using language that have proved useful over time. The words we use every [...]
"Dickinson went a little jiggy with it, admittedly, but in poetry and prose alike, the dash is a freewheelin’ punctuation mark." —Eh, just go with it. The dash: Is it for you?
I have always thought of the word 'literally' as someone else's problem. Then, suddenly, it arrived: My summer of Literally. A recent family vacation revealed my brother as one of the worst offenders. He likes to couple ‘literally’ with the phrase… 'on the planet,' as in, “You are literally the best sister on the planet.” (Or rather, you were.) Other literally fans (is it the heat?): my lesbian best friend, my rich best friend, my yoga best friend—she’s the one it seems rudest to complain about since last weekend we went to Wanderlust together, and I spent half the time in a sobbing rage and the other half crawling around [...]
"Reforming the Lords has given way to pondering whether the coalition can or will survive. My bet is that it will, but the Lib Dems have threatened to kibosh the government’s plans to redraw constituency boundaries and this would disadvantage the Conservatives at the next election." —Wait, we can use "kibosh" as a stand-alone verb now? Or is that just Britspeak? Anyway, it's a funny word, "kibosh." Say it out loud. See, it feels weird! Also? No one is quite sure whence it came. Kibosh!
"Well, of course every publication has its own internal style guide, and ours was more than hilarious. We had lists of euphemisms, paragraphs of them, for every body part you could think of. Phrases like cover girl, which in Webster’s are two words, were one word at Hustler. Blow job was blowjob. (See here for more examples.) And the style guide had been in progress since the 70s, so many things had changed over time. For instance, there was an entry under 'Goddamnit' that said the expression was never to be used in a Flynt publication without editorial approval — which I thought was kind of strange, considering everything [...]