Monthly Archives: September 2012

The “Language Wars”: Descriptivism vs. prescriptivism

In this recent New York Times article, Robert Lane Greene, author of You are What you Speak, takes the descriptivist side, and Bryan A. Garner, author of Garner’s Modern American Usage, takes the prescriptivist side. In the course of the long exchange, they … Continue reading

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Virginia Woolf on words, their character and their work

watch?v=E8czs8v6PuI

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English 320 students note – Verner’s Law explained!!

Professor Avuncular Feldspar (Ari Hoptman of Copacabana fame – see earlier post) has three videos explaining the First Sound change: Part 3 may be a bit too detailed for our purposes.

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The history of English in 10 minutes

The Open University in the UK has produced a funny video on the history of English: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H3r9bOkYW9s&list=PL0B3F3F2E7BCC0F51&index=1&feature=plpp_video Caution: There’s a bit of language which might offend some.

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Symposium on Language Revitalization in Albuquerque

Presenters will share experiences and speak about the hard work required in revitalizing Native languages. Abstracts of the talks are available under the above link.

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The warlike Germanic tribes

Archeological evidence in Denmark provides convincing evidence that the Germanic tribes fought fiercely: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/04/science/warrior-remains-2000-years-old-found-in-denmark.html?_r=1  

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Obama’s English

In this insightful article from the New York Times, Geneva Smitherman and H. Samy Alim discuss Obama’s use of a range of dialects: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/09/opinion/sunday/obama-and-the-racial-politics-of-american-english.html?_r=1&emc=eta1 Be sure to click on the link to Obama’s visit Ben’s Chili Bowl and listen to … Continue reading

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Red, Blue, and Words

The New York Times has done an analysis of the most frequent words used at the Republican and Democratic National Conventions. This is nicely represented graphically in the linked article: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2012/09/06/us/politics/convention-word-counts.html?emc=eta1 It shows you that words matter!

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The syntax of “Copacabana”?

Thanks to Ari Hoptman for making syntax fun! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TB1m4w9j79o  

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Merriam-Webster: Ask the Editor

Merriam-Webster editors have produced a variety of short YouTube segments on questions of English usage (“flat adverbs”, “who” vs. “whom”, etc.) and vocabulary. (“gridiron”, “cop”, “literally”, etc.). They’re quite well done. Here’s the link: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=UULGx1Xl1Nd1iJ37dWeNnp-A&feature=plcp  

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