Thursday, October 26, 2006
An article that should be Pullum-ized into submission
To which I clear my throat and say, “people.ucsc.edu/~pullum/MLA2004.pdf”
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
‘On Language’ 10/18: If U chat, not everyone speaks your language
“These abhorrent abbreviations are nothing less than an insidious linguistic plague,” wrote student Patrick Hogan in the University of Chicago’s newspaper, Chicago Maroon. He was complaining about instant-messaging lingo such as “LOL” (“laughing out loud”) and “TTYL” (“talk to you later”).
But how widespread is chat slang among young people? The publishing and online worlds offer plenty of reference material to help you translate abbreviations and slang words used in Web chats and text messages.
I, however, went straight to the source. I took a list of chat slang and did an informal survey of almost 150 students, about half in high school and half in college. Everybody recognized a few of the abbreviations but many of the items stumped them. Are they behind the times, or so ahead of the times that this list is already out of date?
Or has chat slang yet to go mainstream even among young people? As one student wrote, “I hate IM abbreviations, but all my younger sibs use them.”
Here’s what I found:
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
Pretty Good Puns
Since puns are the highest form of human intelligence ... (from an e-mail fwd)
‘On Language’ 10/4: Woe is `me’: `Myself’ now the object of our affection
The pronouns “me,” “myself” and “I” look like a tidy trio. ...
But something seems to have given “myself” a push past the others.
Here’s an example:
“The decision to take action was an operational matter, but was taken with the full knowledge of the prime minister, the deputy prime minister and the secretary of state for transport, as well as myself,” Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff assured the public back in August.
Chertoff should have said “and me,” according to those who believe the use of “myself” is getting out of control.
In a survey of its Usage Panel, a handpicked group of authors, the American Heritage Dictionary found that 75 percent of the panel rejected replacing “me” with “myself” in the phrase “like me.”
A resounding 88 percent frowned on “myself” in a compound object—“he asked John and myself”—instead of “John and me.”
Yet the American Heritage Dictionary notes using “myself” in place of “I” or “me” is common in the history of English literature. ...