Archive for the ‘Language History’ Category
I’m always reading and doing research for any number of projects, and occasionally something sticks with me that just continues to be fascinating.
This post is about one of those fascinating things … but prepare yourself.
The more you think about this one, the more interesting it gets.
Bet you thought you’d never see that title. Still, there it is in black and white.
So, all you avowed word-nerds will certainly love this. But have you ever studied English as a foreign language? Maybe you’re an anglophile (mmm … scones). Or maybe you just have a hankerin’ for a rap battle, ANY rap battle.
Then you’ll dig this video.
As a part of their “What’s Your English” theme at the Macmillan Dictionary website, they apparently:
… asked Baba Brinkman (a Canuck) and Professor Elemental (a Brit) to produce a satirical rap-battle on the theme of stereotyped Canadian English versus stereotyped British English. The result was this ‘What’s your English?‘ video …
There you have it.
Also, I have to admit I stole my blog title from one of the best things on YouTube. It’s this guy, Nice Peter, who does videos called Epic Rap Battles of History. They’re probably not safe for work or children … and that’s exactly why they’re awesome-possum.
If you’ve ever taken college English, you know something about styles of writing. And you know there are different ones with different rules.
MLA, Chicago, AP … and those are just a few established style guides in the US. Then you’ve got spelling differences between American English and British English (color and colour).
But what if there were a central agency to regulate English spelling, usage and grammar? Other languages have them.
It’s Banned Books Week. So in celebration, let’s look at censorship, how politically correct speech is ruining schools and why euphemisms are silly.
Does anyone really consider vertically challenged a good alternative to short? Does old really carry such a negative connotation to require us to remove it from our speech?
Some people think so. This article outlines how committees have banned words like bookworm and blind from US textbooks in the interest of sensitivity.
I think it’s ridiculous. Not just because it’s easy to see how being politically correct can be taken too extremes (the article uses the example of The Older Person and the Water to sanitize Hemingway’s famous novella The Old Man and the Sea). And not just because too often this seems to be an effort to protect groups that really feel no need to be protected (many people who can’t hear prefer the term deaf over hearing impaired, even though the former has been stigmatized as politically incorrect). But also because euphemisms rarely stay euphemistic.
After a post focusing on advertising and marketing, it’s nice to have a segue back into linguistics. In the comments from that post, one person recommended checking out the show “Mad Men.” Though I’ve never seen it, it apparently centers around advertising in the 1960s and comes highly recommended. Then I found this article from The New Republic. Author and linguist John McWhorter questions whether the speech patterns affected by the characters in “Mad Men” are really genuine, and whether people really talked the way we think they talked fifty years ago.