Sunday, November 06, 2005

Language Geekdom

You know I'm a polyglot and a language buff (linguist would be stretching it). So here's two things to get the juices flowing of the like-minded:

The Word We Love to Hate


The NRO review of "Empires of the Word" Still on the to read list!


assiniboine said...

But hopefully Mr Sheidlower has only refuted (in the sense he would espouse) and not refuted (in the precise literal sense -- or, since I actually do mean "literal" here, should I instead use "figurative"?) what he would deem pedantry and those of us who prefer being able to say what we mean without undue elaboration would call precision. All very well to boldly espouse solecisms on the grounds that the lexicographer’s proper role is descriptive, not prescriptive, so flaunting convention is just fine. (After all, the media is almost always correct, eh? So if Mark Twain authored it, well then it just has to be alright. ) But does he also, then, advocate abandoning the apostrophe because no grocer on the planet can use it properly? Hopefully not at this point in time, anyway. I for one am disinterested in the losses that such abandonment of the field predicates. I find it aggravating when pundits infer to us that its OK just because everybody does it. It is fortuitous for those of us who consider this a dilemma (it has a bad affect on our equanimity and sometimes even effects our peace of mind) that the late Kingsley Amis is gone but not forgotten.

assiniboine said...

(A non-blogging friend responds:

("Hmmmm, basically I would say I'm in agreement with you (I think), at
least with regards to Sheidlower's hasty eagerness to effectively claim that whatever modern usage is comprised of, whether the source be Jim Joyce or Jimmy Kimmel, it must be excepted because it means the language is evolving from its' eighteenth century lexicographical strait jacket. Now I have personally been accused of narrow pedantry on more than one occasion myself, but I really see red ("literally" . . . it's a retinal problem) when solipsisms such as Sheidlower gives examples of are read by me. And I don't want to beat a dead horse, but if us educated people aren't prepared to uphold the standards of proper grammer and spelling, then just who the heck do we think is going to do it? Especially with all these people emigrating to our fair country who can't even speak neither of our official languages. That is simply something up with which I will not put.")

Gashwin said...

Hehe. Especially your non-blogging Canadian correspondent.

All these clever affectations. They're effecting much mirth. :)

assiniboine said...

Why especially him?

Oh well, irregardless...