Monthly Archives: March 2011

The injera of life

A grad school classmate of mine told me in 1986 that in her North Dakota town’s newspaper, she had seen an item in the grocery ad that said, “Tortillas (Mexican lefse).” I doubt that there’s a community in the U.S. … Continue reading

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Descriptive prescriber, or prescriptive describer?

Regular readers of the blog know that I prefer descriptive grammar—the one that examines how language functions and how it’s evolving—to prescriptive grammar—the one that tells you how language is supposed to be used. Pure descriptivism believes that there is … Continue reading

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Mr. Sandman, bring me a dream…

I slept 11 hours last night, and I feel great. Morpheus is a god indeed. His father, Hypnos, god of sleep, gets a bad rap. It doesn’t help that he promotes opium as a soporific in a world that criminalizes … Continue reading

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¡Terremoto!

It’s hard to write about anything other than an earthquake today, as I watch TV’s non-stop coverage of the 8.9 Richter seismic event in Japan. The Washington coast stands ready for the possibility of a tsunami (Japanese, “harbor wave”), the … Continue reading

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I don’t like seafood anyway

Intrepid Reader Barney of Ithaca, NY, is getting a lot of play on WordsWordsWords this week. Today’s mention is due to the fact that I’m reading a book he recommended. Damp Squid: The English Language Laid Bare, by Jeremy Butterfield, … Continue reading

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