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Translating Alice.

Andrea Appleton at reports on a new publication: Middle Welsh and Manx, Lingwa de Planeta and Latgalian. In its 150-year history, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland has been translated into every major language and numerous minor ones, including many that are extinct or invented. Only some religious texts and a few other children’s books—including The […]

Political gat kruiping

In "Should Africa speak Mandarin?" (ZimDaily [8/31/15]), the phrase "political gat kruiping" occurs twice.  Upon first occurrence, "gat kruiping" is defined as "brown nosing".  Since this is in the context of "introducing Mandarin in schools next year to pupils between the grades 4 and 12", I was curious about the nuances and form of "gat […]

Appositively speaking

Q: I seem to be the only person who feels that this construction requires a comma after “Delmonico” to offset the appositional phrase: “The oldest resident of the nursing home, Delmonico is given to reciting bawdy limericks.” Thanks for any light you can shed. A: Grammatically, as you know, “apposite” means equivalent (not to be... ? Read More: Appositively speaking

Anaphoric that considered harmful

Scott Walker recently got into a little trouble for a preposterous proposal he put forward on Meet the Press. Some headlines tell the story: "Scott Walker: Canada-U.S. border wall worth considering", CNBC News; "Scott Walker: U.S.-Canada wall a 'legitimate' idea", CNN;  "Scott Walker says wall along Canadian border is worth reviewing", AP. Show More Summary

Jabotinsky’s Hebrew II.

I’ve gotten to another good passage on language in Halkin’s Jabotinsky (see this post); the context Jabotinsky’s founding of the Hebrew publishing house Hasefer: One of Hasefer’s first volumes, issued in 1923, was a slim collection of Jabotinsky’s Hebrew poetry translations. In it were selections from Poe and D’Annunzio, the whole of Fitzgerald’s Rubaiyat, and […]

Mind the gap

Our previous post in the Chinglish Annals was "Mind your head " (8/28/15).  As promised, in this post we turn to the other extremity of the body. The following sign is displayed on vessels of the Shanghai Ferry service: Zhùyì g?od? kòngdàng ?????? ("note the level / height of the gap") More often, however, we […]

English Listening Practice: 50+ Brilliant Resources for ESL Learners

English can be a tricky language to learn. It’s full of weird spellings and strange pronunciations. As such, good English listening resources are really helpful for English learners. That’s why I’ve put together this collection of English listening resources – to help you become a better listener as you improve your English. Show More Summary


From Stan Carey: Unselfishlessly via @IsMise_Dixie cc @StanCarey — Ciarán Ferrie (@ccferrie) August 31, 2015 There are surprisingly many instances of unselfishlessly Out There. Presumably these are a sort of blend of unselfishly and selflessly, with (un)selfishness cheering from the sidelines, and the spirit of misnegation watching over all.  

Superior Complements, Superior Adjuncts

Adam is a high-school freshman this year, and is now a member of the school’s marching band. Over the weekend, I had to take him in to get measured for his bibbers and jacket. While he was busy with the band’s uniform chair, I noticed this message on the whiteboard in the uniform room: I […]

Finger drumming

I don't have much time this morning, so I'll just point you toward a fun post by Joe Pater on finger drumming. He focuses on iOS apps, and writes that I worry that Android users may be out of luck – I’ve tried a few apps on a couple different phones, and I found them unusable […]

Charles Tomlinson, RIP.

I was shocked to learn from wood s lot that the wonderful poet Charles Tomlinson has died. As Michael Yong’s Bristol Post obituary says: He was one of the first English men of letters to appreciate the great achievements of the American poets of the mid-20th century, particularly the work of William Carlos Williams, Marianne […]

A forbidden usage?

Q: ?I have an ongoing dispute with the blogger Eugene Volokh? over his use of “forbid from,” as in “You are forbidden from selling marijuana.” To me, the acceptable formulation is “You are forbidden to sell marijuana.” That seems to concord with the KJV Bible. A: In her grammar and usage book Woe Is I... ? Read More: A forbidden usage?

Discrimination against Arabic in Algeria?

Attention conservation notice: The story below is probably being promoted as a distraction, to keep Algerians talking about language instead of about what happens when a succession crisis combines with a fall in oil prices, in a state almost entirely dependent on oil revenue. Show More Summary

American Politices: The pending expletive shortage

Charles Piere, "Hillary Clinton Has Run Out of Fcks to Give", Esquire 8/282015: My goodness, the special snowflakes of the elite political media are all a'quiver because Hillary Rodham Clinton, who is running for president of the United States, has decided to talk like somebody who wants to be president of the United States, which […]

The Micheal Breathnach Club.

I read Dan Barry’s long NY Times story on hurling because of my interest in Ireland, and I was pleased by “The Connemara team, from the Micheal Breathnach club in Inverin (named after an early-20th-century Irish writer, in keeping with this country’s celebration of the word)…” I’d enjoy rooting for the Mets even more if […]

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