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Cities Less Traveled: Discover a Different Naples

Naples, Italy is famous for many things: from pizza to Pompeii and more. If you are taking a flight to Naples, you might want to check out some of the not-so-famous foods and attractions for an exciting and unique take on the city. A stay in a one-of-a-kind Naples hotel will make your trip even more special. Show More Summary

LOL International: Txt Spk Around the World

LOL was added to the Oxford English Dictionary in 2011. Even so, some of us struggle to understand text speak in our own language. The British Prime Minister David Cameron somehow believed LOL meant “lots of love”. Being fluent in a language is all about fitting in. Show More Summary

Bring the calvary

David Donnell's friend from Urbana drew his attention to the trailer for Furious 7, where Dwayne Johnson pronounces cavalry as ['kæl.v?.?i]: Your browser does not support the audio element. Michelle Rodriguez: Hey, did ya bring the cavalry? Dwayne Johnson: Woman, I AM the calvary. David comments: Now, before I actually viewed the trailer, I argued that […]

If only …

Q: I’m confused about the tense of verbs in “if only” sentences. For example: “The world would be better if only people would understand each other.” Does this sound OK to you? A: The phrase “if only” is used in this hypothetical way “to express a strong wish that things could be different,” according to... ? Read More: If only …

Is a Hashtag a Word? The Case of #BlackLivesMatter.

Well, I didn't manage to get an emoticon of the year vote added to the American Dialect Society's annual Word of the Year award (there’s always next year!), but we did end up with a new category that's almost as interesting: Most Notable...Show More Summary

Is It Kosher to “Drink the Kool-Aid”?

A fuller linguistic arsenal leads to richer, chewier, more diverse expression—but when is the usefulness of a piece of language outweighed by the pain it causes? In “Is That Kosher?” we reflect on certain words or phrases that lie in the margins of acceptability. One thing about starting a column on idioms that haunt the P.C. Show More Summary

Ossetian verbs: a table and flashcard set

The following table of 203 Ossetian verbs with their principal parts and transitivity is derived from F. M. Takazov’s textbook ??????????? ??????????? ????? (???????????, «???????», 2012). All verbs in Takazov’s list, with the exception...Show More Summary

The Long and Fascinating History of Quotation Marks

Andrew Heisel’s Lexicon Valley article last year on single versus double quotation marks piqued the interest of Keith Houston, author of Shady Characters: The Secret Life of Punctuation, Symbols, and Other Typographical Marks. What...Show More Summary

How to Write Dirty Tongue Twisters

This post originally appeared on Strong Language, a sweary blog about swearing. First off, let’s all agree that a big part of the fun of dirty tongue twisters is that you’re trying not to say a dirty word. The dirty word is justShow More Summary

Don’t Try So Hard.

Anne Trafton of the MIT News Office had a report last July on an interesting study: In a new study, a team of neuroscientists and psychologists led by Amy Finn, a postdoc at MIT’s McGovern Institute for Brain Research, has found evidence for another factor that contributes to adults’ language difficulties: When learning certain elements […]

We're back

Yesterday afternoon, a popular link from the Washington Post (Ana Swanson, "The equivalent of “It’s all Greek to me” in 30 other languages", Wonkblog 3/25/2015) caused a spike in LLOG page views; this happened to cause a disk drive to fill up, because the back-end database server was keeping binary logs of all transactions; this […]

The Craptastic History of Sh-t Show

When my brother and his wife threw a birthday party last year for their youngest daughter, seven or eight preschoolers, along with most of their parents, arrived at 2 p.m. on a Saturday. As midafternoon merriment gave way to late afternoon...Show More Summary

Why We Shouldn’t Reclaim Slut

Since the riot grrrl feminist punk rock movement of the early 1990s, when Kathleen Hanna of the band Bikini Kill wrote SLUT on her stomach in lipstick, feminists have attempted to wrest control of the label “slut.” Instead of being shamed for our sexuality, the thinking has been, let’s take ownership of this label and subvert its meanings. Show More Summary

When Did Books Get Page Numbers—and Are They Even Useful Anymore?

Open any Western book, and one of the first right-hand pages will contain the title and author, along with the name of the publisher and maybe place and year of publication. It didn’t use to be that way. If you look at manuscripts before the days of printing, such niceties as title and author were nowhere in sight. Show More Summary

How Do You Spell the Abbreviation of Casual?

Here at Lexicon Valley we like to describe rather than prescribe, ruminate rather than ordain or decree. We are the contemplative cows chewing over the cud of language use, not the woodpeckers hammering our preferences home. And yet....Show More Summary

Hipmunk City Love: Best of San Diego Spa Hotels

San Diego is an easy city to fall in love with because of its incredible climate, spectacular scenery, and many activities and attractions. Finding the right place to stay during a visit is not so easy. You'll find a plethora of hotels in San Diego. Show More Summary

What I Learned About Language When I Titled My Novel The Book of Negroes

The title of my novel, The Book of Negroes, has undergone a series of changes since HarperCollins Canada published it eight years ago. The original name resurrects a long-forgotten British naval ledger used to document the exodus of 3,000 African Americans from Manhattan. Show More Summary

KATCHOW! How to Write Sounds in Comics

If a tree falls in the forest in a comic book, but no one is around to write, does it make a sound? Comics are a visual medium, but sound is an essential element of the "imaginary space" their creators are building, at least according to Lee Marrs, author of the Pudge, Girl Blimp series and a "founding mommy" of Wimmen’s Comix. Show More Summary

Mari words in Cheung’s Studies in the Historical Development of the Ossetic Vocalism

J. L. Cheung’s Studies in the Historical Development of the Ossetic Vocalism (Wiesbaden, Reichert Verlag, 2002), which goes well beyond what its title suggests, is in many respects an updating or refinement of Abaev’s Ossetian etymological dictionary. Show More Summary

The Winding Circumlocutions of Schitt’s Creek Reviews

This post originally appeared on Strong Language, a sweary blog about swearing. Schitt's Creek. There. I said it. Which is more than David Bianculli, TV critic for NPR’s Fresh Air, was able to do on Tuesday in his review of this new sitcom. Show More Summary

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