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Garbanzo.

Patrick Taylor, etymologist for the American Heritage Dictionary, is an occasional commenter at LH and always has interesting things to say, so I’m pleased to pass along his excellent revision to the etymology of garbanzo, to appear in the AHD update this fall (I found it in Steve Kleinedler’s Facebook feed): [Spanish, perhaps alteration (influenced […]

Participial physics

Q: Driving myself nuts over this sentence :”Not having heard of it, I was confused.” What is “having”? We have a present participle followed by a past participle! Please help this struggling English grammar teacher. A: In that sentence, “having” is an auxiliary verb (sometimes called a “helping verb”). Show More Summary

He's (very) good / well / fine in Mandarin and Cantonese

When I first started learning Mandarin in 1967, one of the things that troubled me most about Chinese grammar was the fact that when I wanted to say "He's fine / good / well", I couldn't just say t? h?o ?? ("he [is] good"), I had to say t? h?n h?o ??? ("he [is] very […]

Spelling vs. Pronunciation

Casey from Gaylord asked why some words are spelled one way, but pronounced another. He used the word colonel as an example. In some cases, a word comes into English through more than one route. It may then retain the spelling of one, but favor the pronunciation of the other. Show More Summary

The Beasts at Ephesus.

John Cowan sent me a link to Daniel Frayer-Griggs, “The Beasts at Ephesus and the Cult of Artemis,” Harvard Theological Review 106 (2013): 459-477, a detailed exegesis of 1 Cor 15:32, which begins “?? ???? ???????? ??????µ????? ?? ?????, ?? µ?? ?? ??????;” The King James Bible renders the full sentence “If after the manner […]

How the Mama feels when she hugs her boy. http://t.co/I2tbkHxuoO

How the Mama feels when she hugs her boy. http://t.co/I2tbkHxuoO http://twitter.com/GrantBarrett/status/609898983150850049

Gluckschmerz.

Yesterday’s WSJ has an enjoyable column by Ben Cohen describing a word, or quasi-word, or pseudo-word, that was new to me: There are few words in any language as fun to say as schadenfreude. Its etymology is easy to understand. Schadenfreude, the pleasure in someone else’s pain, comes from the German words for those exact […]

Baby alpaca!

via Instagram http://ift.tt/1ebx7MX

Free idea: one-use pharmacy ATM signature pens.

Free idea: one-use pharmacy ATM signature pens. http://twitter.com/GrantBarrett/status/609487241409363970

Patriotes, faites plus quoi?

In the neighborhood where I'm staying in Paris, one of the most common graffiti is a blue croix de Lorraine, sometimes with associated text. The cross is of course a religious and nationalistic symbol, and the text is generally interpretable as anti-immigrant. (Click on the image to see a larger version, with more context.) And […]

the idiot with the leaf-blower is harshing my coffee euphoria this morning

the idiot with the leaf-blower is harshing my coffee euphoria this morning http://twitter.com/GrantBarrett/status/609397845846851584

We Asked, You Answered: Why Learn a Foreign Language?

Have you ever wondered “Why learn a foreign language?” I recently asked members of the Fluent in 3 Months community their reasons for learning a new language. The response was amazing! Over 200 language learners chimed in with a startling variety of answers. Show More Summary

How French is your onion soup?

Q: Can you shed some light on the origin of the term “French onion soup”? A colleague of mine claims that the word “French” refers not to the origin of the soup but rather to the manner in which the onions are chopped (“frenched”). A: Well, the onions in French onion soup are often frenched—that... ? Read More: How French is your onion soup?

Out with the newspaper, in with the gender-neutral title!

A newspaper closes its doors but a linguistic window opens! Allie Severin thinks the shutdown of mX could mean good things for Australian English.

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Changing Languages.

Aidan Doyle, author of the forthcoming A History of the Irish Language, has a mini-rant at OUPBlog that begins: In the literature on language death and language renewal, two cases come up again and again: Irish and Hebrew. Mention of the former language is usually attended by a whiff of disapproval. It was abandoned relatively […]

The time machine had two choices: go back and kill Hitler, and go back and punch the person who invented word clouds, and for a moment…

The time machine had two choices: go back and kill Hitler, and go back and punch the person who invented word clouds, and for a moment… http://twitter.com/GrantBarrett/status/609131687558139906

“Code is inert. How do you make it ert?” http://t.co/7iFNcKgFJ2

“Code is inert. How do you make it ert?” http://t.co/7iFNcKgFJ2 http://twitter.com/GrantBarrett/status/609071385634349056

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