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Melissa Fong: Xenophobics out to get Chinese-language Acupuncturists AKA Idiots volunteering to be discriminatory, racist idiots

  Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medicine that Canadians have the PRIVILEGE of using as an alternative medicine. But some idiots who VOLUNTEER to see an acupuncturist wants to enforce […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Feetish or Fettish?

I was surprised to recently read in David Crystal’s book, The Story of English in 100 Words, that fetish – which I pronounce “feh-tesh” – was once pronounced “feetish.” In fact, in the 1920s, Crystal writes, the BBC had that pronunciation in its guide for radio broadcasters.* It makes sense, of course, when you think […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: What’s in a missing word?

There’s a line in one of Horace’s epistles that really caught my eye. In Latin it reads: Utque sacerdotis fugitiuus liba recuso, pane egeo iam mellitis potiore placentis Horace: Epistles, Book I, X No, I can’t translate it.* However, I was reading David Ferry’s 2001 translation and he renders it like this: I’m like that […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Amo, Amas, Amat…. and what?

My well-thumbed copy of Eugene Ehrlich’s book, Amo, Amas, Amat and More, is dated 1985. It’s amusingly subtitled “How to Use Latin to Your Own Advantage and to the Astonishment of Others.” It’s still in print, it seems, or was as recently as 2006. I’ve read my copy on and off for the past 25-plus […]

In This Corner: It would actually be awesome if we stopped using ‘no worries’.

I’m the kind of guy who just wants to make the world a better place (mostly for me). But I can’t do this by myself, of course. I’m only one barely employed, mostly unemployable, rapidly aging male, so I’ll need your help. My goal today is to eliminate three common phrases or words that are bothering me. The only way I can do this is with your help, which you can do by stopping the use of these three words or phrases.

1. ACTUALLY

A word that has gained a great deal of currency of late is ‘actually’. Keep your (Read more…)

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Saving Fubsy from Lexicographical Caliginosity

Cousin Stephen, you will never be a saint. Isle of saints. You were awfully holy, weren’t you? You prayed to the Blessed Virgin that you might not have a red nose. You prayed to the devil in Serpentine avenue that the fubsy widow in front might lift her clothes still more from the wet street. […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Dictionaries: Concise, Compact, and dacoit

Dacoit: noun; one of a class of criminals in India and Burma who rob and murder in roving gangs. A member of a band of armed robbers in India or Burma. A bandit. Origin: Hindi and Urdu. I love dictionaries. I like opening them up to a random page and just reading, discovering words and […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: The Weird World of Plotto

I came across Plotto a few years back – references to it in other works, rather than the actual book. it sounded strange, complex and wildly over-reaching. I couldn’t find one – it was long out of print. It wasn’t until I got my own copy that I realized how really odd, clumsy – and […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: These Poolish Things…

Poolish. Levain. Banneton. Biga. Autolyse. Retardation. Lactobaccilli. Bassinage. Windowpane test. Crumb. Batard. Barm. A new vocabulary is building in me, one that brings the lore of breadmaking, the etymology of the loaf to my conversation.* It’s a necessary vocabulary, if one wants to fully understand the techniques and technology of baking bread. Knowing the names of things gives […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: The Fretful Porpentine

Like quills upon the fretful porpentine. That phrase just makes the modern reader stop and wonder. What, you ask yourself, is a porpentine? And why is it fretful? We never learn, although later interpreters would knowingly tell us a porpentine is a porcupine in today’s argot. Porcupine itself dervices from the Old or Middle French […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: The Circuitous Path from Bulge to Budget

If tinkers may have leave to live, And bear the sow-skin budget, Then my account I well may, give, And in the stocks avouch it. Autolycus in The Winter’s Tale, Act IV, Sc. III, Shakespeare These lines got me thinking about the town’s finances. Sow-skin budget? What does that mean? And how does that relate to […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Words, words, words

Writing before the arrival of the internet*, Bob Blackburn commented on the nature of exchange on then-prevalent BBS (Bulletin Board Systems), words that could as easily be written today about the internet: “…the BBS medium reveals not only a widespread inability to use English as a means of communication but also a widespread ignorance of […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Poor Lao Tzu: He Gets Blamed for So Much

Poor Lao Tzu. He gets saddled with the most atrocious of the New Age codswallop. As if it wasn’t enough to be for founder of one of the most obscure philosophies (not a religion, since it has no deity), he gets to be the poster boy for all sorts of twaddle from people who clearly […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: The (sometimes violent) urge to write

As of this writing, I will have published 253 posts since I began this blog at the ending week of December, 2011. Two hundred and fifty three posts in 21 months. Just over one post every two-and-a-half days, on average. Plus 30 or so still in draft mode. Another half-dozen scribbled in word processing notes […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Why Spelling Matters

Sometimes I despair when I surf through the social media. Technology has empowered everyone to be able to comment, to post their stories, to share their opinion. Yet it has not enabled their ability to compose a sentence, or to spell the words correctly. It has not made us better grammarians, better spellers. And in […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Should Latin Return to Ontario Schools?

When I was a young lad, all I ever wanted to be was a paleontologist. Dinosaurs were the most important thing in my life until around age 14 or 15. That’s when I barely scraped through my high-school Latin course. After that, my interests shifted to other, more attainable career goals. Basic Latin was, at […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde

After reading the play by Shakespeare last week, I decided to tackle Chaucer’s epic 8,000-line poem about the Trojan lovers, Troilus and Cressida (or Criseyde as Chaucer writes it). It’s a long, somewhat meandering piece that begins, in the Online Medieval … Continue reading →

mark a rayner | scribblings, squibs & sundry monkey joys: The Zen of Proofreading

Sponsored post note: I used Grammarly to grammar check this post, because my cybernetic monkey helpers were away at pirate camp. I remember a couple of things about my study of Zen. The first was the importance of “beginner’s mind”. … Continue reading →

Chadwick's Blog & Commentary: Not All Words Are Equal, or Used Equally

There’s an economic principle known as the rule of fungibility that states a commodity is equivalent to other units of the same commodity. For example, a litre of gasoline is the same commodity regardless of the brand or source. A … Continue reading →

knitnut.net: When words turn bad

The other day I was on a conference call and we were discussing which tags and keywords should be included in a collaborative online database.

The terms “substance use” and “harm reduction” were both on the list. I suggested we add “addiction.”

Some other people on the call said that we don’t use that term anymore, because it’s considered stigmatizing. Nowadays we prefer the term “substance use.”

I deferred to their expertise and dropped it, but I keep thinking about it. Not about addiction per se, but about how and why language changes. We decide a certain (Read more…)

The Canadian Progressive | News & Analysis: New York Times reconsidering the term ‘illegal immigrant’

By: Obert Madondo | The Canadian Progressive: Last week, the Associated Press ditched the demeaning and exclusionary term “illegal immigrant”. Jose Antonio Vargas, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who outed himself as an undocumented immigrant in 2011, responded with: “It was inevitable. It was just a matter of time.” The New York Times called the [...]

The post New York Times reconsidering the term ‘illegal immigrant’ appeared first on The Canadian Progressive | News & Analysis.

Chadwick's Blog & Commentary: Enter Christopher Marlowe – Again

Back in the late 1990s, I wrote an essay about the “controversy” over who actually wrote the works of Shakespeare. I wrote, then, Not everyone agrees that Shakespeare wrote Shakespeare. The challenge to his authorship isn’t new: for the last … Continue reading →

The Canadian Progressive | News & Analysis: Journey of Nishiyuu: A quest to solidify bonds between First Nations

A quest undertaken by the youth of Great Whale to solidify the traditional bonds between First Nations By: Chief Stan George Accompanied by one experienced guide, 6 youths from the community of Great Whale, located in Northern Quebec on the shores of Hudson’s Bay, have commenced a sacred quest that is [...]

The post Journey of Nishiyuu: A quest to solidify bonds between First Nations appeared first on The Canadian Progressive | News & Analysis.

Chadwick's Blog & Commentary: The Consolation of Literature

For Boethius, it was the Consolation of Philosophy*. For me, it’s literature. Not to write about it so much as to read it. Consolation from the act of reading. And read about literature. Sometimes literature is made more meaningful, brought … Continue reading →

Chadwick's Blog & Commentary: 10,000 words too many

Been working the last two-and-a-half months on my latest book for Municipal World. A bit of a challenge, actually – trying to combine marketing, branding, advertising, public relations and communications topics into one coherent yet succinct package has been difficult. … Continue reading →