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 […]
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.
A word that has gained a great deal of currency of late is ‘actually’. Keep your (Read more…)
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. […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 →
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 →
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…)
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.
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 →
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.
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 →
What is propaganda? The word gets thrown around easily by people who obviously mean “anything we dislike or don’t agree with.” It’s a pejorative often used by a small group to describe anything official that any level of government puts … Continue reading →
Foolosopher. What a wonderful word. Not much in use these days, but it ought to be. It is a portmanteau word, first used in English way back in 1549*, according to my copy of the Concise Oxford English Dictionary. It … Continue reading →
Arigata-meiwaku (Japanese): An act someone does for you that you didn’t want to have them do and tried to avoid having them do, but they went ahead anyway, determined to do you a favor, and then things went wrong and caused you a lot of trouble, yet in the end social conventions required you to express gratitude
via 25 Handy Words That Simply Don’t Exist In English | So Bad So Good.
For more handy words, click on the link above.
Filed under: Interesting Tagged: language