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Scripturient: A Sense of Pinker’s Style

I share one of Steven Pinker’s passions: I like to read style books, grammar books, language books. To me, they’re like literary chemistry sets. When I was young, getting a chemistry set for Christmas or a birthday opened a whole world to … . . . → Read More: Scripturient: A Sense of Pinker’s Style

Scripturient: Where Have The Real Heroes Gone?

Heroes, it sometimes seems, have been relegated to legend and myth. There are none left, none of the sort I used to associate with the name. Not in the media, anyway. The word has been so abused in the media over the last century, tossed about in such a cavalier manner that it has lost […]

Scripturient: Boccaccio’s Decameron

I never read The Decameron in any original, or complete translation. I have a bowdlerized edition I read in part some time ago, perhaps the 1970s. I recall seeing an art film based on the book, in the 1970s (directed Pier Pasolini). But I can’t recall it in any detail, except that it was subtitled. […]

Scripturient: The Venereal Game

The Venereal Game is the provocative subtitle of James Lipton’s 1968 classic, An Exaltation of Larks (reprinted in 1977, and later expanded in the 1993 “ultimate” edition). Venereal, in this sense, comes from venery which in turn comes from the Latin venari, to hunt or pursue, rather from the sexual connotation.* The collective nouns in much of […]

Scripturient: The Road Not Taken

I was surprised to read a recent piece in the New York Post that suggests a poem I have long loved was actually not what I thought it was about. It was one of those epiphanies that made me reassess my attitude not only towards the poem but towards what I had assumed it meant. […]

Alberta Politics: Memo from The Old Copy Editor: The offensive flag in question is not ‘the Stars ‘n’ Bars’

PHOTOS: An offensive symbol on the front of a Canadian truck, right here in Alberta. The Old Copy Editor reminds readers that this is not the Stars ’n’ Bars. Below: HMCS Iroquois back in the day when she still had a gun on her foredeck. The Old Copy Editor reminds readers that there is no […]

The post Memo from The Old Copy Editor: The offensive flag in question is not ‘the Stars ‘n’ Bars’ appeared first on Alberta Politics.

Scripturient: Propaganda?

Last term, when council sent out community newsletters to keep residents informed, the illiterati screamed these were ‘propaganda’ and a waste of tax dollars.* Now this council has done the same thing and these nattering nabobs of negativity have raised their voices and screamed… nothing. Their silence is deafening. Well, they wouldn’t want to embarrass their friends […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Prenzie Scamels

Four hundred years after he wrote them, we still use in everyday speech the many words and phrases Shakespeare coined. He gave us so many, it would be difficult, if not impossible, to list them all here. But two words he wrote have stopped us dead: prenzie and scamels. What do they mean? Were they more […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Bad Designs

I’m not a graphic designer. I was not formally educated in that art. However, over the years, my jobs in editing and writing for books, newspapers, magazines and publishers have required me to learn the rudiments of layout, typography and design. I am the first to admit my design talent is merely adequate. Despite that, […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Me, Myself and I Redux

At Collingwood Council meetings, you will always hear someone say “Moved by myself…” when presenting a motion at the table.* Argh! Where did these people go to school? Clearly our education system has failed us if people were raised to say that. And this is in the public record, too. To me it’s like nails on […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Defining Classical Music

I listen to classical music a lot, even more than before since the arrival of the new classical FM station in Collingwood. But while my listening at home is through a selected collection of CDs, the content played on radio – internet radio included – is more eclectic. Airplay often includes soundtracks, music from musicals, even […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Lovecraft’s Tales of Terror

No new horror can be more terrible than the daily torture of the commonplace. Ex Oblivione, 1921. Along with Edgar Rice Burroughs, my teenage reading covered a lot of genres, but I gravitated to scifi and fantasy. Fantasy in those days didn’t offer the same overflowing bookshelves of cookie-cutter tales we find in today’s bookstores. But they […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Thurber’s Writings & Drawings

Books of James Thurber‘s cartoons and writing were always on the shelves at my grandparents’ home, as well as on my parents’ bookshelves. I read them, as I did everything else on those shelves, when I was quite young. I still remember his odd, eccentric cartoons with their primitive lines but sharp and bizarre wit, although […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: The Bully Pulpit

“I suppose my critics will call that preaching, but I have got such a bully pulpit!” US President Theodore Roosevelt uttered those words in office (reported in the February 27, 1909, issue of The Outlook magazine), coining the phrase ‘bully pulpit’ in referring to the presidency as an ideal platform from which to expound his […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Happy Talk

A recent study proved an old notion – the Pollyanna Hypothesis – that there is a “universal human tendency to ‘look on and talk about the bright side of life’” according to a team of scientists at the University of Vermont. The story was reported on Science Daily recently. Reading through newspapers, magazines, websites, music lyrics and […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Rights Without Responsibility

“Why do online spaces often feel so fractious?” asks Helen Lewis in a thought-provoking opinion piece in The Guardian last week. It’s something I’ve been pondering for many years. It’s not just the internet, or even social media, nor is it our increasingly uncivil and impolite society: it’s the technology that seems to be dividing […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Saying Happy Holidays is Acceptable

This time of year we get inundated on Facebook and Twitter with this sort of stupid, offensive warning about saying “happy holidays” or “season’s greetings” instead of Merry Christmas. A couple of these appeared in a few hours just today, and there will be more, no doubt. Sorry, but it’s just xenophobic hogwash; an uncomfortably fundamentalist and […]

Dead Wild Roses: You Can’t Say That in English! – Untranslatable Words.


I’m a big fan of the German word – whenever I pick up tools, verschlimmbessern is often the result. :>


Filed under: Education Tagged: Ethnosphere, Helpful Infographics, Language, Things You Can’t Say In English

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Words, Your Brain and Sex

One of the reasons I’m a dedicated librocubularist* can be found in a story on IFL Science that is headlined, “Learning New Words Activates The Same Brain Regions As Sex And Drugs.” It opens: While it doesn’t get much better than sex and drugs for many out there, new research has found that simply learning […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: On the hustings

I’ve been going door-to-door for the past few weeks in my campaign for re-election. Stumping on the hustings, as it’s called in Canada. Or at least that’s how I’ve always heard it used. Hustings is an odd, old word, an anachronism that survives, seemingly, only in the world of politics. It comes from the days […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Is the Internet making us stupid? Or just shallow?

In my never-ending search for some bit of knowledge one day, during a mix-and-match of search engine terms while looking for classical writers’ views on death and dying, I stumbled onto what might have been an off-kilter New Age site, OM Times, or more likely, a parody of the genre. On the page titled “8 […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Abusing quotation marks

What goes through your mind when you see words in a paragraph or a sentence surrounded by quotation marks? Like that sign in the image on your left? That they are words excerpted from conversations or written content? Or that they are special; peculiar words, or perhaps used ironically, sarcastically or in jest? Take these examples […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: What’s in a (Popular) Name?

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose By any other name would smell as sweet.” Juliet, in Romeo and Juliet (II, ii, 1-2) A recent article in The Atlantic about how our names impact our lives got me to thinking about how and why we name our children – and what they […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Ruthful, funct and doleless

Why can’t someone be clueful, only clueless? Hapful, not simply hapless? Aweless instead of just awful? Ruthful not merely ruthless? Doleless, not just doleful? Gormful, not just gormless? We can be thoughtful or thoughtless, careful or careless, mindful and mindless. Why not ruthful and gormful? Why not the qualities of ruthiness, gormliness and doleliness? Can […]

Dead Wild Roses: So, You Wanted To Learn Another Language…

Funny things found on tumblr.

spanish and italian: So THESE words are feminine and THESE words are masculine, and you ALWAYS put an adjective AFTER the noun. french: haha i dont fuckin know man just do whatever german: LET’S ADD A NEUTRAL NOUN HAHA english: *shooting up in the bathroom* gaelic: the pronunciation changes depending on the gender and what letter the word starts and ends with and hahah i dont even know good fucking luck polish: here have all of these consonants have fun japanese: subject article noun article verb. too bad there’s three fucking alphabets lmao hope (Read more…)