Writing

Logophile Tuesdays – Pronoun Problems

Logophile Tuesdays – Pronoun Problems

There has recently been another kerfuffle over the complexities involved with attempting to adapt the gender-binary nature of our language to a more inclusive format. In short, someone asserted that “they” shouldn’t be used as a gender-neutral singular pronoun. Others disagreed. I fall somewhere in the middle on the linguistic debate. “They” can be and is used to refe... »

Logophile Tuesdays: Portwomanteau

Logophile Tuesdays: Portwomanteau

Anne brought to my attention, this week, the use of an appalling portmanteau: “womenpreneurs.” This is unclear if this is a more grievous offence to women, or language. I would argue that it is a worse crime against the latter. Regarding women, it is simply adding gender to a term that was previously fairly gender-neutral and celebrating the long tradition of reminding ladies that prof... »

Logophile Tuesday – Verbal Irony

Logophile Tuesday – Verbal Irony

Perhaps my favorite form of wordplay is clever verbal irony. That is, simple phrases that are internally contradictory in delightfully evocative ways. Douglas Adams introduced me to the joy of this in the »

Logophile Tuesday – Contronyms

Logophile Tuesday – Contronyms

A few weeks ago, I complained that “literally” had lost its original meaning and was now its own antonym. Thanks to fellow language lovers, I learned there is a word for that: contronym. A contronym is a word that is its own opposite. While I was aware of “literally,” and it annoyed me, there were many more that I had not considered. Here for your pondering pleasure, a shor... »

Logophile Tuesday – Proofreading

Logophile Tuesday – Proofreading

Anne passed me a little poetic performance Taylor Mali that belongs in our collection of linguistic ruminations. It is a careful reflection on the impotence of proofreading. Enjoy. »

Sofia Kovalevskaya: Love Makes All the Partial Difference

Sofia Kovalevskaya: Love Makes All the Partial Difference

Everybody needs love, but for some the striving after it so dominates their every action and decision that it becomes impossible to ever truly find. Veering between professions, friendships, and lovers, their desire for perfect love driving away by its intensity anybody who might have offered it, those possessed by such a need rarely live happily or end well, but their lives dazzle as against the ... »

Logophile Tuesdays: Could you care less?

Logophile Tuesdays: Could you care less?

Language is a fluid and evolving thing with meaning and usage changing at the merciless whims of fashion, culture, and time. There are some words and phrases, though, that have mutated into hideous monstrosoties and should be culled from the collective consciousness. “Literally” has been abused so violently in big fish stories that it almost unusable for its original purpose. Once valu... »

Logophile Tuesday: A Skulk of Trolls

Logophile Tuesday: A Skulk of Trolls

I am a fan of the absurdities contained within the English language. Collective nouns, for example, are delightfully entertaining and almost entirely pointless. The serve nearly no linguistic use, and there is certainly no need to have a different one for every countable noun that might bother to gather in numbers exceeding two. Some favorites: An observance of hermits A mess of iguanas An exaltat... »

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