Category Archives: Language

Separated by a common language


I have a guest post on Elaine Swift’s Word Alchemy blog, about some of the differences between American and British English. The first time I ended up on Elaine’s blog, I found myself giggling about her article “A few little … Continue reading

Posted in Elsewhere on the Web, Language | Leave a comment

I didn’t know there was a word for that


If a duel is combat or a contest between two people, what do you call it when there are three people involved? Nancy Friedman points us to the word we need: truel. Used mostly in game theory, truel was coined … Continue reading

Posted in Language, Word Choice | 1 Comment

A random question about how expressions change


When did "boat-load" and "buck-naked" become "butt-load" and "butt-naked?" Could they become "booty-load" and "booty-naked?" (Cross-posted at Dispatches from Outland.)

Posted in Humor, Language | 4 Comments

Language: The stuff of thought


Here’s a linguist, Steven Pinker, giving a talk that begins to explain why the messages we send are more than just the words we say, but how we say them. In my last post, I said the way to be … Continue reading

Posted in Language, Video | Leave a comment