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English Language and Usage
May 11, 2011 11:25 AM   Subscribe

Linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts, check out free Q&A site English Language and Usage.

Some interesting questions:
“I am friends with many manly men. And Gary.”

What is the etymology of “cornhole”?

How do you quote a passage that has used '[sic]' mistakenly?

Believe you me, I have a question.

Apart from place names, are there any Native American words used in English?

Is there any other way you can “wax” as you do when you “wax philosophical”?

Should I use 10 cent words or $2 words?
posted by Foci for Analysis (20 comments total) 67 users marked this as a favorite

 
Neat. Thanks for posting :)
posted by New England Cultist at 11:31 AM on May 11, 2011


How do you quote a passage that has used '[sic]' mistakenly?

That is a great question.
posted by Faint of Butt at 11:39 AM on May 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


Why would an English-only site appeal to linguists?
posted by DU at 11:41 AM on May 11, 2011


How do you quote a passage that has used '[sic]' mistakenly?


Hmm. As a coder I am drawn to the clarity of [sic][sic], but I think I would footnote it.
posted by shothotbot at 11:43 AM on May 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


I like [sic[sic]] the best.
posted by nile_red at 11:53 AM on May 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


Linguists are rarely prescriptivists, and prescriptivists are rarely linguists, so a lot of the 'proper usage' questions would raise some hackles.
posted by ernielundquist at 11:53 AM on May 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm not a linguist. Does that make my run-away prescriptivism acceptable? Hurray! Now I don't feel so bad about inflicting it on my kids!
posted by wenestvedt at 12:09 PM on May 11, 2011


Tautologically cool.
posted by clavdivs at 12:19 PM on May 11, 2011


The "believe you me" section quotes a lot of old/archaic English precedent, but I've always heard it as a NewYorkism/Yiddishism, usually preceded by "Oy". Convergent evolution, perhaps?
posted by Quietgal at 12:22 PM on May 11, 2011


No assurance that what is offered is trustworthy but rather opinion based upon a stated view. If you go to style/usage books, for instance, they usually cite where their opinion derives from and give examples of usage...Here you get an anonymous suggestion. Is the opinion by a linguist, a copy editor, an educated book reader, or a part-time grad instructor, or some snippy wise guy like me?
posted by Postroad at 12:46 PM on May 11, 2011


Is the opinion by a linguist, a copy editor, an educated book reader, or a part-time grad instructor, or some snippy wise guy like me?

Its based on the same Q/A with scoring system as StackOverflow, so I think the idea is that over the longer term the proper answers will be upvoted by the community. Good answers on the site often quote their sources. And as language is 'open-source' (as in, correct use is defined by the community at large) that kinda makes sense.
posted by memebake at 1:05 PM on May 11, 2011


No assurance that what is offered is trustworthy but rather opinion based upon a stated view.

That's all that usage rules are, though, really.

Nobody has any authority to dictate how the English language is used, except in limited circumstances where they're paying or grading someone to phrase things a specific way.
posted by ernielundquist at 1:08 PM on May 11, 2011


Why would an English-only site appeal to linguists?

Monolingual fledgeling linguist here...I'm appealed! Why? For now, I study English only (but not English-only) and there's plenty treasure left in the weirdness is the English language to keep us non-documentarians and monoglots up drawing trees and flagging down garden paths in a minute I think. In other words, English is like cats are weird!

This site is neat and I like, like, like it.
posted by iamkimiam at 1:17 PM on May 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


Why would an English-only site appeal to linguists?

Why would it not?!

Besides, believe me the appeal is there even for bilingual purposes. I'm a translator and if I need to translate a particular phrase or idiom or slang or colloquialism or proverb or anything of the sort, a website like this (and like the Phrase Finder that was already posted here a while ago) is an incredibly useful resource, in some ways even better than any mono or bilingual dictionary. The more I know about context, etymology, use, etc. the better I can translate the kind of phrase that may not have an equivalent in the other language. Bonus points for the Q&A format.

I just had a quick look and I'm impressed at how detailed answers are really.

Although to be honest I can get addicted to browsing the questions just out of pure curiosity.
posted by bitteschoen at 1:40 PM on May 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


The "believe you me" section quotes a lot of old/archaic English precedent, but I've always heard it as a NewYorkism/Yiddishism, usually preceded by "Oy" ...

I doubt it. I'm from rural southern Virginia, and I've heard this often enough. Here, though, it's often preceded by "Oh," never "Oy."
posted by nangar at 2:25 PM on May 11, 2011


How do you quote a passage that has used '[sic]' mistakenly?

I believe the correct form is [sic] [wtf].
posted by Crane Shot at 3:06 PM on May 11, 2011 [6 favorites]


I thought it was [sic] [ubu] [sic] [good dog] [woof].
posted by Errant at 4:45 PM on May 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


You lie.
You are lying.
You are not to lie.
I do not mind lying, but I hate inaccuracy.
posted by toodleydoodley at 5:33 PM on May 11, 2011


One of stackexchange's founders has expressed a fondness (answer 11) for a familiar website.
posted by underflow at 7:37 PM on May 11, 2011


The questions are great, but holy hell, is the layout confusing. Answers! Footnotes on answers! Footnotes on the OP, too -- many of which are collapsed! RATINGS EVERYWHERE. And it's all freely editable. What a slog.
posted by Rhaomi at 8:22 PM on May 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


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