Grind. Endless drudgery. Too much in your in-tray, not enough in your out-tray. You put your headphones on, but it doesn't really help. You want a distraction - just for a moment or two. "A happy employee is a productive employee" you justify to yourself, although you're not convinced. Then it happens. A 24 carat nugget of plain text escapism lands in your in-box. You're an alt-tab, double-click away from sheer bliss. DNRC
; FlipFlopFlyin Newsletter
; The Plain Text Gazette
; and the previously mentioned Snowmail
and Newsnight Newsletters
, which take a less formal but equally sharp look at the day's news, with anecdotes and observations thrown in. What other quality plain text mail lists are around?
posted by nthdegx
on Sep 29, 2004 -
It's our language, not yours.
So, you were born in an English-speaking country founded by the English, speak English, have a degree in English, write and publish in English, have lived in England for years, and would like to become an English citizen? Sorry, you failed our English test to determine whether you have workable English, so you can't be English.
posted by rory
on Aug 19, 2004 -
BBC journalist John Humphrys bemoans the abuses suffered by the English language. At the risk of becoming a Grumpy Old Man before my time I can't help but agree with him, in particular about the Management Speak. I recently came across the verb "to hero" which set my teeth on edge. And just what the hell does "to leverage" mean?
posted by jontyjago
on Oct 20, 2003 -
It's Not What You Say, It's The Way That You Say It:
George Bernard Shaw famously remarked that every time an Englishman opens his mouth it's guaranteed that another Englishman will despise him. This website offers a motley and unintentionally hilarious collection of the many, ever-growing pronunciations of the English language. The variety is so wide you could almost be listening to different languages. But is a particular accent still an anti-democratic barrier, strictly revealing your position on the socio-geographic ladder, as it was in the days Nancy Mitford discussed U and non-U vocabulary
? Or have upper-class accents
in the U.K. and U.S. (note the Boston Brahmin
samples), once coveted and preferred, now become the opposite: unforgivable impediments? Does posh speech exist in Canada, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand as it does in the U.K. and U.S.? In other words: Does it still matter?
(Quicktime Audio for main and fourth link; Real Audio for third.
posted by MiguelCardoso
on Sep 20, 2003 -
Do Most Of You Yanks Really Understand What The Brits Here Are On About?
Although the cultural mistranslations are probably more a question of tone and habits of irony and understatement, Jeremy Smith's online American·British
, to be published next September, might be of some assistance. Although I still prefer Terry Gliedt's older but pithier United Kingdom English For The American Novice
and even Scotsman Chris Rae's English-to-American Dictionary
. Here's a little BBC quiz
to test your skills. It seems that Canadians
and [another cute quiz coming up!
] New Zealanders
are the only Metafilterians to completely capture all the varieties of English usage here. Perhaps it all comes down to the fact that non-U.S. users know much, much less about England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand et caetera than vice-versa? Does anyone else get the occasional feeling we're not exactly speaking the same language here?
posted by MiguelCardoso
on Apr 5, 2003 -
The English have landed!
In the spirit of international confederation, Nerve.com offers this all too brief list of common curses, epithets, and scandalous phrases, along with their French counterpart, and more interestingly, a transliteration of the French so one can better understand the Idiom.
posted by jonson
on Jan 23, 2003 -
Oxford's guide to collective terms for animals
is a useful and fascinating although all-too-brief resource. Collective terms for birds are some of my favourites: an unkindness of ravens; a murmuration of starlings; a richness of martens. Bees and sheep seem to have a lot of collective terms. I can't imagine why. Altogether, though, I found one of the terms for for ferrets to be the pick of the bunch.
posted by nthdegx
on Jan 13, 2003 -
Poetry International Web
opens today. "Hundreds of poems by acclaimed modern poets from all around the world, both in the original language and in English translation."
posted by igor.boog
on Nov 6, 2002 -
Learning propper english gramar ain't gotta suck no longer
. Someones made it fun and enjoyable for everybody!
And when you meat someone who can't write good, you'll know why.
This could even be the dearth of the MeFi grammar flames even! (nahhh)
posted by BentPenguin
on Dec 29, 2001 -
It's the language of Metafilter, Internet, eveything. Everybody happy? I'm a native speaker but I don't live in an English speaking country. Apart from the it's inevitable/ I couldn't give a crap, it's my language stuff, is anybody out there ambiguous? (More inside)
posted by Zootoon
on Dec 24, 2001 -
A blistering dissection
of David Foster Wallace and Simon Winchester's previously published essays on English usage, by Mark Halpern. Though I like some of Wallace's writing, I admit it's nice to see the scalpel taken to Wallace's "style for style's sake".
posted by Big Fat Tycoon
on Oct 19, 2001 -
A Little Light Relief - and Brush Up Your English While You're At It.
In the spirit of poking fun at one's own flesh and blood - and respecting all those who aren't - I offer the most appalling tribute to Shakespeare's and Emerson's language since time itself began.
I give you, ladies and gentlemen, the great Portuguese scholar Pedro Carolino, whose "English As She Is Spoke" Mark Twain considered to be the funniest book ever written.
Start with "Familiar Dialogues 1" and, if you've still been able to keep a straight face, try "Idiotisms and Proverbs" for the full effect...
(Thanks to Ganz's Humor Page)
posted by MiguelCardoso
on Sep 20, 2001 -
You Stupid #@$!
In England, children are learning how to swear. What the #@%&? Aren't they learning enough of this #@&! on the street? I believe that the standards for streets smarts have really slipped over the years. Children should be learning their four letter words at the same place they learn about sex, on the street!
posted by aj100
on Jul 2, 2001 -
October Coffee Crisis.
Montreal Gazette: "In its communiques, the BAF warned that Second Cup franchises were to be 'in the line of fire' and warned of an escalation of violent acts if Second Cup and other chains insist on keeping their trademark English names." More Trudeau nostalgia?
posted by todd
on Oct 12, 2000 -
CatchPhrase BuzzWord of the NanoSecond
- issue terrain
i.e.: "The issue terrain favors us enormously." LOL! I can't stop laughing! issue terrain
! What? They have men sitting in little smokefilled rooms coming up with these things? "The political climate
is bad for Gore (brrr!), but how about his issue terrain
?" "Oh that's good! No one knows what that is yet cuz we haven't defined it, so naturally his issue terrain is good!" ROTFLMAO!
posted by ZachsMind
on Aug 14, 2000 -
Well, I'm compleetly fed up with english speling for everything. Its so dammed inconsistant and ilogical, Ill never get the hang of it. Forchunately, now theres a way to express yourselfs using chinese-like english characters. It's called Yingzi
and now you can write english as quickly as you can write
posted by lagado
on Jul 23, 2000 -