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 -
' "Oh, you're going to the MLA?
What a riot. They're a bunch of sitting ducks." I hadn't been planning to shoot at them, I said'.
Lewis Kraus attends the 119th Annual MLA Conference, and asks what it means to be an English professor after the 'crisis of the humanities'.
posted by Sonny Jim
on Aug 23, 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 -
: "an online lexical reference system whose design is inspired by current psycholinguistic theories of human lexical memory. English nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs are organized into synonym sets, each representing one underlying lexical concept. Different relations link the synonym sets." What does one do
posted by archimago
on Aug 9, 2004 -
'The museum was founded in 1882 when objects of local interest began to gather in the field where the museum now stands, due to the natural action of the wind and rain. '
'In 1886, visionary Whoft philanthropist, Manimal MacCorkindale proposed building some walls around the objects, forming Framley's first museum.
A door fitted in 1932 cemented the museum's popularity.'
Courtesy of the mighty Framley Examiner.
posted by plep
on Dec 3, 2003 -
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 -
Forget British. Define English.
The perennial ex-pat and honorary Yank Christopher Hitchens
may not be the best Englishman to define it - though his embarrassingly reactionary brother Peter
is even less suited - but at least he has a go. For everyone else in the world, there are the Scottish, the Welsh, even the Northern Irish - all strong nationalities in their own right, each one older and more culturally solid than the slightly French, slightly German and slightly Dutch English. So why persist, in this post-imperialist day and age, in the myth of the Brit? If it is
a myth. Americans, whether from the U.S. or Canada, certainly continue to buy into it. Or is it, for the rest of the world, too dangerous for the English - with devolution raging - to find their own, muddied identity? Think of those football hooligans and their grotesque politics, St.George face-masks and flags. (Via Arts And Letters Daily.
posted by MiguelCardoso
on Oct 17, 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 -
Sans without French. Imagine Think of
a world of English without any French
, including linguistic. Some beautiful folks at the Christian
Monitor have done just that.
posted by kokogiak
on Mar 14, 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 -
The Apostrophe Protection Society: ...reminding all writers of English text, whether on notices or in documents of any type, of the correct usage of the apostrophe should you wish to put right mistakes you may have inadvertently made.
posted by acridrabbit
on Aug 12, 2002 -
How To Say Yes (Or No) To British Food:
Apart from the language barrier (ably demolished by Mike Etherington
's magnificent online dictionary
), British food has a dreadful reputation
all over the world. Yet people who try it, whatever their nationality, often find they enjoy it. If it's properly
made, that is. Enter Helen Watson
's impeccable and ethnically correct recipes
. And those who can't be bothered to cook can always plump for the many ready-made goodies
(and some real stinkers) now offered by internet mail order firms. The most promising has got to be, with over 2,500 goodies, the FBC Brit Shop
. Unfortunately it's based in Japan and will only start delivering in September. The best of the rest is probably yummy British Delights
. My mother's English so I'm obviously biased, but aren't a lot of people missing out on the unique gastronomic charms of the good old United K? Oh yes
![FBC link pilfered from the Boing Boing larder.
posted by MiguelCardoso
on Aug 3, 2002 -
you our Fadda. You stay in da sky. We like all da peopo know fo shua how you stay, an dat you good an spesho inside, an we like dem give you plenny respeck. We like you come king ova hea now. We like everybody make jalike you like, ova hea inside da world, jalike da angel guys up inside da sky make jalike you like. Give us da food we need fo every day. Let us go, an throw out our shame fo all da kine bad stuff we do to you, jalike us guys let da odda guys go awready, an we no stay huhu wit dem fo all da kine bad stuff dey do to us. No let us get chance fo do bad kine stuff, But take us outa dea, so da Bad Guy no can hurt us. Cuz you our king, you get da real power, an you stay awesome fo eva. Dass it!
Hawaii Creole English, from the Language Museum
, which lists examples of 2000 languges.
posted by swift
on Jul 18, 2002 -
It appears England is made up of an ethnic cleansing event from people coming across from the continent after the Romans left. Our findings completely overturn the modern view of the origins of the English.
posted by stbalbach
on Jul 5, 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 -
Freespeling.com (with one el).
Because only 17% of native English speakers can spell "height", "necessary", "accommodation", "separate", "sincerely", and "business" correctly. Good idea or bad idea?
posted by Firda
on Apr 5, 2001 -
It's easy to get complacent and not learn foreign languages when you speak native English. In the UK, knowledge of foreign languages verges on the comical
posted by ecvgi
on Feb 22, 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 -