English Has a New Preposition, Because Internet. The word "because," in standard English usage, is a subordinating conjunction, which means that it connects two parts of a sentence in which one (the subordinate) explains the other. In that capacity, "because" has two distinct forms. It can be followed either by a finite clause (I'm reading this because [I saw it on the web]) or by a prepositional phrase (I'm reading this because [of the web]). These two forms are, traditionally, the only ones to which "because" lends itself. I mention all that ... because language. Because evolution. Because there is another way to use "because." Linguists are calling it the "prepositional-because." Or the "because-noun."
posted by scody
on Nov 19, 2013 -
"The internationalized art world relies on a unique language. Its purest articulation is found in the digital press release. This language has everything to do with English, but it is emphatically not English. It is largely an export of the Anglophone world and can thank the global dominance of English for its current reach. But what really matters for this language—what ultimately makes it a language—is the pointed distance from English that it has always cultivated. " - Triple Canopy magazine on why do artists' statments and press releases sound so utterly odd and confusing.
posted by The Whelk
on Apr 26, 2013 -
...it's true that the progressive passive first appeared in the English language in the second half of the 18th century, replacing what historians of English grammar call the passival.
posted by ancillary
on Jun 3, 2012 -
The Corpus of American Historical English
is a searchable index of word usage in American printed material from 1810 to 2009. Powerful complex searches allow you to trace the appearance and evolution of words and phrases and even specific grammatical constructions, see trends in frequency, and plenty more. Start with the 5-Minute Tour
posted by Miko
on Jan 7, 2012 -
It has long been noted that style manuals and other usage advice frequently contain unintended examples of the usage they condemn. (This is sometimes referred to as Hartman's
law or Muphry's
law - an intentional misspelling of Murphy.)
Starting from this observation, Joseph Williams' paper The Phenomenology of Error
offers an examination of our selective attention to different types of grammatical and usage errors that goes beyond the descriptivism-prescriptivism debate. (alternate pdf
link for "The Phenomenology of Error") [more inside]
posted by nangar
on Nov 28, 2011 -
Are birds’ tweets grammatical? [Scientific American]
But are the rules of grammar unique to human language? Perhaps not, according to a recent study, which showed that songbirds may also communicate using a sophisticated grammar—a feature absent in even our closest relatives, the nonhuman primates. Kentaro Abe and Dai Watanabe of Kyoto University performed a series of experiments
to determine whether Bengalese finches expect the notes of their tunes to follow a certain order.
posted by Fizz
on Nov 3, 2011 -
In the late Sixties and early Seventies several experiments were begun to test whether or not a non-human primate could construct a sentence. Several species were involved in these various experiments including the chimpanzees Washoe
, a gorilla named Koko
, and later in the Eighties work began with a bonobo named Kanzi
. While great progress was made in teaching these primates a vocabulary, it would be difficult to see any of these experiments as a success. And all of these projects raised important questions about the ethics
of such experiments. [more inside]
posted by Toekneesan
on Aug 20, 2011 -
I’m not advocating the abolition of grammar, but rather its justification. I’m not quite sure what that will entail in the end, but I’m starting out by pointing out grammar rules that just don’t make sense, don’t work, or don’t have any justification. All I want is for our rules of grammar to be well-motivated.
posted by Joe Beese
on Sep 10, 2010 -
"When I was in New York, I fell in love with some wild ideas in the shape of a woman. An English teacher, who was hard, but hard like a job I never wanted to end. But to her, I wasn't nothin' but a day at the office. That's what they call a Double Negative
posted by redsparkler
on Aug 3, 2010 -
The Canadian Government’s Translation Bureau
recently made its French/English/Spanish technical terminology database, Termium
, free to access after over a decade as a subscription-based service. While off-the-cuff translations are often available from free services like BabelFish
, Termium focuses on technical terminology such as scientific, medical and legal terms. [more inside]
posted by Shepherd
on Oct 22, 2009 -
The research, literary, and copy editors of Vanity Fair go to town
on Sarah Palin's resignation speech.
seeing as nearly everyone I talked to at the 10th meetup was an editor of some kind, you'll all get a kick out of this
posted by Jon_Evil
on Jul 20, 2009 -
Long and short of it continues in part 2
I loved reading the first part of this series
and it now has the second part that I have put link to.
Long and short of it goes deeper into an important topic: Whether we should have a long sentence or a short one when describing things. I would well go with the long sentence as written by Charles Dickens on his novel Oliver Twist a century ago. But it seems quite a few people prefer short ones! What's your take on this.
posted by susanharper
on Dec 2, 2008 -