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 -
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 -
is a collection of 3210 words that are troublesome to readers and writers. Words are grouped according to the way they are most often confused or misused.
posted by blue_beetle
on Aug 11, 2008 -
Immediately, Herson spotted an offense—a second-floor awning outside a tarot shop that advertised "Energy Stone's." They climbed the stairs to the second floor and approached a middle-age women with a quizzical expression. "We happened to notice the sign for energy stones," Deck said, "and there happens to be an extra apostrophe. 'Stone's' doesn't need the apostrophe."
"And?" she asked, her voice flat with annoyance.
"And we wanted to bring it to your attention," Deck said.
A look inside the daring lives
of Jeff Deck and Benjamin Herson, vanguards of the Typo Eradication Advancement League
posted by Rhaomi
on May 21, 2008 -
"The old, mean man" vs. "The mean old man."
Here's an aspect of English (and other languages) I've never thought of before. If you're using a string of adjectives, there's a natural order for them to appear in: "opinion :: size :: age :: shape :: color :: origin :: material :: purpose". (Although I find "old, mean," due to it's strange order, sort of striking.) [more info: 1
posted by grumblebee
on May 19, 2007 -
is a militant grammarian
: "We all care about language. Your concern may be different from the young hoodie's." On the other hand, he may have a point
: "The simple fact is we cannot afford to be careless with our language, because if we are careless with our language then we are careless with our world and sooner or later we will be lost for words to describe what we have allowed to happen to it." (via
posted by anotherpanacea
on Nov 8, 2006 -
A passive verb and adverb flagger for Mozilla-derived browsers, Safari, and Opera 7.5, with caveats.
posted by semmi
on Jan 6, 2006 -
We are because of others. We are born into this world with minds as naked as our bodies and we have to rely on others to feed, clothe us, and to teach us to think of ourselves as selves. The key is language -- grammatical speech and human culture build upon the brain's biological capacities to create a mind that is something different again than that with which we are born. We are conscious because we can speak to others and ourselves, because we can speak of ourselves to others and ourselves. Language gives us as individuals, memory, and as groups, culture, the social memory. Or so thought Lev Semyonovich Vygotsky
, among others. Welcome to the the neuronaut's guide to the science of consciousness
posted by y2karl
on Jul 11, 2003 -
Jedi (n) and Klingon (n)
will now be listed in the Oxford English Dictionary. As will Ass-Backward.
Given MetaFilter's interest in grammar
this seems worth noting. How the editors decided that "Jedi" is worth inclusion but "Stormtrooper" is not is a conversation I would have loved to have heard. Naturally, people complaining about such inclusions ain't
new. However, when words are removed from the same dictionary it's hardly noticed.
Clearly unused words go away, so why do people make a stink about this year after year? Slow news cycles? Or is it an extension of the Prescriptivist - Descriptivist Argument
with the Prescripts making a push for the "hearts and minds" of the public?
posted by herc
on Sep 26, 2002 -
They might actually be, you know, be useful.
This year, a student in Nebraska won $1000 for finding the worst example of overuse of the phrase 'you know,' by an athlete who said it 30 times in a 135 second interview. But are they really that terrible? Known as discourse markers, phrases such as 'you know' and 'I mean' are thought to be essential
in conveying information in conversation and helping us understand each other. Discourse markers also exist in many other languages
and possibly even ancient languages.
posted by adrianhon
on May 15, 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 -