Join 3,564 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)

35 posts tagged with language and writing. (View popular tags)
Displaying 1 through 35 of 35. Subscribe:

I’m not broken and neither are you.

The thing about ableism is that it’s everywhere, and it’s incredibly common, and we don’t even realize it. It’s in the books we read, and in our daily lives. Ableism is that belief that everyone who is able-bodied is “normal” and everyone else is abnormal. Abelism is probably one of the most common kinds of –ism’s, and it rarely gets talked about.
The language of disability and why it matters.
posted by MartinWisse on Sep 15, 2014 - 62 comments

15,000 Useful Phrases

Being a practical handbook of pertinent expressions, striking similes, literary, commercial, conversational, and oratorical terms, for the embellishment of speech and literature, and the improvement of the vocabulary of those persons who read, write, and speak English. (Grenville Kleiser, 1917)
posted by Iridic on Aug 13, 2014 - 19 comments

Dialect isn’t just people talking funny

My project today is replacing all the dialogue spoken by Antiguan characters in Of Noble Family with dialogue rewritten by Antiguan and Barbudan author Joanne Hillhouse.

Let me explain why I’m doing this.
Mary Robinette Kowal talks about why she hired somebody else to help her with the Caribbean dialects for her next novel.
posted by MartinWisse on Aug 6, 2014 - 38 comments

The CIA is a prescriptivist scold

Writing tips from the CIA’s ruthless style manual:

Strunk & White, it turns out, were CIA sources. The authors of The Elements of Style, a classic American writing guide, are cited alongside Henry Fowler, Wilson Follett, and Jacques Barzun in the Directorate of Intelligence’s Style Manual & Writers Guide for Intelligence Publications, whose eighth edition (from 2011) was quietly posted online (pdf) by the legal nonprofit National Security Counselors a little over a year ago, following a Freedom of Information Act request. [more inside]
posted by moody cow on Jul 10, 2014 - 30 comments

"The alphabet? You'd better learn to listen, kid."

A clever bit of constrained writing in song from Matilda the Musical and Tim Minchin. [more inside]
posted by Gordafarin on Jul 16, 2013 - 5 comments

Rapscallion was robbed.

Starting with a bracket for every letter of the alphabet, a bracket suggested by readers and a "Fuck" play-in bracket, blogger Ted McCagg just finished a contest for the Best Word Ever. In the running were Umpteen, Eke, Isthmus, Skedaddle and Akimbo. The Final Four. The finals. The champion. [Via The Paris Review & Kottke.]
posted by mediareport on Sep 25, 2012 - 68 comments

The Chinese Typewriter

As you can see, the [Chinese] typewriter is extremely complicated and cumbersome. The main tray — which is like a typesetter's font of lead type — has about two thousand of the most frequent characters. Two thousand characters are not nearly enough for literary and scholarly purposes, so there are also a number of supplementary trays from which less frequent characters may be retrieved when necessary. What is even more intimidating about a Chinese typewriter is that the characters as seen by the typist are backwards and upside down! [more inside]
posted by Trurl on Feb 27, 2012 - 43 comments

Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.

If you use Americanisms just to show you know them, people may find you a tad tiresome, so be discriminating.
You may have to think harder if you are not to use jargon, but you can still be precise.
Use all metaphors, dead or alive, sparingly, otherwise you will make trouble for yourself.
Some words add nothing but length to your prose.

(Notes from The Economist's style guide.)
posted by Joey Bagels on Feb 24, 2012 - 126 comments

Stories made from: microspores, fog maps, infected bass samples, mathematics, patterns of decay, broken machines, blood, code bugs…

Sparkletown, the twitter stories of Jeff Noon.
posted by Artw on Nov 10, 2011 - 19 comments

Helen DeWitt

AM: Do you have a favorite kanji character? HD: I like this one: 峠 because it reminds me of a poem by Christina Rossetti:

Up the airy mountain,
Down the rushy glen,
We daren’t go a-hunting
For fear of little men


(what I mean is, it’s terribly nice to have the radicals for mountain, up and down form the character). I’m very fond of 競 because it makes me think of two men skating with their arms behind their backs in a Dutch painting, wearing black frock coats and breeches. 明 is not very exotic, of course, but it’s nice to have the word for ‘bright’ represented by the sun and moon – this is a bit like certain German words, where the elements of a phenomenon are put together for the word: there’s Morgengrauen (morning grey) for the sky lightening to grey just before dawn, and Morgenröte (morning red) for the sky when it first turns red, similar sort of thing. An interview with Helen DeWitt, author of The Last Samurai, Your Name Here, a novel written with Ilya Gridneff, and the forthcoming Lightning Rods. DeWitt will be in New York September 8 - 11.
posted by xod on Aug 19, 2011 - 48 comments

Does digital writing leave fingerprints?

"When legal teams need to prove or disprove the authorship of key texts, they call in the forensic linguists. Scholars in the field have tackled the disputed origins of some prestigious works, from Shakespearean sonnets to the Federalist Papers."
Decoding Your E-Mail Personality Ben Zimmer, of Language Log discusses the Facebook case and forensic linguistics in the NY Times. [more inside]
posted by iamkimiam on Aug 2, 2011 - 13 comments

As I demonstrate in the body of this post, valuable information is contained therein.

"In this column I want to look at a not uncommon way of writing and structuring books. This approach, I will argue, involves the writer announcing at the outset what he or she will be doing in the pages that follow."
posted by shivohum on Jul 23, 2011 - 60 comments

ScriptSource: Pretty much every form of human writing, all documented on one site

Scriptsource: Pretty much every form of human writing, all documented on one site. Simon Ager’s Omniglot.com, which went online circa 1998, documents the many writing systems in use through history and in the present day. Now SIL International’s ScriptSource packs an even more boggling array of information on scripts and writing into one site, drilling all the way down to pages for individual letters.
posted by joeclark on Jun 16, 2011 - 8 comments

#$%!*&

An essay in two parts on the pilcrow (¶) kicks off a new blog called Shady Characters: The Secret Life of Punctuation.
posted by Horace Rumpole on Mar 6, 2011 - 17 comments

The writing on the cave wall

A graphic code uncovered by researchers at the University of Victoria suggests that written communication may have started 30,000 years ago. At least 19 of the symbols were used frequently in far-flung caves over thousands of years, which suggests they represent abstract ideas such as life, love, higher power and death. It also suggests that Ice Age humans – who fall in the range of modern humans – agreed on some common meaning for the code. [more inside]
posted by KokuRyu on Feb 23, 2010 - 32 comments

I had always wanted to do this

Make your handwriting into a font with Yourfonts. Download the PDF, draw your alphabet, scan and upload, then download the finished result. Examples. Via Drawn!
posted by Rinku on Feb 2, 2009 - 31 comments

a selcouth galimatias

International House of Logorrhea, at The Phrontistry, a free online dictionary of weird and unusual words to help enhance your vocabulary. Generous language resources, 2 and 3 letter Scrabble words l The Compass DeRose Guide to Emotion Words l all kinds of glossaries for color terms, wisdom, love and attraction, scientific instruments, manias and obsessions, feeding and eating, carriages and chariots, dance styles and all kinds of fun word stuff. [more inside]
posted by nickyskye on Jan 11, 2009 - 12 comments

I bet they hate Star Trek.

The Grammar Curmudgeon makes up for all of those snarky grammar comments we refrain from posting.
posted by sonic meat machine on Jun 1, 2008 - 31 comments

Traduttore-traditore: translating poetry

Translating poetry is really really hard.
posted by nthdegx on Jul 21, 2007 - 31 comments

Ancient Chinese Wall Inscriptions

Written Chinese may be older than we thought. Chinese archaeologists think that anicent cliff wall carvings may may take the history of Chinese characters back to 7,000 to 8,000 years ago.
posted by Karmakaze on May 18, 2007 - 32 comments

The end of cursive?

The end of cursive? When handwritten essays were introduced on the SAT exams for the class of 2006, just 15 percent of the almost 1.5 million students wrote their answers in cursive. The rest? They printed. Block letters. "Cursive -- that is so low on the priority list, we really could care less. We are much more concerned that these kids pass their SOLs [standardized tests]."
posted by stbalbach on Oct 11, 2006 - 243 comments

This is fiction

Writing has been around for a long time, but that doesn't mean we've mastered it yet. Want to make fiction? Perhaps it makes itself, perhaps it makes you... Self reference breeding infinite hyperrealities. Which world will you choose?
posted by 0bvious on May 10, 2006 - 9 comments

Naxi Language

The script of the Naxi (or Nakhi) people of China's Yunnan province is the only extant pictographic language. The Naxi script, known as Dongba, has traditionally been the domain of spiritual leaders, and despite preservation efforts, is in danger of extinction.
posted by feathermeat on Dec 28, 2005 - 12 comments

Language Is a Virus

Language Is a Virus
posted by srboisvert on Jul 8, 2005 - 30 comments

Gleemail

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; A.Word.A.Day; 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 - 6 comments

Sequoyah's Cherokee Syllabary

Sequoyah's Cherokee Syllabary
The history of a man who single-handedly invented a new and unique writing system which made the literacy rate of his nation shoot from 0% to 90% in just a few years.

Original source
posted by magullo on Jul 15, 2004 - 4 comments

Ye Olde Writings

AncientScripts.com : discover introductions to more than 70 ancient and modern writing systems, from LinearB to hPhags-pa to Cherokee. View languages by type, family, or region. Many links to further reading on each subject, plus other goodies.
posted by falconred on May 7, 2004 - 3 comments

Calling all Grammar Schoolmarms

"Even a brilliant piece of writing will have difficulty finding a publisher if the author has neglected to dress his manuscript decently." 'The Chicago Manual of Style' enters the 21st century. Calling all MeFi Schoolmarms! (Also: CSM New Questions & Answers)
posted by ColdChef on Jul 24, 2003 - 26 comments

A Menagerie of Animals

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 - 34 comments

Ladies and Gentleman, I give you The Sexiest Sentence Alive.
posted by willnot on Nov 9, 2002 - 29 comments

Metaphysical significance of punctuation marks (a)

Metaphysical significance of punctuation marks (a) Periods . and commas , are lovely because they are simple... Semicolons ; are pretentious and overactive...Italics rarely fail to insult the reader's intelligence..."Quotation marks" create the spurious impression of an aristocracy of sensibility...The exclamation point ! is obviously too emphatic, too childish, for our sophisticated ways...Questions ? and exclamations ! betray a sense of inquisitiveness and wonder that is distinctly unmodern....(parentheses) and - dashes - betoken stylistic laziness, a failure of discipline....(a) content footnotes are symbols of failure.
posted by Voyageman on Jun 8, 2002 - 36 comments

Omniglot

Omniglot is a guide to writing systems, and it's flat-out awesome. It covers alphabetic writing systems (usual alphabets as well as abjads), syllabic alphabets and syllabaries, logograms, ideograms, semantic-phonetic compounds ... a milliard things I didn't know about. Plus there are big lists of examples from dozens of languages, from Abkhaz to Zhuyin fuhao. My favorite so far is Tai Lue - it's just so pretty. (link from Fimoculous)
posted by gleuschk on Dec 18, 2001 - 27 comments

Language Tools

Language Tools has become the one resource I use for all my WORD related needs, although it unfortunately lacks a Quotations section like Bartleby or Quotations Page. (The runner-up was Refdesk , which I know as Colin Powell's favorite, put together by Drudge the Father, although its filled with too much other stuff.) Any better choices?
posted by Voyageman on Oct 31, 2001 - 7 comments

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 for Fellini or for Peach
posted by lagado on Jul 23, 2000 - 13 comments

Are You 3000 Plus?

Are You 3000 Plus? Find out just how good your web writing is with this revolutionary online tool developed by the super-secret TSD Labs. Complex natural language analysis is performed to determine the complexity, readability, and likability of your writing.
posted by daveadams on Apr 2, 2000 - 5 comments

Page: 1