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)
"I couldn't care less" vs. "I could care less"... A letter to Ann Landers in October 1960 is credited with starting the debate over "one of the great language peeves of our time." Via. [more inside]
The site Omniglot has grown somewhat since its previous mention on the blue. Creator Simon Ager has added glossaries of useful phrases, tips on learning a foreign language, assorted "useful phrases" from other sources he's found amusing (an Esperanto book he quotes shows you how to say "there is a frog in my bidet", for instance) and even more writing systems. Plus -- a page telling you how to say "My hovercraft is full of eels" in 79 different languages.
It's not even Thanksgiving yet and already the 2008 "best of" lists have begun. Here's a list of the Top 60 popular Japanese words/phrases of 2008. "Morning banana" doesn't mean what you think it does. Is Sarah Palin an obaka-aidoru - おバカアイドル ? (via)
Ever wonder what a quocker-wodger was? Just what did they mean when they said that you were all kippers and curtains? Worldwidewords.org has the answer. "More than 1600 pages on the origins, history, evolution and idiosyncrasies of the English language worldwide." Word geeks, say goodbye to the rest of your afternoon.
Colloquial phrases endure, even after their meaning is no longer understood. Some are surprising and others are surprisingly malevolent. Some of my favorites are of exactly that theme. Do you have any favorites?
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.
Polish slang! Having just moved to Greenpoint, Brooklyn, the heart of Polish New York City, I've been digging for Polish links. English-Polish computing dictionary. Useful Polish phrases, with audio. Simple Polish lessons and email list. Polish spelling dictionary. Warsaw Voice English-language newspaper. Warsaw Business Journal, in English. Warsaw Insider, a city guide. Portal for Wroclaw, capital of Lower Silesia. Kracow Academic Radio. Radio KRAJ from Brisbane. Polish Reader's Digest. Finally, The Official Site of His Serene Highness Dennis Fürst Blücher von Wahlstatt.