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My Word

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 - 23 comments

Phenomenology of Error

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 - 17 comments

The Fruit of Dionysuis Thrax

Best Grammar Blog of 2011 has been announced - A Clil To Climb. The competition was intense.
posted by unliteral on Oct 25, 2011 - 23 comments

Rolls in, rolls in, my god, how the money rolls in, rolls in.

The CRTC has just authorized usage-based internet billing in Canada. The decision has been met with some criticism but is being reported differently by some outlets. [more inside]
posted by ricochet biscuit on Jan 25, 2011 - 86 comments

Online Corpora

Online Corpora. In linguistics, a corpus is a collection of 'real world' writing and speech designed to facilitate research into language. These 6 searchable corpora together contain more than a billion words. The Corpus of Historical American English allows you to track changes in word use from 1810 to present; the Corpus del Español goes back to the 1200s.
posted by Paragon on Jan 24, 2011 - 11 comments

Could you really care less?

"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]
posted by amyms on Oct 31, 2010 - 167 comments

"Tweet?" Delete.

Standards editor Philip Corbett at the New York Times (allegedly) issues memo officially discouraging use of the word "tweet." [more inside]
posted by hat on Jun 12, 2010 - 106 comments

That's what they said

The Michigan Corpus of Academic Spoken English is a searchable collection of almost 2 million words of transcribed spoken English from the University of Michigan, including student study groups, office hours, dissertation defenses, and campus tours. Researchers use the Michigan corpus to investigate questions about usage, like "less or fewer?" (cf. this contentious Ask Meta thread) and more general topics, like "Vague Language in Academia." Browse or search MICASE yourself.
posted by escabeche on Nov 21, 2009 - 20 comments

Ask the Editors @ Merriam-Webster's

Merriam-Webster's Ask the Editors blog is the centerpiece of the Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary site. It is an excellent source of sensible advice about English language and usage. Editor-at-large Peter Sokolowski also has a Twitter feed where he highlights various interesting things about words. Finally, Merriam-Webster has started producing Ask the Editor videos, four so far, where they've tackled the subjects of i before e, classical roots, affect vs. effect and how news stories affect what words people look up online, in this case focusing on the effect of the coverage of Michael Jackson's death. Incidentally, Merriam-Webster have released their top ten words of 2009 list, which is based on what words people looked up.
posted by Kattullus on Nov 20, 2009 - 15 comments

Aargh!

Aargh!
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane on Jan 7, 2006 - 37 comments

At the end of the day

Weasel words 'Spare Don Watson, author of Death Sentences from all of these weasely, wishy-washy, and worst of all, ugly bits of management-speak that have drifted out of consulting sessions and into the social realm.' Forbes.com..................... Your favourite spin doctoring ?
posted by johnny7 on Sep 6, 2005 - 31 comments

eh?

Words: Woe & Wonder The CBC explains and debates usage from a Canadian-journalism standpoint - for example, why the Iraqi ex-leader is referred to by his first name and whether to capitalize this place.
posted by casarkos on Jul 15, 2004 - 8 comments

Politically correct hardware terminology:

LA County, leading the charge: Equipment vendors who do business with Los Angeles County received a message in November 2003 from the county's Internal Services Department (ISD) informing them that "based on the cultural diversity and sensitivity of Los Angeles County," labeling or describing equipment with the term 'master/slave' is no longer acceptable. (via snopes.com)
the slashdot comments on this...
posted by sixtwenty3dc on Nov 25, 2003 - 145 comments

Pirates of the Common Media

It's OK to Talk Like a Pirate, Just Don't Pirate Words!
from Dan Gillmor and David Weinberger, found via The Boingers, who disabled comments.
posted by wendell on Sep 18, 2003 - 19 comments

London Congestion Charging

Conjestion charging hits london £5 to take a car into the central zone (pdf) between 7am and 6.30pm Mon - Fri. It's all the work of controversial mayor "Red" Ken Livingstone Opinion is split: for and against. A small majority of Londoners seem in favour of it - traffic in London now is as slow as the days of the horse and cart! Day one seems quiet, though it is the school holidays! Is this the answer?
posted by brettski on Feb 17, 2003 - 39 comments

For all those words-lovers among us, the Visual Thesaurus from Plumb Design has recently been updated, to celebrate the company's 5 years anniversary. The classic edition we all know is still available here. Just beautiful.
posted by XiBe on Oct 30, 2002 - 23 comments

They might actually be, you know, be useful.

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 - 25 comments

If your never sure about all thing's grammatical...

If your never sure about all thing's grammatical... then this may help you. hyphens, apostrophes and split infinitives are all covered, along side many and various spellings, rules and regulations.
posted by Spoon on Jan 8, 2002 - 21 comments

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