When English-language Scrabble champ Nigel Richards, who does not speak French, won a French-language Scrabble championship, analysts rushed to analyze how much memorization that actually entailed. Ben Zimmer explains that to get a full understanding of Richards' achievement, a simple counting of words in the dictionary only gives a partial picture. Continue reading...
Topics: Fun Language
White House security has been one of the most reliable sources of comedy for the past several years, with scandal and buffoonery becoming the norm. Finally, the buffoonery has produced something I can use in endless search for tasty euphemisms. Continue reading...
Topics: Usage Words Fun
Happy Fourth! It's time for fireworks, picnics, swimming excursions, ice cream cones...and word learning! Continue reading...
Topics: Words Fun
Sunday is the longest day of the year and the official start to summer. To get ready, we're taking a look at the words and terms enshrined in our language that capture our collective experience of the summer season — trotted out once again like the shorts and sandals we've been waiting all winter to wear again. Continue reading...
It's NBA Finals time—a time I love. I've been watching the NBA since I was a wee lad, back in the mythical time of Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, and the Minotaur. (I think the Minotaur played for Portland, but let me fact-check that.) Continue reading...
Topics: Words Fun Language
In the last year, Hollywood has brought a whole lot of vocabulary learning to the silver screen, from the minions of Despicable Me 2 fame, to a host of mal- words brought to mind by Maleficent , and the vocabulary-heavy Divergent/Insurgent franchise. This weekend, those of us who go to movies hoping to get scared out of our seats are offered Insidious: Chapter 3. Continue reading...
Topics: Vocabulary Fun
I love everything about used bookstores—except their negative effect on my wallet. I recently found another wallet-drainer—and a gem of a word book—in Chicago's wonderful Myopic Books: Hash House Lingo: The Slang of Soda Jerks, Short-Order Cooks, Bartenders, Waitresses, Carhops and Other Denizens of Yesterday's Roadside. Continue reading...
Topics: Usage Words Fun
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