Linguist Neal Whitman draws a bead on the expression young guns
(not to be confused with younguns
), and finds that sometimes the so-called "Recency Illusion" isn't an illusion after all.
I've been embracing my adopted city of Chicago by reading a collection of Chicago Tribune
legend Mike Royko's writing — namely, Sez Who? Sez Me
. I haven't read Royko since I was a mere tyke (or at least a small dweeb) who was too young to fully grasp the awesomeness of Royko's hilarious, sharp, wide-ranging columns. They hold up great, and one piece on the end of the Vietnam war could pretty much be reprinted verbatim right now, at the (sorta) end of the Iraq war.
Remember when marketers exhorted us to trade up, spend freely, and buy more? When grand, luxe,
were sprinkled like shaved truffles over ad copy? That was before the recession took a bite out of our wallets and our aspirations. Nowadays, it's fashionable (not to mention necessary) to live within one's means — or to just live without.
Fitch O'Connell is a longtime teacher of English as a foreign language, working for the British Council in Portugual and other European countries. Here Fitch examines some of the most treacherous pitfalls of the English-language classroom: "false friends," or words that appear to share a common meaning across languages but are actually different.
The great secret of success in anything is to get a hearing. Half the object is gained when the audience is assembled.
—Phineas T. Barnum
Now that you're all here: it seems a suitable time to mark the 200th anniversary of the birth of P. T. Barnum — a name that you probably don't associate with language in a particular way.
Sarabande Books is publishing a fascinating new anthology entitled, One Word: Contemporary Writers on the Words They Love or Loathe
. The editor, Molly McQuade, asked 66 writers the question, "What one word means the most to you, and why?" Among the essays McQuade has collected is "Sixpack," an exploration of six words by the experimental writer Thylias Moss. Tucker Capps has drawn from Moss's musings on the word fork
to create a captivating short film.
Earlier this month, a post by Dan Frommer on Business Insider
had this to say about Google, Facebook and Apple: "Recently, all three companies have been making a lot of 'acq-hires,' where they buy a company to acquire its human resources." You read that right: acq-hire
. Where did this odd word come from?