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A new play is opening tonight on Broadway, and it's a treat for language lovers. It's called "Chinglish," and it was written by David Henry Hwang, who won a Tony Award for "M. Butterfly." I had a chance to talk to Hwang about his comic exploration of the perils of cross-linguistic misunderstanding. Continue reading...
In the Sunday Review section of the New York Times, I took a look at how forensic linguists try to determine the author of an e-mail by picking up on subtle clues of style and grammar. This is very much in the news, thanks to a lawsuit filed against Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg by one Paul Ceglia, who claims that Zuckerberg promised him half of Facebook's holdings, as proven by e-mail exchanges he says they had. Did Zuckerberg actually write the e-mails? Call the language detectives. Continue reading...
Words have meaning, right? Sure they do, we all know that! We certainly use words, spoken or written, at all hours of the day and night to convey what we mean to other people. We know the meanings of many words, and if we don't know what a word means -- heterolysis, for instance -- we can look up its meaning in the dictionary: "the destruction of cells of one species by enzymes derived from cells of a different species." Continue reading...

The editors of The Associated Press Stylebook recently announced some changes to the Bible of copy editors. Among their pronouncements: e-mail would lose its hyphen, and cell phone would lose its space. Merrill Perlman, who writes the "Language Corner" column for Columbia Journalism Review, gives us the full rundown. Continue reading...

Last Sunday I wrote an On Language column for The New York Times Magazine about the editorial we, and all the sarcastic jokes that have been made about the presumptuous pronoun. "Nameless authors of editorials may find the pronoun we handy for representing the voice of collective wisdom," I wrote, "but their word choice opens them up to charges of gutlessness and self-importance." Since the column appeared, some of those voices of collective wisdom have risen to defend themselves. Continue reading...

Have you used any of these words in your writing?

Low-hanging fruit
Learnings
Efforting
They are buzzwords, popular industry words that people use to impress others. Continue reading...
Michael Lydon, a well-known writer on popular music since the 1960s, has for many years also been writing about writing. Lydon's essays, written with a colloquial clarity, shed fresh light on familiar and not so familiar aspects of the writing art. Here Lydon takes issue with the novelist Elmore Leonard's "rules" against descriptive writing. Continue reading...
2 3 4 5 6 Displaying 22-28 of 36 Articles

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