30 Mar 2009

Do me a favor

Submitted by Karl Hagen
The next time you start bitching about "grammatical errors" that set your teeth on edge, have the decency to make the things you complain about actual issues of grammar. Grammar is a somewhat vague term, but it certainly includes syntax, as well as a good chunk of morphology. And a case can be made for certain parts of semantics. But spelling errors, such as the confusion between "affect" and "effect," certainly aren't grammatical problems. And I would argue that most questions of word usage, that is those that turn on pure semantics (e.g.
10 Oct 2008

Hot for Chronological Accuracy

Submitted by Karl Hagen
I have mixed feelings about Hotforwords. On the plus side, she's talking about language, she generally does some research, and she seems to have a clue about linguistic matters. (Oh, yeah, and she really is hot.) On the other hand, she confines herself to a fairly trivial form of etymology: stories about word origins shorn of historical linguistics. It also appears that her research is confined to looking things up in a few of the standard references (like the OED), and, more questionably, Wikipedia.
11 Jan 2008

Google News is pissing me off

Submitted by Karl Hagen
My browser's home page is Google news, and when I am signed in, it gives me a list of "personalized" news stories that are supposedly based on my previous searches and news. Yet it continually serves up stories that I have absolutely no interest in (most recently the Britney Spears tragicomedy), and there seems to be no way to override what Google thinks is good for me. Why, oh why, don't they have a "not interested" button like Amazon? For the time being, I've given up on their personalization and will go to Google news without signing in.
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