Dialects

8 Jul 2009

That's so fail

Submitted by Karl Hagen
While adults are just starting to notice, usually with disapproval, "fail" used as a noun (as in "That's an epic fail."), my students are already racing ahead and converting it to an adjective.

We can tell that "fail" has become an adjective because it can be preceded by the quantifying adverb so, as in "I'm so fail." [Cf. I'm so happy (adj.), but *I'm so student (n.)].

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25 Jun 2009

Dasn't

Submitted by Karl Hagen
As dictionaries go, you can't get much better than that towering giant of lexicography, The Oxford English Dictionary. It's always the first place serious word lovers turn when they have questions about the origins or use of a word. Yet really serious logophiles know its limitations. There are certain instances where you need to supplement the OED with a specialist work.
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1 May 2009

Langue and Lingua Franca

Submitted by Karl Hagen
Writing in the New York Times, David Cohen meditates lyrically upon the differences between British and American English. Cohen uses these differences, especially individual words--loo vs. bathroom, bonnet vs. hood, car park vs. parking lot, etc., as a token of a larger cultural divide. He quotes Victor Katz, noting
There is the illusion that we speak the same language, but we really don't.
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