This Week’s Language Blog Round-Up

by Angela Tung on May 20, 2011

It’s Friday, which means it’s time again for our new(ish) weekly series, Language Blog Round-Up, in which we bring you the highlights from our favorite blogs and the latest in word news.

In punctuation land, Slate discussed the rise of “logical punctuation,” or the placement of commas and periods outside of quotation marks, while The “Blog” of “Unnecessary” Quotation Marks continued to fight the losing yet hilarious battle against superfluous punctuation (“Think” Positive; “Greatest” Mural; “Do Not” Put Nothing [sic] Here).

The Columbia Journalism Review‘s Language Corner discussed the broadening definition of curator (with a shout-out to Wordnik, thanks!) beyond “one who manages. . .a museum collection or a library,” to journalists, Tweeters, and even “closet-clearing gurus.” Meanwhile, The Economist‘s language blog, Johnson, discussed the “insider language” of another profession in “Airplanese” (what the heck’s a “ground stop”? why “deplane” and not just leave?); the unique accent of the U.S. inland south (think northwest Texas, swathes of Oklahoma, and north Arkansas); and whether or not to use “shall” (don’t).

The bloggers at Motivated Grammar assured us that changing language is not like changing math (thank goodness), while those at the Language Log discovered that Wikipedia has a sense of humor (at least about toilets); the College Board endorses the passive voice; that “can” versus “may” can (or may?) be a matter of life or death; and the dangers of being accidentally counter-revolutionary.

Lynneguist at Separated By a Common Language contemplated a “funny,” yet hated, British cliché while the Virtual Linguist questioned the origin story of another well-known British saying; bemoaned the capaciousness of cliches used during news reports on troubled former IMF head Dominique Strauss-Kahn (care for some champagne socialist?); and discussed Strauss-Kahn’s perp walk.

The Word Spy noted the recent comeback of cybrarian, “a librarian who works with digital resources online,” just in time for the centennial of the New York Public Library’s main building. In celebration, the NYPL will be exhibiting, among other pieces, cuneiform tablets and typewriters; a Gutenberg bible; a love letter from John Keats; and Charles Dickens’ letter opener, the handle of which was made from “the paw of Dickens’s pet cat Bob” (post-mortem, of course).

In live animal news, the Baltimore Sun discussed how race horses get their (sometimes) crazy names ($5 to win on Bodacious Tatas!), while The New York Times covered the Kegasus (part pegasus, part, um, keg? but it’s a centaur, oh never mind), one man/horse/beer-vessel who will be way too busy partying to race.

That’s it for this week. Remember, if you’d like your language blog to be included in our weekly round-up, let us know in the comments, via email , or on Twitter.

Joe Clark May 21, 2011 at 10:20 am

The link to list adjacent to Ben Yagoda’s patent nonsense about quotation marks is not a joke blog but my evisceration of Yagoda’s arguments and presentation. Get serious, Wordnik.

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