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Saturday, December 17, 2011

However you say it…

Even a grammar anarchist enjoys a holiday respite. 
To keep you thinking for a while, here is my message:
Natale hilare et Annum Faustum!,
     Joyeux Noel
Froehliche Weihnachten
     Feliz Navidad
Vesele Bozicne. Screcno Novo Leto
     Feliz Natal
Buone Feste Natalizie
     Nadolig Llawen
Glædelig Jul
     Nollaig Shona Dhuit
Zorionak eta Urte Berri On!
     God Jul or Gledelig Jul
Idah Saidan Wa Sanah Jadidah
     Merry Keshmish
Mele Kalikimaka
     Gajan Kristnaskon
and if you didn’t find your language:

  HAPPY,   P R O S P E R O U S

N  E  W     Y  E  A  R!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Beware What You Call “Good English”

Listen to the oft-quoted British playwright, William Shakespeare, who noticed half a millennium ago, “Good English writers cannot be understood today.”

As if to prove the Bard right (two centuries before he was born), Thomas Hoceleve commented about something written by Chaucer,
Ye knowe eek, that in forme of speche is chaunge
Withinne a thousand yeer, and wordes tho
That hadden prys, now wonder nyce and straunge
Us thinketh hem; 
Lest you don't read “English”, he's saying, that speech changes every thousand years or so, and words, although they contain hidden human traits that once sounded nice and strong, become misunderstood. Language changes. Get used to it!

Upper Case Respect

Nouns are things; some nouns are more important than others — they’re called “proper nouns”. Proper Nouns receive capital letters, to increase their importance. Kathleen Parker, in a recent column in the Washington Post, called it “Upper Case Respect” — a term that describes the guideline very well. Which nouns deserve your Upper Case Respect are your decisions. Ain’t grammar fun!