Verily I Say Unto Thee... archive
Category : Language

How Many Ways Can You Spell ‘Nox’?

Categories: Fixing English
Comments: 2 Comments
Published on: 2017.11.29

Two hundred twenty is the answer I came up with. “Nox”, of course, is the Roman goddess of the night. But more than that, it’s a sound — and the simplest way to spell that sound in English.   220 Variations These are the 220 variations of “nox” I came up with. (Copyright © 2017[…]

Universal Alphabet On A Grid

Categories: Language, Personal
Comments: 2 Comments
Published on: 2017.11.04

Multi-lingual Part of the packaging for my Joby GorillaPod had the above label, with the same phrase in 11 languages and at least six alphabets. (Copyright © 2016 by Wil C. Fry.) In mid-2016, I got to thinking about about the evolution of written languages (I think I was reading The Selfish Gene at the[…]

Asgardia Discussion Proves We’re Not Ready For Globalism Just Yet

Screenshot confirming my registration for Asgardia If you haven’t yet heard of Asgardia, you’re not alone. But as of this writing, more than 500,000 Earthlings have registered to become citizens of the new space-based nation. I’m one of them. I registered as a lark, not because I’m ready to leave the planet’s surface any time[…]

Your Toddler Can Operate A Major Appliance According To Memes

This week’s Silly Meme says your “child” (no age listed) should be operating major appliances and dealing with dangerous chemicals. This entry should be short. The only problem with it is the word “child”. “If your child can operate a smartphone, they can use any one of these.” (I added the punctuation and fixed the[…]

Why I’ve Been Using The Word ‘Regressive’

You might have noticed a recent change in word choice on my part. I’m not sure when, but a few months ago I began using “regressive” in places where I had formerly used the word “conservative”. This was an intentional choice. As always, I attempt to select the most accurate, precise words, both in my[…]

Google Is A Verb, Like It Or Not

Categories: Internet, Language
Tags: , ,
Comments: 2 Comments
Published on: 2014.09.08

Google building in Austin, Texas (Copyright © 2011 by Wil C. Fry.) I recall saying it — though I’m not sure if I ever posted online about this — “Google is not a verb”. This likely arose from a bit of language snobbery to which I’m susceptible occasionally. I was wrong, of course. As far[…]

Some Of Earth’s Languages Are ‘Endangered’

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Published on: 2014.09.03

* Economic Growth Has Put A Quarter Of The World’s Languages At Risk Of Extinction (Business Insider, 2014.09.03) * 25% of World’s Languages Are Threatened (livescience, 2014.09.03) There are, according to Business Insider, 6,909 known human languages on Earth. The same articles says “…about a quarter of [them are] threatened.” The livescience (which doesn’t capitalize[…]

Easdcnm, and a Comma

Categories: Language, Personal
Comments: No Comments
Published on: 2014.07.21

The same keyboard, in Dec. 2012 (Copyright © 2012 by Wil C. Fry.) I rarely look at my keyboard when I type, except occasionally when I need a special character like a tilde, but when dusting recently, I noticed several keys worn completely clean. The following keys are missing all the original paint (the letters[…]

‘Word Crimes’, by Weird Al Yankovic

Categories: Grammar, Language, Music
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Published on: 2014.07.18

I’ll rarely blatantly promote a commercially produced music video. If you ask me, most of them aren’t worth the hundreds of thousands (or millions) of dollars required to produce them. But this one is worth watching, I think:  

Photography: ‘Making’ Versus ‘Taking’

Categories: Language, Photography
Tags: No Tags
Comments: 2 Comments
Published on: 2014.07.17

Storm clouds — Killeen, Texas I did not “take” anything from this moment, so “taking a picture” seems like a nonsensical phrase to me. What I did was “make” a digital photograph in an attempt to preserve that sight (Copyright © 2014 by Wil C. Fry.) There are a several euphemisms for the verb “photographing”[…]

‘Columbusing’: A Word Meant To Insult

From the not-always-thoroughly-researched source that is NPR’s “Code-Switch” blog, I learned a new word today: Columbusing. The headline defines it as: “The Art Of Discovering Something That Is Not New”. If they’d left it there, I would have shrugged and went on; it seems accurate enough. Christopher Columbus is most famous for “discovering” a continent[…]

Phixing English: Let’s Start With the “ph”

Categories: Fixing English
Comments: 2 Comments
Published on: 2014.04.16

A few of the hundreds of words using the silly “ph” spelling instead of “f” If there is an international board of secret scholars somewhere whose job it is to fix the English language, I really want to suggest they start with the unnecessary letters like C and X — neither makes a sound that[…]

Words That Bug Me: ‘Kiddos’

Comments: 2 Comments
Published on: 2013.12.10

“Kiddos” has been around for a while. The Oxford English Dictionary (here) and other online resources say it’s just an informal “friendly or slightly condescending form of address”. I’m fine with that definition. My complaint is about when parents use the term for their children: “Here’s a picture of the kiddos”, they’ll say with a[…]

White House Diction Lessons

Categories: Fixing English, Government
Comments: 2 Comments
Published on: 2013.04.26

There’s a new White House Tumblr page, and the first entry includes an image with this lettering: “ANIMATED GIFs (HARD ‘G’)”. First, let me say I’m proud that they didn’t put an apostrophe in “GIFs”, as so many on the internet seem to do these days.

Penmanship Is More Than Outdated; It’s Unnecessary

Categories: InTheNews, Language
Comments: No Comments
Published on: 2013.04.21

Because I assume everyone wants to know my opinion (ha!)… In the News: Is Handwriting Still Important? The Digital Generation Skips Penmanship (BBC News) While I’m admittedly old-fashioned in many ways (for example, I don’t have a “smartphone”), I can usually argue practicality (for example: there’s no point in me having a smartphone). But the[…]

Attack Of The Commas And Present Tense

Comments: 4 Comments
Published on: 2013.03.31

We all know the English language is still in flux. It’s a living, evolving set of rules and words. But sometimes that evolution produces strange byproducts, like this collection of words and punctuation from CBS News: Though, TV Guide is reporting that Lifetime is now, too, canceling the show. Let’s try that again, with more[…]

According to Whom?

Categories: Fixing English, Pet Peeve
Comments: 4 Comments
Published on: 2011.05.26

I’m often irritated by poor grammar and spelling on the internet (and elsewhere), but lately what bugs me even more are the random “rules” bandied about by the grammar police. If you and a friend are playing Monopoly and disagree on the rules, you can always check the list of rules included with the game.[…]

Opinions are like…

Categories: Fact Check, Language, Pet Peeve
Comments: No Comments
Published on: 2005.11.29

“Opinions are like assholes,” someone once told me. I think the point was that everyone has an opinion, and that opinions can sometimes be irritating. But I tend to disagree. I think opinions are beautiful, and everyone should be entitled to their opinions, no matter how offensive, ignorant, ill-informed, or poorly thought-out. And most opinions[…]

Fixing The English Language

Categories: Fixing English
Comments: No Comments
Published on: 2005.04.23

[Begun April 23, 2005. Never finished or polished.] Every child born and raised in the United States has asked about it at least once, except maybe those who are born vegetables. And every person from a foreign land who tries to learn English (even British English) wonders about it as well. “Why does the English[…]

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