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listener
05-17-2010, 06:38 PM
Inspired by this exchange (http://bloggingheads.tv/forum/showpost.php?p=158703&postcount=15) from a while back, this thread is dedicated to venting about all the petty little things that just piss us off. No politics please!

listener
05-17-2010, 06:42 PM
Now that this elucubration of mine is finally underway --

When did it become okay to pronounce the second month of the year without the first 'r'? When I was growing up, if a child pronounced it that way, they would invariably be corrected by a teacher. Now half the announcers on (gasp!) NPR are doing it. It makes me cringe every time I hear it.

How did this happen? I'm going to have to go to the liberry to do some research on the matter.

Wonderment
05-17-2010, 10:10 PM
How did this happen? I'm going to have to go to the liberry to do some research on the matter.

"Liberry" is infantile and dyslexic. Feb-yoo-ary, on the other hand, is what I've always said :)

Ocean
05-17-2010, 10:30 PM
"Liberry" is infantile and dyslexic. Feb-yoo-ary, on the other hand, is what I've always said :)

You are reminding me that one of my sons used to say "febie" instead of "fiebre".

Wonderment
05-17-2010, 11:05 PM
You are reminding me that one of my sons used to say "febie" instead of "fiebre".

We had "pela" instead of "escuela" and "pi-co-co" for "periůdico," back in the olden days when we used to get one delivered to the door.

listener
05-17-2010, 11:08 PM
"Liberry" is infantile and dyslexic.

Wonderment, I am so hurt by the aspersions you have cast upon me that I am going to have to go down to the corner bar and get good and inebiated!

bjkeefe
05-30-2010, 06:04 AM
When did it become okay to pronounce the second month of the year without the first 'r'? When I was growing up, if a child pronounced it that way, they would invariably be corrected by a teacher.

When did it become okay to use plural pronouns in place of singular ones?* When I was growing up, if a child did this, he or she would invariably be corrected by a teacher.

;)

==========
* And please don't cite some lame from the 16th century or whatever. They didn't even believe in consistent spelling back then.

rfrobison
05-30-2010, 09:14 AM
When did it become okay to use plural pronouns in place of singular ones?* When I was growing up, if a child did this, he or she would invariably be corrected by a teacher.

;)

==========
* And please don't cite some lame from the 16th century or whatever. They didn't even believe in consistent spelling back then.

This particular grammatical boo-boo comes, I believe, from a laudable, though in my view, misplaced, desire to be nonsexist. Thus, we get "they" when "he" (or "she") would be correct. Personally, I don't think the use of "he" as a sort of representative case for all people is sexist. And habitually using "he or she" is grating.

The way around it is, of course, to make the verbs and pronouns plural. E.g., "When I was growing up, if children did this they would invariably be corrected."

This isn't always practical, but it usually works.

Ocean
05-30-2010, 09:27 AM
This particular grammatical boo-boo comes, I believe, from a laudable, though in my view, misplaced, desire to be nonsexist. Thus, we get "they" when "he" (or "she") would be correct. Personally, I don't think the use of "he" as a sort of representative case for all people is sexist. And habitually using "he or she" is grating.

The way around it is, of course to make the verbs and pronouns plural. E.g., "When I was growing up, if children did this they would invariably be corrected."

This isn't always practical, but it usually works.

I propose using "it". It's cool. ;)

SkepticDoc
05-30-2010, 09:59 AM
After the death of a Pope (I don't remember which), it became acceptable in some circles to drop the "p" as a show of "respect" in Puerto Rico.

Any similar cases, religious or not, with English?

rfrobison
05-30-2010, 09:59 AM
That's OK with it.*

*=rfrobison

listener
05-30-2010, 12:30 PM
That's OK with it.*

*=rfrobison

:D

... or I suppose I could have used the execrable construction "s/he."

Brendan, I see that I'm going to have to really mind my P's and Q's around here! :) (or should that have been "Ps and Qs"?)

listener
05-30-2010, 12:35 PM
After the death of a Pope (I don't remember which), it became acceptable in some circles to drop the "p" as a show of "respect" in Puerto Rico.

Any similar cases, religious or not, with English?

None that I can think of, at least for now. But what you write about does seem to jog something vaguely in my memory of there being some similar example in English. Perhaps someone else will think of one...

Ocean
05-30-2010, 12:49 PM
After the death of a Pope (I don't remember which), it became acceptable in some circles to drop the "p" as a show of "respect" in Puerto Rico.

Any similar cases, religious or not, with English?

I never heard that the "p" was dropped because of anything related to a Pope. How do you understand that? Did Puerto Rico become Uerto Rico? ;)

Seriously, I never heard of that. All I know is there was a time when "setiembre" became accepted because of its use in common language. I thought it was the time when the Real Academia EspaŮola relaxed a bit, and started to modernize its vocabulary and spelling.

uncle ebeneezer
05-30-2010, 01:00 PM
Unless you meant "peas and cues!"

SkepticDoc
05-30-2010, 01:07 PM
Septiembre es el noveno mes del aŮo en el calendario gregoriano y tiene 30 dŪas. Su nombre, que viene de la misma raŪz latina de "sťptimo", se debe a que era el sťptimo mes en el calendario romano. Segķn la Real Academia EspaŮola, "septiembre" es la forma preferida en el uso culto, aunque "setiembre" no se considera incorrecto.

just sayin'

It is the "evolution" or the degeneration or corruption of language?

SkepticDoc
05-30-2010, 01:16 PM
This thread is as good as any other for this:

Thank You Everyone
As we progress into the year 2010, I want to thank all of you for your educational e-mails over the past year. I am totally screwed up now and have little chance of recovery.

I no longer open a bathroom door without using a paper towel, or have the waitress put lemon slices in my ice water without worrying about the bacteria on the lemon peel.

I canít use the remote in a hotel room because I donít know what the last person was doing while flipping through the adult movie channels.

I canít sit down on the hotel bedspread because I can only imagine what has happened on it since it was last washed.

I have trouble shaking hands with someone who has been driving because the number one pastime while driving alone is picking oneís nose.

Eating a little snack sends me on a guilt trip because I can only imagine how many gallons of trans fats I have consumed over the years.

I canít touch any womanís purse for fear she has placed it on the floor of a public bathroom.

I MUST SEND MY SPECIAL THANKS to whoever sent me the one about rat poop in the glue on envelopes because I now have to use a wet sponge with every envelope that needs sealing.

ALSO, now I have to scrub the top of every can I open for the same reason.

I no longer have any savings because I gave it to a sick girl (Penny Brown) who is about to die for the 1,387,258th time.

I no longer have any money, but that will change once I receive the $15,000 thatBill Gates/Microsoft and AOL are sending me for participating in their special e-mail program.

I canít have a drink in a bar because Iíll wake up in a bathtub full of ice with my kidneys gone.

I canít eat at KFC because their chickens are actually horrible mutant freaks with no eyes, feet or feathers.

I canít use cancer-causing deodorants even though I smell like a water buffalo on a hot day.

THANKS TO YOU I have learned that my prayers only get answered if I forward an e-mail to seven of my friends and make a wish within five minutes.

BECAUSE OF YOUR CONCERN, I no longer drink Coca Cola because it can remove toilet stains.

I no longer buy gas without taking someone along to watch the car so a serial killer doesnít crawl in my back seat when Iím filling up.

I no longer drink Pepsi or Fanta since the people who make these products are atheists who refuse to put ĎUnder Godí on their cans.

I no longer use Cling Wrap in the microwave because it causes seven different types of cancer.

AND THANKS FOR LETTING ME KNOW I canít boil a cup of water in the microwave anymore because it will blow up in my face, disfiguring me for life.

I no longer go to the movies because I could be pricked with a needle infected with AIDS when I sit down.

I no longer go to shopping malls because someone will drug me with a perfume sample and rob me.

I no longer receive packages from UPS or Fed Ex since they are actually Al Qaeda agents in disguise.

And I no longer answer the phone because someone will ask me to dial a number for which I will get a phone bill with calls to Jamaica , Uganda , Singapore , and Uzbekistan.

I no longer buy cookies from Neiman-Marcus since I now have their recipe.

THANKS TO YOU I canít use anyoneís toilet but mine because a big black snake could be lurking under the seat and cause me instant death when it bites my butt.

AND THANKS TO YOUR GREAT ADVICE I canít ever pick up $2.00 coin dropped in the parking lot because it probably was placed there by a sex molester waiting to grab me as I bend over.

I no longer drive my car because buying gas from some companies supports Al Qaeda, and buying gas from all the others supporting South American dictators.

I canít do any gardening because Iím afraid Iíll get bitten by the Violin Spider and my hand will fall off.

.
.
.
If you donít send this e-mail to at least 144,000 people in the next 70 minutes, a large dove with diarrhea will land on your head at 5:00 p.m. tomorrow afternoon, and the fleas from 120 camels will infest your back, causing you to grow a hairy hump. I know this will occur because it actually happened to a friend of my next door neighborís ex-mother-in-lawís second husbandís cousinís best friendís beautician . . . . . . .

Oh, by the way.....

A German scientist from Argentina , after a lengthy study, has discovered that people with insufficient brain activity read their e-mail with their hand on the mouse.

Donít bother taking it off now, itís too late.

P. S.: I now keep my toothbrush in the living room, because I was told by e-mail that water splashes over 6 ft. out of the toilet.

Ocean
05-30-2010, 01:22 PM
just sayin'

It is the "evolution" or the degeneration or corruption of language?

"just sayin' "?

I tend to think that language has to be modified as new ideas, concepts and connotations develop. From that perspective it's evolution not corruption. As to spelling, it may be helpful from time to time to update words which have changed in their spelling in a very generalized and accepted way. That's what the language masters are for, right?

SkepticDoc
05-30-2010, 01:37 PM
Correct spelling and proper grammar help communicate ideas regardless of the community that is originating or disseminating such.

Math is exact and universal because we deal with specific concepts, most of Science deals with the same, once we know the details, the unknown, like "dark matter" remains to be elucidated.

We should be informants to the "Grammar Police" in any language that we are using to allow the correct exchange of ideas, otherwise we could end up with various variations of the Spanish-Portuguese evolution in our own USA...

This may be a pointless discussion when Mandarin becomes the Universal Language :)

listener
05-30-2010, 01:39 PM
Unless you meant "peas and cues!"

Well, I suppose that would apply for when (as I so often do) I am enjoying my dinner while playing billiards.

Ocean
05-30-2010, 01:51 PM
Correct spelling and proper grammar help communicate ideas regardless of the community that is originating or disseminating such.

I agree that correct spelling and grammar allows more effective and accurate communication. That doesn't mean that language can't evolve.



Math is exact and universal because we deal with specific concepts, most of Science deals with the same, once we know the details, the unknown, like "dark matter" remains to be elucidated.


Not going off tangents also allows more effective communication.


We should be informants to the "Grammar Police" in any language that we are using to allow the correct exchange of ideas, otherwise we could end up with various variations of the Spanish-Portuguese evolution in our own USA...

You're scaring me, my friend. You've got to relax.

This may be a pointless discussion when Mandarin becomes the Universal Language :)

Nah. Too difficult to learn.

listener
05-30-2010, 02:00 PM
This thread is as good as any other for this:

...and have a safe and carefree day!

[added] And I think this is absolutely the right thread for your post, as evidenced by its original Statement of Purpose:

this thread is dedicated to venting about all the petty little things that just piss us off.

SkepticDoc
05-30-2010, 02:13 PM
We need new words when there are new ideas, items or processes.

Different spellings for existing ideas or items are fertile ground for misunderstandings and misrepresentations.

True intellectual and human evolution need a firm foundation to achieve progress, math is one of the foundations, precise language also has to be a firm foundation to allow the promulgation of Science and the "scientific method".

If the "Arts and Humanities" don't need to be precise, that is a separate issues that belongs in the faith domain.

Ocean
05-30-2010, 02:16 PM
We need new words when there are new ideas, items or processes.

Different spellings for existing ideas or items are fertile ground for misunderstandings and misrepresentations.

True intellectual and human evolution need a firm foundation to achieve progress, math is one of the foundations, precise language also has to be a firm foundation to allow the promulgation of Science and the "scientific method".

If the "Arts and Humanities" don't need to be precise, that is a separate issues that belongs in the faith domain.

I agree with most of that, except the "faith domain" for the Arts and Humanities.

bjkeefe
05-30-2010, 02:18 PM
This particular grammatical boo-boo comes, I believe, from a laudable, though in my view, misplaced, desire to be nonsexist. Thus, we get "they" when "he" (or "she") would be correct. Personally, I don't think the use of "he" as a sort of representative case for all people is sexist.

Imagine if we used she in all cases. That'd probably bother you, wouldn't it?

No, I can sympathize with those who dislike he in all cases, and I agree with them that it can be seen as sexist.

And habitually using "he or she" is grating.

The way around it is, of course, to make the verbs and pronouns plural. E.g., "When I was growing up, if children did this they would invariably be corrected."

This isn't always practical, but it usually works.

Agreed. He or she, over and over again, is clunky. But, as you point out, it is virtually always possible to recast a sentence, whether by making the noun plural or otherwise rearranging it. I also like, for informal writing, using the second person; e.g., If you had pronounced it "Febuary" back in my day, any teacher would have corrected you.

nikkibong
05-30-2010, 02:20 PM
Imagine if we used she in all cases. That'd probably bother you, wouldn't it?

no need to imagine: just pick up a sociology paper written in the last twenty years.

and, yes, it's bothersome. but probably because it's so overtly political and in your face. were "she" simply the standard iteration, i'm not sure i'd be irritated...

bjkeefe
05-30-2010, 02:24 PM
:D

... or I suppose I could have used the execrable construction "s/he."

Eh, I don't hate that so much. Yeah, it smacks a little of biz-speak, and I don't use it, but when I see it as a bit of shorthand in an informal note, I don't object.

Brendan, I see that I'm going to have to really mind my P's and Q's around here! :) (or should that have been "Ps and Qs"?)

That's a matter of style and taste. I prefer not to use apostrophes here, since this is a case of pluralization, not possession or contraction. But I can appreciate that in some cases, the apostrophe can make things more clear; e.g., As are good grades or The Is have it.

SkepticDoc
05-30-2010, 02:27 PM
I agree with most of that, except the "faith domain" for the Arts and Humanities.

Personal taste domain may be a better term, but which one contains the other?

bjkeefe
05-30-2010, 02:28 PM
I tend to think that language has to be modified as new ideas, concepts and connotations develop. From that perspective it's evolution not corruption.

Agreed. I think evolution is the better sense, especially if one keeps in mind the biological connection: evolution is not the same as "gets monotonically better, always, seen from the perspective of history and measured against some current standard." Things evolve to deal with demands at a specific time and place, or even in some cases, in reaction to the removal of demands. In the latter case, I am thinking of fish and other animals that live in deep dark caves -- they tend to "lose" their pigmentation and eyesight, and this is just as much a process of evolution as anything else.

bjkeefe
05-30-2010, 02:32 PM
Unless you meant "peas and cues!"

No, he meant pees and queues, which is going to the bathroom in a crowded bar, in the wrong order.

bjkeefe
05-30-2010, 02:35 PM
no need to imagine: just pick up a sociology paper written in the last twenty years.

and, yes, it's bothersome. but probably because it's so overtly political and in your face. were "she" simply the standard iteration, i'm not sure i'd be irritated...

I agree that it's hard to imagine separate from the context in which we do see it. Nonetheless, I suspect many if not most males would be irritated apart from that. And in any case, since we do know that it bothers a large amount of people always to say he, I don't think it demands too much to make the desired change.

Ocean
05-30-2010, 02:36 PM
In the latter case, I am thinking of fish and other animals that live in deep dark caves -- they tend to "lose" their pigmentation and eyesight, and this is just as much a process of evolution as anything else.

As my class mates used to say, if you don't use it, you lose it.

(Eyesight and pigmentation, I mean.)

:)

Ocean
05-30-2010, 02:36 PM
Personal taste domain may be a better term, but which one contains the other?

How about the domains of Thought and Self-Expression?

listener
05-30-2010, 02:39 PM
No, he meant pees and queues, which is going to the bathroom in a crowded bar, in the wrong order.

Oh, man. If I had a dime for every time that's happened to me...

listener
05-30-2010, 03:04 PM
I agree that it's hard to imagine separate from the context in which we do see it. Nonetheless, I suspect many if not most males would be irritated apart from that. And in any case, since we do know that it bothers a large amount of people always to say he, I don't think it demands too much to make the desired change.

Okay, this is a hopelessly obscure reference from SCTV, but since the title of this thread is already an obscure reference from SCTV, I can marginally excuse this one: One of the characters invented by Martin Short for SCTV was an insufferably and pompous name-dropper of a TV interviewer called Brock Linehan (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xyQ6G7EM_uc), apparently based upon a real Canadian TV interviewer named Brian Linehan. In one of Brock's interviews, in an attempt to be all-inclusive, he says, "be he black or be he white; be he a man or be he a woman..." That line cracked me up, and obviously has stuck with me.

(It took me a while to notice that one of the salient features of the Linehan character is that he never blinks.)

rfrobison
05-30-2010, 07:19 PM
Imagine if we used she in all cases. That'd probably bother you, wouldn't it?...

Mmm, yeah, maybe. It would strike me as a bit of an affectation. Samuelson's "Economics"-- at least the edition I used in college nearly 25 years ago -- often had sentences like: "A good economist always holds her variables constant...." to underscore for young, impressionable undergrads that not all economists are men.

That seems a fair trade-off to me as long as the writer isn't continually switching back and forth within the same topic or paragraph, and thus making it seem like the subject is a transsexual who can't make up his/her mind!

On the other hand, I strongly dislike constructions like: "The department is searching for a new chair, with the retirement of Professor Tweed."

Tweed may have been a twit, but surely we shouldn't replace her with a piece of furniture.

But my news bible, "The Economist," seems to go out of its way to be ornery. They might write something like this:

Professor Julia Tweed, having stepped down as chairman, hasn't been shy about telling all and sundry what she thinks of her colleagues on the Committee for Gender Equality: "They're a bunch of sexist twits, the lot of them."

Speaking strictly for myself, I try to avoid gratuitous insult wherever possible. Thus, "chairwoman" if you know the person in the chair is of the female persuasion. Otherwise, "chairman" works fine for me. Don't get me started on "chairperson."

*Note to Listener: I also watch my proverbial Ps and Qs around Mr. Keefe--especially since I made the mistake of putting my occupation (editor) on my profile page!

Don Zeko
05-30-2010, 09:13 PM
You guys have all read David Foster Wallace's essay (http://instruct.westvalley.edu/lafave/DFW_present_tense.html) about grammarians/grammar nazis/whatever such people would prefer to be called, right?

rfrobison
05-31-2010, 12:19 AM
No, I hadn't. It's fantastic. Thanks!

Don Zeko
05-31-2010, 12:57 AM
Happy to help.

bjkeefe
05-31-2010, 01:35 AM
On the other hand, I strongly dislike constructions like: "The department is searching for a new chair, with the retirement of Professor Tweed."

Tweed may have been a twit, but surely we shouldn't replace her with a piece of furniture.

But my news bible, "The Economist," seems to go out of its way to be ornery. They might write something like this:

Professor Julia Tweed, having stepped down as chairman, hasn't been shy about telling all and sundry what she thinks of her colleagues on the Committee for Gender Equality: "They're a bunch of sexist twits, the lot of them."

Speaking strictly for myself, I try to avoid gratuitous insult wherever possible. Thus, "chairwoman" if you know the person in the chair is of the female persuasion. Otherwise, "chairman" works fine for me. Don't get me started on "chairperson."

My mother, who was more than a bit of a Miss Thistlebottom herself,* not to mention a fairly outspoken feminist, loathed chairwoman and preferred chairman, insisting that the -man part came from the Latin for hand (cf. manipulate, manual labor, etc.), as in "the hand that steers the committee (or board, or whatever)." I never found much to confirm that, but it resolved that one matter for her, so I let it pass.

In general, though, I think chair seems like a reasonable enough accommodation. Even if it has other definitions, its meaning is clear from context, especially as it is usually modified; e.g., Department Chair.

==========
* For example, woe be to any reporter or student under her supervision who used presently to mean currently, as in (http://www.wsu.edu/~brians/errors/presently.html) "She is presently the chair of the Economics Department."

kezboard
05-31-2010, 03:25 AM
I no longer open a bathroom door without using a paper towel

But this one is completely rational. Do you know how many gross people don't wash their hands after using the bathroom? Seriously.

kezboard
05-31-2010, 03:51 AM
It irritates me a little when people talk about not using gendered pronouns as if the only reason to do so is as a sop to political correctness. It seems to me that English speakers connect gender in language very strongly to gender as it's socially defined, and that's not the case in all languages. For instance, there's a word in Czech for "girl" which is actually grammatically neuter, and if you wanted to use that word and say "The girl did it", you would say "Děvče to udělalo". Even though the verb form udělalo expressly connotes the neuter gender, nobody would think the person there was talking about some sexless being, since the word "děvče" means "girl" -- in Czech it's possible for a noun to be grammatically neuter and socially feminine. That just isn't the case in English, and so it's inevitable that some people are going to perceive from the sentence "Every student will get his lunch" the notion that all the students are male (or that all the students are going to eat one guy's lunch).

You know, I guess it is an affectation when writers flip it on its head and write "Every economist is careful with her money", but I have to say that as a woman I sort of appreciate it. Is it completely incomprehensible that someone could feel a sort of exclusion when they're faced with this sort of grammatical construction?

rfrobison
05-31-2010, 04:55 AM
It irritates me a little when people talk about not using gendered pronouns as if the only reason to do so is as a sop to political correctness. It seems to me that English speakers connect gender in language very strongly to gender as it's socially defined, and that's not the case in all languages. For instance, there's a word in Czech for "girl" which is actually grammatically neuter, and if you wanted to use that word and say "The girl did it", you would say "Děvče to udělalo". Even though the verb form udělalo expressly connotes the neuter gender, nobody would think the person there was talking about some sexless being, since the word "děvče" means "girl" -- in Czech it's possible for a noun to be grammatically neuter and socially feminine. That just isn't the case in English, and so it's inevitable that some people are going to perceive from the sentence "Every student will get his lunch" the notion that all the students are male (or that all the students are going to eat one guy's lunch).

You know, I guess it is an affectation when writers flip it on its head and write "Every economist is careful with her money", but I have to say that as a woman I sort of appreciate it. Is it completely incomprehensible that someone could feel a sort of exclusion when they're faced with this sort of grammatical construction?

In answer to your question, Kez, it's not incomprehensible to me at all. I suppose it all comes down to how much one chooses to take such linguistic slights to heart, if, in fact, that's what they are. It's a matter of politesse for me, I guess; of not going out of my way to stick my finger in somebody's eye.

Still, I spent a quarter at the University of Minnesota before going abroad my for junior year of college -- talk about a shock to my rightish sensibilities! -- and can recall being both bemused and amused by the U of M Womyn's Association, etc.

I might be inclined to give a bit on "chair," BJ (Get it?), but I can't escape the gnawing feeling that in our urge to be less exclusionary we end up mostly being less human (hupersun?)--turning people into inanimate objects and whatnot.

I'm going to leave it at that for the moment as Listener explicitly requested that we leave politics out and I risk becoming political if I pursue this line of argmentation much further...

Ocean
05-31-2010, 08:11 AM
In Spanish his/her is "su" or "sus" for plural. It's gender neutral. No problem there. And nouns, for the most part, adopt the ending "a" for feminine, and "o" for masculine.


How about helping the English language evolve a little faster?

Chairmana and Chairmano.

Done!

:)

Florian
05-31-2010, 11:09 AM
Old and probably familiar story to the purists here.

When Winston Churchill was reprimanded for some grammatical solecism (no doubt the school-marmish rule about prepositions at the end of sentences), he is said to have replied: That is something up with which I shall not put.

By the way, how many contemporary Americans know how to use "shall" and "will" and all the permutations of "would" and "should"?

ZERO in my opinion. Not that it matters in the least.

listener
05-31-2010, 11:52 AM
In Spanish his/her is "su" or "sus" for plural. It's gender neutral. No problem there. And nouns, for the most part, adopt the ending "a" for feminine, and "o" for masculine.


How about helping the English language evolve a little faster?

Chairmana and Chairmano.

Done!

:)

That gets my vote! I love it!

ledocs
05-31-2010, 11:53 AM
... and so it's inevitable that some people are going to perceive from the sentence "Every student will get his lunch" the notion that all the students are male (or that all the students are going to eat one guy's lunch).

This result would be "inevitable" only for people uninstructed in English grammar. But people want to substitute "her" for "his," and that's fine, it is a sop to political correctness, or a reaction to what had been male dominion in grammar, I make this substitution myself, I've done it here, it's fine. I did not realize until now, on the other hand, that you were female.

bjkeefe
05-31-2010, 02:51 PM
That gets my vote! I love it!

Not I. Though it is more euphonious than the English equivalent of chairman and chairwoman, I still think, in general, it is best for the position itself to be referred to in a gender-neutral way, as in police officer instead of policeman, firefighter instead of fireman, letter carrier instead of mailman, crewed or staffed instead of manned, etc. To my mind, forcing the neologism, as with chairwoman, conveys a subtle impression that there is something weird about a woman holding the position.

bjkeefe
05-31-2010, 03:10 PM
Old and probably familiar story to the purists here.

When Winston Churchill was reprimanded for some grammatical solecism (no doubt the school-marmish rule about prepositions at the end of sentences), he is said to have replied: That is something up with which I shall not put.

By the way, how many contemporary Americans know how to use "shall" and "will" and all the permutations of "would" and "should"?

ZERO in my opinion. Not that it matters in the least.

I do know that, strictly speaking, one "should" use shall with the first person singular or plural, where the second and third person take will. I can't state any rule on would and should, granted.

I remember looking up shall, long ago, and according to my American Heritage Dictionary published in the early 1970s (not 1970's, listener (http://bloggingheads.tv/forum/showthread.php?p=163142#post163142)! ;)), the term was even then already obsolete or at least obsolescent. I still hear it occasionally, and like it, as a rhetorical flourish; e.g., I shall return or We shall never surrender, but I think it is mostly gone in almost all forms of American English. (The former, of course, having been obliterated by I'll be back, said in an Austrian accent, and the latter by, well, duh, Galaxy Quest, hello?)

I think it this is different, though. Even a nitpicker like me (such as me, such as I am) does not dispute that English is a living language. Some words and meanings will fall out of use, others will come into use. Hopefully, in the sense of it is to be hoped, is the one I always think of, due to William Safire's delightful column surrendering on this front. But I still applaud people like Bill Simmon (http://bjkeefe.blogspot.com/2008/04/new-to-me-momentarily.html), who grouse about momentarily being used to mean in a moment.

In other words, what is "correct" at any given moment is of course purely a matter of convention among the people who use the language. However, it seems to me that as with everything else agree upon by a society, what is "correct" at the moment is something that matters more than ZERO.

listener
05-31-2010, 03:36 PM
You guys have all read David Foster Wallace's essay (http://instruct.westvalley.edu/lafave/DFW_present_tense.html) about grammarians/grammar nazis/whatever such people would prefer to be called, right?

Wow, great essay! Really informative, insightful and entertaining. I'm still working my way through its gargantuan length -- I've just reached the part where Wallace goes into the history of the absurd injunction against the split infinitive. I had no idea.

Plus, the opening salvo probably contains enough "pet peeves" to keep us all bitching and arguing about them for a long time to come!

Thanks, Zeke, for linking to this article.

bjkeefe
05-31-2010, 03:42 PM
Wow, great essay! Really informative, insightful and entertaining. I'm still working my way through its gargantuan length -- I've just reached the part where Wallace goes into the history of the absurd injunction against the split infinitive. I had no idea.

Plus, the opening salvo probably contains enough "pet peeves" to keep us all bitching and arguing about them for a long time to come!

Thanks, Zeke, for linking to this article.

I share your thanks for the link and characterization of the length. I have been referred to this article before, and never made it to the end. Probably I should copy and paste it to someplace where I can render it in a less unreadable font.

I do agree with the part about split infinitives, and it may be that this essay was what first opened my eyes to the origin of that rule.

Ocean
05-31-2010, 04:05 PM
Not I.

You didn't love it, hermano?

bjkeefe
05-31-2010, 04:07 PM
Ocean says (http://bloggingheads.tv/forum/showthread.php?p=163299#post163299):

You didn't love it, hermano?

WIN.

Ocean
05-31-2010, 04:09 PM
Ocean says (http://bloggingheads.tv/forum/showthread.php?p=163299#post163299):



WIN.

:)

Florian
05-31-2010, 04:33 PM
I do know that, strictly speaking, one "should" use shall with the first person singular or plural, where the second and third person take will. I can't state any rule on would and should, granted..

If you ever want to amuse yourself with utterly pointless pedantry, look up will/shall, would/should in Fowler's English Usage (about 10 pages if I remember correctly). Literary English before WW II, say, was very fussy on this point.

In other words, what is "correct" at any given moment is of course purely a matter of convention among the people who use the language. However, it seems to me that as with everything else agree upon by a society, what is "correct" at the moment is something that matters more than ZERO.

I didn't mean to imply that concern for correct usage doesn't matter, but only that this particular distinction seems to matter to no one, at least in the US.

listener
05-31-2010, 04:47 PM
I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasnít lived that life.

bjkeefe
05-31-2010, 05:07 PM
If you ever want to amuse yourself with utterly pointless pedantry, look up will/shall, would/should in Fowler's English Usage (about 10 pages if I remember correctly).

I can imagine.

Literary English before WW II, say, was very fussy on this point.

Anything can be mocked in the extreme, but I do think we've lost a little something in this regard.

At any event, I hope you will have noted that I usually care less about grammatical prescriptions, apart from the clanging that singular they causes, and more about usage -- the meaning of words. I'm not sure why, but this distinction matters to me.

I didn't mean to imply that concern for correct usage doesn't matter, but only that this particular distinction seems to matter to no one, at least in the US.

OIC. Thanks for clarifying.

Ocean
05-31-2010, 05:14 PM
I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasnít lived that life.

Sure. But that wisdom pertains to the space of experience which doesn't overlap with the white man's. In the overlapping area, I tend to think that men and women of diverse cultures tend to complement each other. No need to look at it as a competition.

Only unwise white men would look at it from that perspective.

:)

popcorn_karate
06-01-2010, 12:02 PM
But this one is completely rational. Do you know how many gross people don't wash their hands after using the bathroom? Seriously.

yeah, i found that annoying about the list too - it mixes in real, rational issues with paranoia and urban legends.

now that is really one of my pet peeves!

SkepticDoc
06-01-2010, 12:37 PM
I've heard of people that carry pocket hand sanitizer dispensers, just in case...

How do you know it is safe to shake hands with anybody?

You can never be too careful...

bjkeefe
06-01-2010, 01:55 PM
I've heard of people that carry pocket hand sanitizer dispensers, just in case...

How do you know it is safe to shake hands with anybody?

You can never be too careful...

Ugh. If there's anything I hate about this whole topic, it's the fad for anti-bacterial products like hand sanitizers. I am convinced we are breeding strains of highly resistant bacteria by using these things.

The reason I don't worry about shaking hands or bathroom knobs or what have you is because I have an immune system. I can appreciate the concern of people who have a compromised immune system, due to illness, but for reasonably healthy people maintaining normal rules of hygiene, germ phobia is ... well, a phobia; i.e., irrational.

You know who else liked hand sanitizer? George W. Bush, that's who!

SkepticDoc
06-01-2010, 02:50 PM
For the record: I don't carry or use a hand sanitizer outside of the "Medical" milieu. I wash my hands after I examine my patients in the hospital because they are sick enough to be admitted and the probability of exposure to pathogens is real (Eliezer Yudkowsky wrote a nice piece on the Bayes theorem- http://yudkowsky.net/rational/bayes )

If you try to raise children in germ-free environments, they don't develop their immune systems and are less healthy, it is part of a biological equilibrium, ecology if you will.

We all definitely need to avoid contact obviously soiled items, bodily fluids in any non-intimate encounters, but everyday human interactions with personal contact will improve both our physical and emotional health.

(I hope Ocean will agree with me! :) )

listener
06-01-2010, 03:55 PM
For the record: I don't carry or use a hand sanitizer outside of the "Medical" milieu. I wash my hands after I examine my patients in the hospital because they are sick enough to be admitted and the probability of exposure to pathogens is real (Eliezer Yudkowsky wrote a nice piece on the Bayes theorem- http://yudkowsky.net/rational/bayes )

If you try to raise children in germ-free environments, they don't develop their immune systems and are less healthy, it is part of a biological equilibrium, ecology if you will.

We all definitely need to avoid contact obviously soiled items, bodily fluids in any non-intimate encounters, but everyday human interactions with personal contact will improve both our physical and emotional health.

Yes, or else we will end up like this (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5BA4oIqCnKc)!

(I hope Ocean will agree with me! :) )

(We both await the Oceanic arbitrament! :) )

Ocean
06-01-2010, 06:03 PM
If you try to raise children in germ-free environments, they don't develop their immune systems and are less healthy, it is part of a biological equilibrium, ecology if you will.

We all definitely need to avoid contact obviously soiled items, bodily fluids in any non-intimate encounters, but everyday human interactions with personal contact will improve both our physical and emotional health.

(I hope Ocean will agree with me! :) )


What have I done to deserve these grown putative children that need my permission/ approval? ;)

Alright, I agree with the above in general terms.

Ocean
06-01-2010, 06:08 PM
Yes, or else we will end up like this (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5BA4oIqCnKc)!



(We both await the Oceanic arbitrament! :) )

No, no germ phobias accepted. Oceanic seal of approval for common sense hygiene.

What the heck!

listener
06-16-2010, 01:02 AM
Can we all just agree to drop the "any thinking person knows," or "it is obvious to everyone," or "any educated person would know that," or "everybody knows that..." or any other variation on the argumentum ad populum fallacy? I see this from both the "left" and the "right," and it is sooooo tiresome. It is really getting on my nerves.

[xpost "Bling, War, Fashion, and Radicalism (Hanna Rosin & Maureen Tkacik) (http://bloggingheads.tv/forum/showthread.php?p=165344#post165344)" thread]

Don Zeko
06-16-2010, 01:06 AM
This should be taught in schools on the same day that they threaten to beat you upside the head if you are found in violation of Lambchop's Law. (http://bloggingheads.tv/forum/showpost.php?p=153353&postcount=14) I'm usually not a fan of corporeal punishment, but desperate times call for desperate measures.

rfrobison
06-16-2010, 01:20 AM
Can we all just agree to drop the "any thinking person knows," or "it is obvious to everyone," or "any educated person would know that," or "everybody knows that..." or any other variation on the argumentum ad populum fallacy? I see this from both the "left" and the "right," and it is sooooo tiresome. It is really getting on my nerves.

[xpost "Bling, War, Fashion, and Radicalism (Hanna Rosin & Maureen Tkacik) (http://bloggingheads.tv/forum/showthread.php?p=165344#post165344)" thread]

Everybody knows you'd say something like that.
;)

listener
06-16-2010, 01:23 AM
This should be taught in schools on the same day that they threaten to beat you upside the head if you are found in violation of Lambchop's Law. (http://bloggingheads.tv/forum/showpost.php?p=153353&postcount=14) I'm usually not a fan of corporeal punishment, but desperate times call for desperate measures.

Yes. And any reasonable person would agree!

Re: Lambchop's Law -- it is one of the principles I hold dearest to my heart. I noticed numerous appeals to the Lambchop principle in yesterday's diavlog between Tim Noah & Jim Pinkerton.

Also, I feel compelled to give Ocean (http://bloggingheads.tv/forum/showpost.php?p=153358&postcount=1) equal credit along with kezboard for coming up with this most valuable juridical innovation. And, of course, Lambchop (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IC9C9c2H4mY&feature=related) herself!

[h/t Ocean (http://bloggingheads.tv/forum/showpost.php?p=161385&postcount=1) (again)]

listener
06-16-2010, 01:49 AM
Everybody knows you'd say something like that.
;)

Of course -- anyone with a scintilla of sense would know that it's what the American People would want me to say.

listener
06-16-2010, 02:00 AM
Eh, I don't hate that so much. Yeah, it smacks a little of biz-speak, and I don't use it, but when I see it as a bit of shorthand in an informal note, I don't object.



That's a matter of style and taste. I prefer not to use apostrophes here, since this is a case of pluralization, not possession or contraction. But I can appreciate that in some cases, the apostrophe can make things more clear; e.g., As are good grades or The Is have it.

That would be "the ayes have it," no?

(It only took me two weeks to catch that one!)

rfrobison
06-16-2010, 02:11 AM
'Fraid not, Listner. BJ's choice was a deliberate pun on the standard phrase (which you correctly spelled). If you look again you'll see he was talking about how to make a plural out of certain letters of the alphabet -- "A's" as opposed to "As," "I's" rather than "Is."

But let's keep after him. Well get him!

rfrobison
06-16-2010, 02:14 AM
Ah, wait. Maybe you half got him. His choice of "Is" wasn't the ideal since it would normally be spelled "ayes." Never mind.

listener
06-16-2010, 02:19 AM
Ah, wait. Maybe you half got him. His choice of "Is" wasn't the ideal since it would normally be spelled "ayes." Never mind.

I's thinking you may be right about that.

Ocean
06-16-2010, 07:10 AM
Of course -- anyone with a scintilla of sense would know that it's what the American People would want me to say.

And the Founding Fathers!

rfrobison
06-16-2010, 09:54 AM
And Mothers. You some kinda reactionary?! ;)

bjkeefe
06-16-2010, 12:43 PM
That would be "the ayes have it," no?

(It only took me two weeks to catch that one!)

:D

bjkeefe
06-16-2010, 12:44 PM
But let's keep after him. Well get him!

We'll played!

bjkeefe
06-16-2010, 12:48 PM
Can we all just agree to drop the "any thinking person knows," or "it is obvious to everyone," or "any educated person would know that," or "everybody knows that..." or any other variation on the argumentum ad populum fallacy? I see this from both the "left" and the "right," and it is sooooo tiresome. It is really getting on my nerves.

Second that, although it's more a case of overuse than never applying, I think.

On a related note, I made a plea somewhere on this site for people to stop saying an opinion was objectively true.

That literally makes my blood boil.

;)

bjkeefe
06-16-2010, 12:49 PM
And the Founding Fathers!

LOL! Boy, is that one tiresome, too.

Florian
06-16-2010, 12:53 PM
Second that, although it's more a case of overuse than never applying, I think.

On a related note, I made a plea somewhere on this site for people to stop saying an opinion was objectively true.

That literally makes my blood boil.

;)

Then you must be dead...literally.

bjkeefe
06-16-2010, 01:02 PM
Then you must be dead...literally.

No, I was just playing at being an AWFUL (http://bjkeefe.blogspot.com/2007/12/retroacronym-of-day-2007-12-29.html) person.

Florian
06-16-2010, 01:21 PM
No, I was just playing at being an AWFUL (http://bjkeefe.blogspot.com/2007/12/retroacronym-of-day-2007-12-29.html) person.

Amusing acronym. A rather big club in literal-minded America, I should think (the archaic use of "should" is literary not literal).

bjkeefe
06-16-2010, 01:35 PM
Amusing acronym. A rather big club in literal-minded America, I should think (the archaic use of "should" is literary not literal).

I do like that use of should, and sometimes I am saddened by thoughts of its obsolescence.

Actually, I meant to point out before that the first word of the acronym could ... nay, should ... be Anyone. (With appropriate modification of the verb at position four, of course.)

[Added] Also: lol @ your last three words.

rfrobison
06-16-2010, 05:44 PM
We'll played!

Yeah, wasnt it?

rfrobison
06-16-2010, 05:47 PM
Wish I could say it was deliberate.

listener
06-16-2010, 05:57 PM
Wish I could say it was deliberate.

Okay, that does it! I'm ordering these (http://www.linenoiz.com/pics/funny/GrammarPolice.gif) for us. We will be the punctuation SWAT team, charged with carrying out commando operations such as this one (http://fromdamienwithlove.files.wordpress.com/2008/04/punctuation-police01.jpg).

rfrobison
06-16-2010, 06:46 PM
Bwahaahahahahahah!

bjkeefe
06-16-2010, 10:17 PM
Okay, that does it! I'm ordering these (http://www.linenoiz.com/pics/funny/GrammarPolice.gif) for us. We will be the punctuation SWAT team, charged with carrying out commando operations such as this one (http://fromdamienwithlove.files.wordpress.com/2008/04/punctuation-police01.jpg).

I love both of those! Thanks.

You might also like this (http://www.unnecessaryquotes.com/).

listener
06-16-2010, 10:43 PM
I love both of those! Thanks.

You might also like this (http://www.unnecessaryquotes.com/).

Thanks! Those were very "funny"!

bjkeefe
06-17-2010, 03:11 PM
Ah, wait. Maybe you half got him. His choice of "Is" wasn't the ideal since it would normally be spelled "ayes." Never mind.

Or maybe I was thinking, the eyes (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/15/science/15crea.html) have it?

listener
06-17-2010, 06:30 PM
Or maybe I was thinking, the eyes (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/15/science/15crea.html) have it?

Okay, enough! Besides, I think we have exhausted all possible homonyms. :)

(Though I must admit, the pictures are way cool!)

kezboard
06-17-2010, 06:46 PM
I do know that, strictly speaking, one "should" use shall with the first person singular or plural, where the second and third person take will. I can't state any rule on would and should, granted.

One of the first things I asked my employer after I was hired as an English teacher was "Do you have a position on 'shall'?" Fortunately, they don't, so I'm not forced to teach it. I'm not going to teach students a ridiculous word like 'shall'.

kezboard
06-17-2010, 06:50 PM
The reason I don't worry about shaking hands or bathroom knobs or what have you is because I have an immune system. I can appreciate the concern of people who have a compromised immune system, due to illness, but for reasonably healthy people maintaining normal rules of hygiene, germ phobia is ... well, a phobia; i.e., irrational.

It's not that I'm afraid of getting sick. I just don't like the idea of my hands being in the same place where it's entirely possible that thirty seconds ago someone else had their hands, which thirty-five seconds ago were directly in their crotch. So it isn't the germs so much as, I guess, the cooties. Which is actually more irrational, but I don't want my hands in some stranger's crotch even if there's a doorknob as a proxy.

kezboard
06-17-2010, 06:56 PM
The president of that club is literally Joe Biden. I remember during the campaign him saying something like "We are literally going to change the direction of this country".

bjkeefe
06-17-2010, 07:02 PM
The president of that club is literally Joe Biden. I remember during the campaign him saying something like "We are literally going to change the direction of this country".

OMG, yes. Drives me up a wall, because he's a pretty good speaker otherwise.

bjkeefe
06-17-2010, 07:05 PM
... but I don't want my hands in some stranger's crotch even if there's a doorknob as a proxy.

Aaaaah, you just don't know how to party.

I kid, I kid. Aversion reactions are of course understandable. I guess, having been a janitor for a while, I had to intellectualize myself out of some of these, in order to be able to do my job without heaving. It doesn't get much worse than a bathroom in a nightclub after a big Saturday night, and never mind just the doorknobs.

listener
06-17-2010, 07:07 PM
It's not that I'm afraid of getting sick. I just don't like the idea of my hands being in the same place where it's entirely possible that thirty seconds ago someone else had their hands, which thirty-five seconds ago were directly in their crotch. So it isn't the germs so much as, I guess, the cooties. Which is actually more irrational, but I don't want my hands in some stranger's crotch even if there's a doorknob as a proxy.

Not to worry, kezboard! Thanks to the miracle of modern medicine, there is a safe and effective inoculation (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cooties#Play_treatment) available for this malady. ;)

bjkeefe
06-17-2010, 07:08 PM
One of the first things I asked my employer after I was hired as an English teacher was "Do you have a position on 'shall'?" Fortunately, they don't, ...

(*Falls over, clutching chest.*)

But you knew that would make my agita flare up, didn't you?

... so I'm not forced to teach it. I'm not going to teach students a ridiculous word like 'shall'.

I'll grant it smells archaic, maybe even baroque. But "ridiculous" seems harsh.

Shall we dance? <-- recast that.

TwinSwords
06-17-2010, 07:14 PM
OMG, yes. Drives me up a wall, because he's a pretty good speaker otherwise.

Indeed. As he was today:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ABToOl-xbHE&playnext_from=TL&videos=ik0xM7gPzqQ

I wish Obama would emote like that. Not because I need it, but because the a large segment of the American public, evidently, does.

Ocean
06-17-2010, 07:19 PM
Aaaaah, you just don't know how to party.


LOL!!!

AemJeff
06-17-2010, 07:45 PM
(*Falls over, clutching chest.*)

But you knew that would make my agita flare up, didn't you?



I'll grant it smells archaic, maybe even baroque. But "ridiculous" seems harsh.

Shall we dance? <-- recast that.

"Would you like to dance?"
"Let us dance!"

They don't quite capture the precise flavor of "Shall we..." - but they do seem to occupy similar points in an imaginary semantic continuum.

listener
06-17-2010, 08:09 PM
Aaaaah, you just don't know how to party.

I kid, I kid. Aversion reactions are of course understandable. I guess, having been a janitor for a while, I had to intellectualize myself out of some of these, in order to be able to do my job without heaving. It doesn't get much worse than a bathroom in a nightclub after a big Saturday night, and never mind just the doorknobs.

Not to get into a pissing contest about janitor stories :D ), but I worked as a janitor in a school, and the kindergarten bathroom was just amazing!! No amount of toxic chemicals could make a dent in that stench. Let me put it this way: whereas drunk nightclub patrons may see toilets as "suggestions," the kindergarteners in this school seemed to treat them as merely "decorative objects."

listener
06-17-2010, 08:18 PM
They don't quite capture the precise flavor of "Shall we..." - but they do seem to occupy similar points in an imaginary semantic continuum.

I agree that "shall" is uniquely suited to certain poetic or quasi-poetic utterances: "We Shall Not Be Moved," "We Shall Overcome," I Shall Be Free," etc.

I'm reminded of an example my brother likes to cite about the poetic vs. the "proper" use of language: what if Fitzgerald's Tender Is the Night had been 'corrected' to The Night Is Tender?

Ocean
06-17-2010, 08:45 PM
They don't quite capture the precise flavor of "Shall we..." - but they do seem to occupy similar points in an imaginary semantic continuum.

I may be old fashioned about this, but the "Shall we...?" is unbeatable.

Ocean
06-17-2010, 08:46 PM
"We Shall Overcome," I Shall Be Free,"


Yes, those are among my favorites too.

AemJeff
06-17-2010, 08:49 PM
I may be old fashioned about this, but the "Shall we...?" is unbeatable.

I understand what you're saying, but I think the imperative version ("Let us dance!") delivered in proper circumstances, can have equal force and can be equivalently elegant.

Ocean
06-17-2010, 08:57 PM
I understand what you're saying, but I think the imperative version ("Let us dance!") delivered in proper circumstances, can have equal force and can be equivalently elegant.

Perhaps trying to analyze the richness of expression can lead to a world of fantasy not suitable for public forums.





Okay, I'm just teasing... :)

AemJeff
06-17-2010, 08:59 PM
Perhaps trying to analyze the richness of expression can lead to a world of fantasy not suitable for public forums.





Okay, I'm just teasing... :)

!

<Laughing>

bjkeefe
06-18-2010, 12:33 AM
Not to get into a pissing contest ...

Nice.

... but ... the kindergarteners ...

If you think urine and feces is as bad as it can get, you don't know bad. Let's just leave it at that.

listener
06-18-2010, 01:01 AM
Nice.



If you think urine and feces is as bad as it can get, you don't know bad. Let's just leave it at that.

Hmm, hadn't thought of that... drunken grownups do have other bodily discharges readily available at their disposal. Point taken.

rfrobison
06-18-2010, 01:10 AM
You know who else liked hand sanitizer? George W. Bush, that's who!

[INSERT FAVORITE JOKE ABOUT PRESIDENTS GETTING HANDS DIRTY HERE.]


By the way, I share your views on people's irrational fear of germs, etc. I've read stuff about how some experts believe the growing prevalence of excema among children in rich countries is due to parents' efforts to keep their kids in a sort of germ-free bubble, and that this keeps them from developing a strong immune system and makes them hypersensitive to normal, run-of-the-mill germs.

'Scuse me while I go play in a mud puddle.

listener
06-18-2010, 01:34 AM
[INSERT FAVORITE JOKE ABOUT PRESIDENTS GETTING HANDS DIRTY HERE.]


By the way, I share your views on people's irrational fear of germs, etc. I've read stuff about how some experts believe the growing prevalence of excema among children in rich countries is due to parents' efforts to keep their kids in a sort of germ-free bubble, and that this keeps them from developing a strong immune system and makes them hypersensitive to normal, run of the mill germs.

'Scuse me while I go play in a mud puddle.

Though I admittedly lack scientific expertise, it makes sense to me that the current wave of bacteriophobia is overkill (pardon the expression) and could be causing unintended weakening of people's immune systems as well as "blowback" from the hardier surviving bacteria.

To cite a contrary trend, when my daughter was little, it was not uncommon among the parents of my social circle to arrange "chicken pox playdates (http://www.mothering.com/health/chickenpox-party-developing-natural-varicella-immunity)."

bjkeefe
06-20-2010, 04:08 AM
The president of that club is literally Joe Biden.

You literally must read this post (http://thesebastards.blogspot.com/2010/06/our-betters-vice-president-offers-to.html). It is literally, literally side-splitting.

rfrobison
06-20-2010, 08:41 AM
Sounds messy, but I will literally give it a look.

Literally yours (actually, figuratively, I have a wife).

R.

listener
06-20-2010, 06:49 PM
You literally must read this post (http://thesebastards.blogspot.com/2010/06/our-betters-vice-president-offers-to.html). It is literally, literally side-splitting.

Very funny indeed! Thanks!

bjkeefe
06-24-2010, 04:57 PM
Okay, here's a pet peeve of a different sort, where I get pissed off by the correct way to do things.

There is a rule in punctuation -- in America, at least -- that all periods, commas, exclamation points, and question marks must go inside the quotation marks, if there is a quoted phrase in the sentence, even if they have nothing to do with (were not part of the original) quote.

For example: Suppose I wanted to ask you if you were familiar with a Palinism from back in ought-eight. I might say the following.

Do you remember when she kept saying, "I told the federal government thanks but no thanks?"

And if you want to get crazy about it, the above should probably be written like this:

Do you remember when she kept saying, "I told the federal government, 'Thanks but no thanks?'"

The thing is, she wasn't asking a question. It would be much more sensible to write it this way:

Do you remember when she kept saying, "I told the federal government thanks but no thanks."?

or in the latter case, this way:

Do you remember when she kept saying, "I told the federal government, 'Thanks but no thanks.''"?

Anyone who has seen British writing or who has done a bit of computer programming knows my pain, I feel certain. Quoted phrases ought to be viewed as atomic (in the "uncuttable" sense), and punctuation that is actually external to the phrase should be placed outside the quotation marks.

Who's with me?

P.S. I'm not thrilled about the comma after kept saying either, but let's win one revolution at a time.

AemJeff
06-24-2010, 05:07 PM
Okay, here's a pet peeve of a different sort, where I get pissed off by the correct way to do things.

There is a rule in punctuation -- in America, at least -- that all periods, commas, exclamation points, and question marks must go inside the quotation marks, if there is a quoted phrase in the sentence, even if they have nothing to do with (were not part of the original) quote.

For example: Suppose I wanted to ask you if you were familiar with a Palinism from back in ought-eight. I might say the following.



And if you want to get crazy about it, the above should probably be written like this:



The thing is, she wasn't asking a question. It would be much more sensible to write it this way:



or in the latter case, this way:



Anyone who has seen British writing or who has done a bit of computer programming knows my pain, I feel certain. Quoted phrases ought to be viewed as atomic (in the "uncuttable" sense), and punctuation that is actually external to the phrase should be placed outside the quotation marks.

Who's with me?

P.S. I'm not thrilled about the comma after kept saying either, but let's win one revolution at a time.

I've never understood what rationale that rule might have been based on. I find it confusing, especially since the same rule doesn't apply to other paired punctuation marks, like parenthesis. I do understand why computer languages take the opposite strategy - but quotes have a different function in most programming languages than they do in English.

Ocean
06-24-2010, 05:22 PM
Anyone who has seen British writing or who has done a bit of computer programming knows my pain, I feel certain. Quoted phrases ought to be viewed as atomic (in the "uncuttable" sense), and punctuation that is actually external to the phrase should be placed outside the quotation marks.

Who's with me?



In addition to my regular grammar and spelling mistakes by virtue of having English as my second language, I also make some "mistakes" on occasion due to the fact that I learned British English first. So, yes, most of the time I place punctuation outside the quotations marks. And I agree that it's more logical to do it that way, similar to placing parenthesis in math. Programming, I don't know, but I imagine it follows the same rules.

bjkeefe
06-24-2010, 11:49 PM
What's with this polite agreement? I just wrote a Manifesto! Against The Man! I WANT HOWLS OF APPROVAL.

listener
06-25-2010, 12:37 AM
What's with this polite agreement? I just wrote a Manifesto! Against The Man! I WANT HOWLS OF APPROVAL.

OWOOOOO!!!! (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bGMsAYgoL3Y)

Better? ;)

Don Zeko
06-25-2010, 12:51 AM
OWOOOOO!!!! (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bGMsAYgoL3Y)

I'm tempted, but I only howl (http://www.hulu.com/watch/1971/arrested-development-cooler-switch) at chicks while on the beach.

listener
06-25-2010, 12:55 AM
I'm tempted, but I only howl (http://www.hulu.com/watch/1971/arrested-development-cooler-switch) at chicks while on the beach.

:D

I love Jeffrey Tambor!

bjkeefe
06-25-2010, 01:02 AM
OWOOOOO!!!! (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bGMsAYgoL3Y)

Better? ;)

Yes! Especially since the first related video was Wolves vs. Grizzly Bears!

(? (http://www.google.com/cse?cx=007432832765683203066%3Aw5evdpfzlks&ie=UTF-8&q=palin+mama+grizzlies&sa=Search&siteurl=www.google.com%2Fcse%2Fhome%3Fcx%3D0074328 32765683203066%253Aw5evdpfzlks))

Don Zeko
06-25-2010, 01:13 AM
:D

I love Jeffrey Tambor!

Excellent taste! Here, enjoy this (http://www.hulu.com/watch/6642/arrested-development-for-british-eyes-only#x-0,vepisode,1,0). You've earned it. koo koo ka-chaa! koo-koo ka-chaa!

listener
06-25-2010, 02:01 AM
Excellent taste! Here, enjoy this (http://www.hulu.com/watch/6642/arrested-development-for-british-eyes-only#x-0,vepisode,1,0). You've earned it. koo koo ka-chaa! koo-koo ka-chaa!

Thanks! I will take a look when I have the time to watch the full episode.

rfrobison
06-25-2010, 10:23 PM
The thing is, she wasn't asking a question. It would be much more sensible to write it this way:


Do you remember when she kept saying, "I told the federal government thanks but no thanks."?



Anyone who has seen British writing or who has done a bit of computer programming knows my pain, I feel certain. Quoted phrases ought to be viewed as atomic (in the "uncuttable" sense), and punctuation that is actually external to the phrase should be placed outside the quotation marks.

Who's with me?

I am. And more important than my humble opinion, perhaps, is AP's "Stylebook and Libel Manual," which has the following entry on use of the question mark:

PLACEMENT WITH QUOTATION MARKS: Inside or outside, depending on the meaning: Who wrote "Gone With the Wind"?
He asked, "How long will it take?"

If it's good enough for the AP, it's good enough for me.

P.S. In the example you cited, if I were copy editing your original quote--and who knows, maybe someday I'll get the chance!--I would have rendered it thus: Do you remember when she kept saying, "Thanks, but no thanks"?

Note I left the period off the end of the sentence uttered by former Gov. Palin. The question mark outside the quotes renders the period redundant, in my opinion. The comma after "thanks" is optional, I suppose, but it just looks better to me, somehow.

bjkeefe
06-26-2010, 12:08 AM
I am. And more important than my humble opinion, perhaps, is AP's "Stylebook and Libel Manual," which has the following entry on use of the question mark:

PLACEMENT WITH QUOTATION MARKS: Inside or outside, depending on the meaning: Who wrote "Gone With the Wind"?
He asked, "How long will it take?"

If it's good enough for the AP, it's good enough for me.

P.S. In the example you cited, if I were copy editing your original quote--and who knows, maybe someday I'll get the chance!--I would have rendered it thus: Do you remember when she kept saying, "Thanks, but no thanks"?

Note I left the period off the end of the sentence uttered by former Gov. Palin. The question mark outside the quotes renders the period redundant, in my opinion. The comma after "thanks" is optional, I suppose, but it just looks better to me, somehow.

Thanks for the thoughtful answer. Generally I agree about the comma after the Thanks. Not sure why I didn't put it here, except that my aural memory is that she rattled those four syllables off staccato, without a pause.

I am less comfortable about omitting the period, since in my example at least, I was quoting a full sentence. But it definitely works in the GWTW example. (Although to be really pedantic, were I asking about a book title, I'd put it in italics: Who wrote Gone With the Wind?)

rfrobison
06-26-2010, 12:13 AM
Thanks for the thoughtful answer. Generally I agree about the comma after the Thanks. Not sure why I didn't put it here, except that my aural memory is that she rattled those four syllables off staccato, without a pause.

I am less comfortable about omitting the period, since in my example at least, I was quoting a full sentence. But it definitely works in the GWTW example. (Although to be really pedantic, were I asking about a book title, I'd put it in italics: Who wrote Gone With the Wind?)

On your last re: Gone With the Wind, I agree. I was typing in the AP entry verbatim. I guess for typesetting reasons, italics are (or were) difficult to put into print. So they go with quotes for composition titles. Personally I prefer italics. And in the electronic age, I don't see why we can't use itals.

bjkeefe
06-26-2010, 01:14 AM
On your last re: Gone With the Wind, I agree. I was typing in the AP entry verbatim. I guess for typesetting reasons, italics are (or were) difficult to put into print. So they go with quotes for composition titles. Personally I prefer italics. And in the electronic age, I don't see why we can't use itals.

I could make one argument for quote marks, I suppose: if you think your (formatted) text is going to be copied and pasted, you might worry that your formating -- things like italics -- will be lost, and so would prefer to set a title off in quotes to make sure it stayed noticeable.

But that's a weak argument, so in general, I prefer italics, too. (However, there are such things as song titles, TV episode titles, newspaper/mag/blog article titles ... some of which I think most style books say should be in quotes, not italics.)

bjkeefe
06-27-2010, 01:56 AM
On your last re: Gone With the Wind, I agree. I was typing in the AP entry verbatim. I guess for typesetting reasons, italics are (or were) difficult to put into print. So they go with quotes for composition titles. Personally I prefer italics. And in the electronic age, I don't see why we can't use itals.

It would appear that Mr. Riley agrees with us (http://doghouseriley.blogspot.com/2010/06/whatevs.html):

Ross Douthat Blogô "Did 'Jaws' and 'Star Wars' Ruin Hollywood?" (http://douthat.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/06/22/did-jaws-and-star-wars-ruin-hollywood/) And Does the Times Stylebook Really Call For Titles To Be Put In Quotes? June 22

Since it is Mr. Riley, I hardly need say it, but read the whole thing. (It does not have much to do with quotes vs. italics beyond the above, admittedly.)

rfrobison
06-27-2010, 02:05 AM
Mmm, guess your Mr. Riley is an acquired taste. Too much stream of consciousness for my liking...er, I wonder what's for dinner.

Attribute it to my ideological rut if you will. Never been up on the arts scene, so I can't comment intelligently on the substance.

But, yes, let's do get rid of all the quote we can. ;)

bjkeefe
06-27-2010, 02:08 AM
Mmm, guess your Mr. Riley is an acquired taste. Too much stream of consciousness for my liking...er, I wonder what's for dinner.

Heh.

Yes, it can take a bit of practice to get into his flow, but to my taste, anyway, it is worth it.

One thing I found helpful when I was first reading him was to subvocalize some of his more complex sentences. (The horror! Moving your lips while reading!) It then seems to come across more as a guy affecting the pose of a curmudgeon, rambling in a very funny way -- you can hear what parts are the muttered asides and so forth.

Attribute it to my ideological rut if you will. Never been up on the arts scene, so I can't comment intelligently on the substance.

Wait. The post was about summer blockbusters and you're worried about not being up on the art scene?

;^)

listener
07-31-2010, 02:31 AM
I've been listening to the news lately (as opposed to most of the time, when I get all my information from bhtv), and it seems that no one, but no one can agree as to how to pronounce the names of these two countries. Is it:

Af-gan-is-tan

Af-gahn-is-tahn

Af-gan-is-tahn

Af-gahn-is-tan (haven't heard that one, I admit)

Pack-is-tan

Pahk-is-tan

Pahk-is-tahn

Pack-is-tahn

This is our international problem. ("I was originally deployed to Pakistan, but then my company got reassigned to Pah-kis-tahn, and everythng got real messed up..." How can we win the war when we don't even know how to pronounce the names of the countries or their inhabitants?

Give me the good ole days of Eye-Rack and Eye-Ran (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QkBUx6Zn6mo).

And is it "Afghans" or "Afghanis"? If I speak of Afghans, am I talking about a person or a rug or breed of dog? At least I've found a ruling (http://www.wsu.edu/~brians/errors/afghan.html)that purports to clear up that question, anyway...
And we've known for years what residents of Pakistan must be called: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M-uleem7JSg

rfrobison
07-31-2010, 03:20 AM
I've been listening to the news lately (as opposed to most of the time, when I get all my information from bhtv), and it seems that no one, but no one can agree as to how to pronounce the names of these two countries. Is it:

Af-gan-is-tan

Af-gahn-is-tahn

Af-gan-is-tahn

Af-gahn-is-tan (haven't heard that one, I admit)

Pack-is-tan

Pahk-is-tan

Pahk-is-tahn

Pack-is-tahn

This is our international problem. ("I was originally deployed to Pakistan, but then my company got reassigned to Pah-kis-tahn, and everythng got real messed up..." How can we win the war when we don't even know how to pronounce the names of the countries or their inhabitants?

Give me the good ole days of Eye-Rack and Eye-Ran (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QkBUx6Zn6mo).

And is it "Afghans" or "Afghanis"? If I speak of Afghans, am I talking about a person or a rug or breed of dog? At least I've found a ruling (http://www.wsu.edu/~brians/errors/afghan.html)that purports to clear up that question, anyway...
And we've known for years what residents of Pakistan must be called: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M-uleem7JSg

What's most annoying of all is when Christianne Amanpour says "Al kay-da" to her American audience on CNN, then switches to "Al ky-da" on CNN International. This is what my Grandmother from "Loosiana" would call being "too big for your britches."

And it's just my observation, but for some reason the further right people are, the more likely they are to say "Eye-rack" for Iraq, while those on the left prefer "Ee-rahk," probably because that's the way they heard Mohammad ElBaradei (note the lack of a space between "El" and "Baradei") pronounce it--or thought that's what they heard.

'Course things were different when I was in Vee-et-nam. Back then, we didn't give a damm about pronunciation.

The same holds for "Eye-ran"/"Ee-rahn"

listener
07-31-2010, 03:35 AM
What's most annoying of all is when Christianne Amanpour says "Al kay-da" to her American audience on CNN, then switches to "Al ky-da" on CNN International. This is what my Grandmother from "Loosiana" would call being "too big for your britches."

And it's just my observation, but for some reason the further right people are, the more likely they are to say "Eye-rack" for Iraq, while those on the left prefer "Ee-rahk," probably because that's the way they heard Mohammad ElBaradei (note the lack of a space between "El" and "Baradei") pronounce it--or thought that's what they heard.

'Course things were different when I was in Vee-et-nam. Back then, we didn't give a damm about pronunciation.

The same holds for "Eye-ran"/"Ee-rahn"

Wait, just hold on a moment... Ah said, jes' hole on a cotton-pickin' minute there, son... Now was you sayin' Vee-et-nahm... or Vee-et-nay-yum (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LBdeCxJmcAo)?

bjkeefe
07-31-2010, 09:13 AM
And is it "Afghans" or "Afghanis"? If I speak of Afghans, am I talking about a person or a rug or breed of dog? At least I've found a ruling (http://www.wsu.edu/~brians/errors/afghan.html)that purports to clear up that question, anyway...

Hurrah for your link to Paul Brians.