Thursday, September 17, 2009
I got nothing to say.
Greg and Stephanie worked so very hard on getting Greg to his graduation day. I am so proud of both of them. Greg has just enough challenges that he needs that little extra push, and I think a lesser parent would have ended up with a far less accomplished kid.
What's that got to do with tittles?? Oh, just everything, I think. Greg would never write like this. Never. His mom wouldn't let him. But if the world does it, that's just wicked peachy.
You have no idea the load I shoulder in this life.
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
I like to call it: THE WAR ON YOUTH.
Not so long ago, Camel cigarettes got hammered for using a hip cartoon character to promote its products. Well what the heck is this? I mean, can we assume that the editors and publishers of this book understood that their target audience is still impressionable? After all, they didn't choose to be bricklayers or electrical engineers, now did they? THEY ARE PROFESSIONAL EDITORS. They are expected to understand stuff like, um, I dunno, ELEMENTARY EDITING!
Who could blame the kid who upon reading this book suddenly lurched off of the straight and narrow and began a life of borderline illiteracy?
Not me, folks. Definitely not me.
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Here's a wiki page dedicated entirely to the discussion of a particular character's use of ill-placed lower case "i's". So, I'm right. This DOES matter. And here's my proof:
I'll take apologies as cash donations, although I do enjoy handmade greeting cards...
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Well, almost anything...
Thursday, August 20, 2009
He explains that language evolves, and therefore these sort of usage changes are inevitable -- whether we like it or not. He cites some of the work his dad has done (Morris Freilich, professor emeritus from Northeastern Univversity -- an anthropologist whose observations are fascinating even when clearly wrong). Harry writes insightfully about language and origins...
Natural Languages "evolve" over time and this process rarely has any logic or reason to it. This applies to vocabulary as well as punctuation. If you look at an English book from 500 years ago, the language looks very different. There is nothing logically wrong with the phrase "wherefore art thou", but this would now be meaningless if we didn't happen to read Shakespeare.
English dictionaries are written based on common usage (after the fact). They are updated every year based on frequency of the spoken and written words. It is all based on a consensus of what is out there. This applies to punctuation as well.
The evolution of language is often related to people finding new things that look/sound more interesting. After a while, some things stick and become part of the language.
Great stuff, right? But then he JOINS "The "blog" of "unnecessary" quotation marks" because, apparently, some changes in uses are more important than others.
Ouch. That left a mark, Harry.
But he did send me this little bit of child abuse, which makes it all better, frankly.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Putting a lowercase "i" in front of a word has become shorthand for suggesting that a thing is somehow cool, tekkie, and Internet related. Apple didn't invent this idea, but they own it now -- a very clever marketing move.
But it messes with the language, as this reporter points out:
This is how language changes, and the Web, with its pressures for writing that is tight, short, and skimmable, is a force for change. In print, the limits are clear: Some things won't fit on the page. The situation online is subtler. It is theoretically possible to run articles that go on and on. But on an entry page (the "front page" of an online publication), space is as tight as on its ink-on-paper counterpart.
But it's worth noting that the Web headline for the story was, its first letter aside, actually more of a traditional hard-news headline than what ran in print. The print headline was more a "flavor headline." It suggested what happened but had no subject – no "doer" – or predicate verb.
By contrast "iPhone Users Plagued by Software Problems" would have made sense, grammatically at least, to a traditional green-eyeshade copy desk of a century ago. They might have had a little trouble understanding "software problems," though. They might have thought that "software problems" were what happened on a weekend when you had houseguests and you ran out of bath towels.
I like to make fun of myself and my obsessions in this blog, but this serious discussion about how changes in convention can lead to changes in language sort of strikes at the heart of what made me notice "tittle" in the first place...