Content warning: This post is about harmful language and it contains words that are used to dehumanize people. Please take caution.
In April 2023, the Atlantic published a 2,500-word opinion piece complaining about language equity style guides. The attack on these guides is misleading, wrong, and harmful. It continually misrepresents the style guides. It shows a misunderstanding of the content and the point of them. It refuses to accept others and expresses contempt for anything that doesn’t fit the author’s narrow and outdated idea of language. And it gives fuel to the fascists in their culture war.
Continue reading “George Packer and the Atlantic’s sad defense of inequity”
A New York Times article from 1977 article rolled across my screen recently (courtesy of Mark Harris). It concerns language change and boy is it a doozy. The article asked members of the American Heritage Dictionary’s Usage Panel to give their comments on some recent developments in English. Let’s take a look.
Continue reading “How NOT to talk about language change”
I was recently asked about the meaning of the phrase
Would you rather have unlimited bacon but no more video games or games, unlimited games, but no more games?
On first glance, this phrase may not seem to work (and it kind of doesn’t – more on that below), but it gets used around the internet and people understand it. So that means it does work. What gives?
Continue reading “The meaning of “Would you rather have unlimited bacon but no more video games or games, unlimited games, but no more games?””
Ok, the title of this post is a bit misleading. Google doesn’t “know” anything. It just grabs some text from a website and puts it up top to give people an answer to their question. The problem here is that the answer they give you is wrong. Because the website that Google uses is wrong. But there’s more than that. The answer that Google gives has been called a “massive overgeneralization” by Huddleston and Pullum. And if that’s not bad enough, all of the results in the Google search give you the exact same incorrect answer. What the what?
Continue reading “Google doesn’t know what a subject is”
What does the word origin mean today?
There was a recent post on the blog Science-Based Medicine which discussed the changing meaning of the word organic. I think the author hits the nail on the head, but misses the mark slightly. How’s that for a mixed metaphor?! Let’s dig in.
Continue reading “What does the word origin mean today?”