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When President Trump tweeted about "being, like, really smart," many people took the "like" as evidence to the contrary. It's, like, a meaningless word that brainless people stuff into sentences! A fad among the younglings! As noted grammarian Robert Burchfield wrote, "Its use as an incoherent and prevalent filler" has become "an epidemic," but it is "scorned by standard speakers as a vulgarism of the first order." Burchfield dated the start of the "like" epidemic to the middle of the 20th century. But we do like "like" sometimes. It may be weak tea compared to "love," but every YouTuber is gunning [...]
Tue, Feb 20, 2018
Source: Language
When Brianna Decker takes the ice for the U.S. hockey team this weekend, she will be a woman. When Karen Chen skates into the rink to go for gold in figure skating, however, she will be a lady. It's nothing personal. The Olympics just has a different — and puzzling — way of referring to female athletes competing in different sports. Of the 14 categories of Winter Olympic sports that have competitions for female athletes, eight use the moniker "ladies," including skiing, snowboarding, and speed skating, while six use the term "women," including bobsledding, curling, and ice hockey. "Ladies soar in ski [...]
Fri, Feb 09, 2018
Source: Language
As everyone knows, there are two genders: common and neuter. What? Well, everyone in Stockholm knows that. So does everyone in Amsterdam. Go to Berlin or Moscow, though, and they'll tell you there are three genders: masculine, feminine, and neuter. So will people in many other countries. But speakers of Ojibwe and several other languages know that there are two genders: animate and inanimate. Meanwhile, in Luganda, there are ten genders: people, long objects, animals, miscellaneous objects, large objects and liquids, small objects, languages, pejoratives, infinitives, and mass nouns. But in Chinese, Finnish, and quite a lot of other languages, there are [...]
Tue, Dec 26, 2017
Source: Language