Linguistic commentary from a guy who takes things too literally


Posted by Neal on February 19, 2007

There have been a few particularly entertaining posts recently, enough for me to collect them in another linkfest.

Inspired by the news stories on the now-former astronaut Lisa Nowak, Ben Zimmer investigates on Language Log whether you can be “wearing diapers” if you only wear one, and reports some surprising developments in the syntax of this word. He also reveals that he has a six-month-old son, so maybe we can expect to read some fun language-acquisition posts from him in a year or so.

In another post, Zimmer links to the latest “Good Word” column in Slate, by Ben Yagoda. I meant to read it then, but didn’t get around to it until my friend Lonnie drew my attention to it as well. It’s on interjections, in particular, some that have arisen in the last few years. I’d heard of meh, but was completely clueless about awwa. Do you recognize this interjection? If you don’t, read the Slate article now, and play the audio and video clips Yagoda has included.

Also on Language Log, Heidi Harley writes about a funny headline-writing mistake in using the word spray.

At Semantic Compositions, Justin Busch complains about a current song title that commits the same sin as Tim McGraw’s “Down on the Farm” did a few years ago. Can you guess the song before you follow the link?


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