Amuse-bouche to zaibatsu

Des entrées nouvelles dans le Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate® Dictionary, l’un des dictionnaires les plus réputés de la langue anglaise.

New entries in the 2005 edition of Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate® Dictionary.

I was slightly surprised about the new sense of neoconservative. There must have been some semantic variation over the last few years.

Today’s interminable NPs

Il devrait y avoir une limite supérieure pour les syntagmes nominaux. En voilà deux en anglais, à ne pas imiter.

  • 2005-10-02
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Here are two really-much-too-long-drawn-out noun phrases I found in today’s idle browsing. The first one is from an AP wire (emphasis mine):

An independent commission to oversee coastal restoration and hurricane protection work in Louisiana has been proposed by the Louisiana congressional delegation. It would be called the “Protecting Essential Louisiana Infrastructure, Citizens and Nature Commission,” or the Pelican Commission, after the state bird.

Some might be wishing the state bird was an owl. And which of the Louisiana citizens and what parts of its nature count as essential anyway?

The second one was on a page from Stanford University, dug up by Google when I asked it to help me find out what sluicing is. (I’m still not quite sure, but I think i get the gist now.) The footer of the page contains a line that indicates, “A Stanford Humanities Center Mellon Foundation Research Workshop Program”. Whew.

What mitigates the sternness a little, though, is the line below: “this site is loved by philip hofmeister and he is loved back”. Humanity in the Humanities Center. Or at least on their servers.


Votre serviteuse regarde du cricket. Et ne comprend rien.

I’ve retreated down the pub, to relax after a long day. There’s a TV set running, showing something called “the Ashes”. And of course, me being a total cricket moron, I don’t understand a bit of what’s going on. In the beginning it looked like England was winning “that little urn”, with “three wickets left”, but these three wickets take an awfully long time. Everybody’s dressed in white, so I can’t discern who’s on which side.

But I understand (most of) the English (except the comments about the players’ achievements). And I’m hearing a whole lot of unreduced thes. And just two minutes ago, one of the commentators said, very clearly, “for all intensive purposes”. I couldn’t help laughing out in delight (or amusement), drawing the looks of those who were actually watching the proceedings.

UPDATE: England has have won.

A relative clause there’ll have to be some thinking over

Des problèmes avec une phrase relative en anglais.

So I was reading about the sad and horrifying loyalist#[1] riots that took place in Belfast over the weekend. Until I stumbled over a sentence, a quote of Ian Paisley. In the Guardian, the construction that puzzled me looks like this (emphasis mine): Then tension hit a higher notch when Ian Paisley, the now undisputed leader of […]

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Euphemism of the day: concertina wire

Appeler ces barbelés meurtriers aux lames aiguisées comme des lames de rasoir fil accordéon est un euphémisme quelque peu extrême.

  • 2005-09-11
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From the Washington Post (reg. req’d I think; you can also try to access the article via bugmenot). National Guard crews are setting up double rows of coiled razor wire in front of the tracks and will continue to do so until the fencing blocks the ravaged coast for 30 miles. […]

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Non-eggcorn: “equilateral(ly)”

Une liste d’exemples du mot «equilateral», notamment sous sa forme adverbiale (que le français ne connaît pas, de ce que j’en sais), dans des contextes surprenants.

Ce n’est pas un poteau rose, pour autant.

My first sighting was in a report from a tech volunteer in the Astrodome in Houston, quoted on BoingBoing. There are plenty of issues that need to be discussed, but the evacuees are keeping the area very clean and equilaterally said they were happier to be in the Astrodome than stuck in the Superdome […]

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For the danglers…

Un complément du nom mal rattaché et de toute façon pas très clair.

I mean those who collect dangling modifiers in published writing. This is from Jonathan Freedland’s opinion piece in today’s Guardian: Like a character in Shakespearean tragedy, race is America’s fatal flaw, the weakness which so often brings it low. I’m not even sure this counts as a mere dangling modifier: the imagery is just too […]

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On Culture Vulture, the Guardian’s cultural news blog, Sarah Crown reports on the difficulties of turning Philip Pullman’s excellent and complex His Dark Materials trilogy into a film. The putative director, Chris Weitz, has just resigned from the job. A little further on, there’s a paragraph on something I’d heard about before: Weitz, who […]

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Show me your vowels!

L’accent écossais, ou : comment analyser les voyelles quand on a du mal à bien les distinguer à l’oreille nue.

This is a bit of a side-piece to the investigation into the pronunciation of the and a — reduced or unreduced? in which context does which form occur? My previous posts are here and here, Mark Liberman’s principal ones here, here, here and here, and David Beaver chipped in here and here. Looking into when a […]

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Les apostrophes, ce douloreux problème.

En déplorant les effets des anglicismes sur nos langues d’Europe continentale, n’oublions-nous pas les entorses que nous faisons aux règles de la langue anglaise ?

  • 2005-08-07
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Isn’t there an extraneous apostrophe in the logo of this Firefox extensions repository?

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