With elevated foot

March 15, 2012|By John E. McIntyre | The Baltimore Sun

While I am in The Boot, waiting for the chipped bone in my foot to knit its way back on board, and testing my wife's patience as she drives me back and forth to campus and the paragraph factory,* I am, as you must also be, searching for innocent amusement. Here is some. 

The Economist, bless its heart, has produced a little animated selection of style guidelines, illustrated delightfully by KAL. Brush up on rack and wrack

Stan Carey comments on the polysemy (tendency of words to develop multiple meanings) of nice, with an apt passage from Northanger Abbey.

Jan Freeman has some suggestions for terms to identify the realms of spelling, punctuation, and word choice we identify as grammar, often including a vast collection of beliefs, superstitions, shibboleths, rules, bogus rules, and folklore. Arnold Zwicky has coined the term garmmra, which Ms. freeman thinks that lacks euphony. She suggests lexiquette and gammon, among others.  

There is also the ever-amusing presidential campaign to throw up a daily serving of tosh. Rick Santorum, the former senator from Pennsylvania, has suggested to Puerto Ricans that if they wish to become a state, they had better make English their official language. "As in any other state, you have to comply with this and any federal law. And that is that English has to be the main language," he was quoted as saying by El Vocero, a San Juan newspaper. Those of us who have ever looked into the Constitution may recall that it includes no linguistic requirement for statehood. And further, there is no federal law making English the official language of the United States of America, though various addled personalities introduce bills to that effect from time to time. 

*I admit that I probably should have taken advice and stayed at home for a month, drinking whiskey with my foot elevated, but my various employers would have given me the stinkeye.

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