Advertisement
HomeCollectionsLanguage
IN THE NEWS

Language

FIND MORE STORIES ABOUT:
FEATURED ARTICLES
NEWS
By John E. McIntyre and The Baltimore Sun | May 22, 2014
George Orwell appears to have gotten half the future right in 1984 .  The world of Big Brother aptly foretells the surveillance state that is watching all of us today. But Orwell's fears about Newspeak, that a totalitarian society could limit human thought by restricting language, failed to take into account the irresistible processes of subversion and change in language. (Or the prevalence of irony. As they used to sum up the essence of the Soviet system, "We pretend to work and they pretend to pay us. ")
ARTICLES BY DATE
NEWS
By Jonah Goldberg | September 1, 2014
I never liked it when George W. Bush used the term "evildoers" to describe al-Qaeda and other terrorists. A lot of other people objected as well, but for different reasons. I didn't like the term because it always sounded to me like he was saying "evil Dewar's," as in the blended Scotch. (This always made some of Bush's statements chuckle-worthy -- "We will not rest until we find the evil Dewar's!") I prefer single malts, but "evil" always seemed unduly harsh. The more common objection to "evildoers" was that it was, variously, simplistic, Manichean, imperialistic, cartoonish, etc. "Perhaps without even realizing it," Peter Roff, then with UPI, wrote in October 2001, "the president is using language that recalls a simpler time when good and evil seemed more easy to identify -- a time when issues, television programs and movies were more black and white, not colored by subtle hues of meaning.
Advertisement
NEWS
By Dan Fesperman and Dan Fesperman,SUN FOREIGN STAFF Contributors to this section; Sun research librarians Paul McCardell, Jean Packard and Andrea Wilson, and news intern Brenda Santamaria, contributed to these articles | April 26, 1998
JERUSALEM - It was a dead language, an 8,000-word relic. And as 19th-century Jewish pilgrims began settling the hills and valleys of what would become Israel, the status of Hebrew seemed like that of the crumbling Roman aqueducts strung across the landscape - interesting to study but unfit for restoration.Theodor Herzl, the father of Zionism, felt that way, wanting no part of a language that you couldn't even use to buy a train ticket. Use German or English, he said, or both.That left it up to lingual zealot Eliezer Perlmann, who arrived in Jerusalem from Lithuania in 1882, changed his name to Ben Yehuda and took up the cause of Hebrew.
NEWS
By Liz Bowie, The Baltimore Sun | August 24, 2014
With just $40 in his pocket and the killing of two friends fresh in his mind, 13-year-old Leonardo Enrique Navas set off from El Salvador in July and traveled alone for 15 days on buses and taxis until he crossed the border into Texas. Every few days, he said, he called his mother in Maryland. That was the first part of his American journey. When school opens Tuesday, he will have his first day in a U.S. seventh-grade classroom, at Bates Middle School in Annapolis, after being reunited with a mother he had not seen for seven years.
NEWS
By John E. McIntyre and The Baltimore Sun | June 8, 2012
Some facts of life: Item: If, identifying yourself as a copy editor, you publish articles about language (or anything else), there are people who will pounce gleefully on every lapse and typographical error.* Some will then use the lapse to ignore the point you were making. Item: If, identifying yourself as a prescriptivist and an upholder of the highest standards of the language, you can expect a close examination of your prose. Viz., Geoffrey Pullum's extended necropsy of the texts of the Queen's English Society.
NEWS
By Steven Pinker | April 6, 1994
THE Los Angeles Times' new "Guidelines on Racial and Ethnic Identification," for its writers and editors, bans or restricts some 150 words and phrases such as "birth defect," "Chinese fire drill," "crazy," "dark continent," "stepchild," "WASP" and "to welsh."Defying such politically correct sensibilities, the Economist allows the use of variants of "he" for both males and females (as in "everyone should watch his language"), and "crippled" for disabled people.One side says that language insidiously shapes attitudes and that vigilance against subtle offense is necessary to eliminate prejudice.
NEWS
By John E. McIntyre and The Baltimore Sun | July 3, 2014
The class of language commentators I have labeled the peeververein, the complainers about the supposed degredation of English, upholders of bogus schoolroom grammar, and defenders of embattled cultural standards, preen themselves as serious people.  They are not.  They are poseurs whose snobbery and shallow understanding of the language are readily exposed.  At Caxton , Barrie England has graciously offered his platform to...
NEWS
By John E. McIntyre and The Baltimore Sun | June 13, 2014
A recent article at Slate  by Gretchen McCulloch, "Why Do You Think You're Right About Language? You're Not,"  prompts some fruitful thinking about idiolects.  An idiolect is " not just vocabulary; it's everything from how we pronounce certain words to how we put them together to what we imagine they mean. " It's the whole set of associations from regional origins, family habits of language, education, reading, and jobs.  And English, the macro language, is the sum total of all our respective idiolects; it's crowdsourced.
EXPLORE
August 1, 2011
I was so pleased to read the article and editorial on the StarTalk program at Howard Community College. A few weeks ago I visited Cheryl Berman, the director of the program, and had the opportunity to sit in on some of the languages classes for about an hour. What an encouraging experience it was to observe these students truly learning Arabic, Farsi, Mandarin, Hindi and other languages. Just think of the possible positive impact on our planet. Hats off to HCC and our talented, hard-working students.
NEWS
January 18, 2011
For the most part, I agree with the author the Sun's editorial "The language of violence" (Jan. 11) in that there is no causal relationship between the language used by Sarah Palin and the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. What seems to be overlooked, however, is the larger issue of language choice and language processing. Students of language have shown that our choice of language reflects the way we think, and the way we process language is influenced by the way we see the world.
NEWS
By John Fritze and The Baltimore Sun | August 1, 2014
WASHINGTON -- Citing "very serious" concerns about the project's impact on Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski included language in a military spending bill that would delay the construction of a massive wind farm on the Eastern Shore. The provision, if approved, would halt the project despite efforts by Gov. Martin O'Malley this year to move it forward. O'Malley, a fellow Democrat, vetoed state legislation in May that would have imposed a 15-month moratorium on the construction of land-based wind farms.
NEWS
July 14, 2014
Thanks for publishing letter writer Roz Heid's comments, which expresses the opinions held by many of us ( "Obama's disastrous immigration policy," July 10). The U.S. is justly proud of its inclusiveness, and most people want to be hospitable to newcomers. Today's arrivals, however, are from one particular area and represent a special problem since they constitute an extremely large group and therefore are not easily assimilated. They are supported by the fashionable doctrine of multiculturalism, which encourages them to bring their language and culture with them, instead of adopting the language and customs of their new country.
NEWS
By John E. McIntyre and The Baltimore Sun | July 10, 2014
You go to work with the language you have, not the language you want.  The Fowler brothers thought that English would be tidier if we used that to introduce restrictive clauses and which  to introduce nonrestrictive clauses. Prescriptivists have seized on that suggestion and persuaded many editors and some writers that it is a Rule rather than a recommendation or pious hope.  The redoubtable Kory Stamper, in one of her excellent Merriam-Webster videos on usage , explains that merely thinking it's a rule does not make it one. Similarly, before you start to peeve about what a Wicked Thing the passive voice is, you might want to take the time to look at how frequently you use passive constructions yourself.
NEWS
By John E. McIntyre and The Baltimore Sun | July 4, 2014
On my way to class one day at Michigan State, I encountered Roger Meiners, in whose class I had studied Roethke, Lowell, Berryman, and Jarrell. I asked him where he was headed, and he said, "I'm off to teach "Prufrock" for the twelfth time. " Beat. "When are they ever going to figure it out?" I get the same feeling as I write this blog. After trying to establish, patiently and thoroughly, for dozens of times a sensible understanding about English usage, there is always someone for whom the demolition of some usage superstition is big, unsettling news.
NEWS
By John E. McIntyre and The Baltimore Sun | July 3, 2014
The class of language commentators I have labeled the peeververein, the complainers about the supposed degredation of English, upholders of bogus schoolroom grammar, and defenders of embattled cultural standards, preen themselves as serious people.  They are not.  They are poseurs whose snobbery and shallow understanding of the language are readily exposed.  At Caxton , Barrie England has graciously offered his platform to...
NEWS
By John E. McIntyre and The Baltimore Sun | June 13, 2014
A recent article at Slate  by Gretchen McCulloch, "Why Do You Think You're Right About Language? You're Not,"  prompts some fruitful thinking about idiolects.  An idiolect is " not just vocabulary; it's everything from how we pronounce certain words to how we put them together to what we imagine they mean. " It's the whole set of associations from regional origins, family habits of language, education, reading, and jobs.  And English, the macro language, is the sum total of all our respective idiolects; it's crowdsourced.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Richard Gorelick and The Baltimore Sun | July 6, 2011
We're getting closer to a final proposal for Rules for Civil Dining. A proposed tipping rule: Tip Tipping, as a subject of Civil Dining, is off the table. Simply expect to tip 20 percent, or whatever the going rate is, every time you go out to dine. What do you think? Respond here, or email me: richard.gorelick@baltsun.com, or follow the converssation on Twitter. #civildining  
NEWS
By John Fritze, The Baltimore Sun | March 28, 2013
Food safety groups are ramping up pressure on Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski over language included in a government funding bill that would make it harder for courts to block the planting of genetically engineered crops. The language, tucked into appropriations legislation to fund the government through the end of the fiscal year, would strip courts of the power to halt the planting of such crops if a judge felt a review of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's approval was warranted over health or environmental concerns.
NEWS
By John E. McIntyre and The Baltimore Sun | May 22, 2014
George Orwell appears to have gotten half the future right in 1984 .  The world of Big Brother aptly foretells the surveillance state that is watching all of us today. But Orwell's fears about Newspeak, that a totalitarian society could limit human thought by restricting language, failed to take into account the irresistible processes of subversion and change in language. (Or the prevalence of irony. As they used to sum up the essence of the Soviet system, "We pretend to work and they pretend to pay us. ")
NEWS
By John E. McIntyre and The Baltimore Sun | May 14, 2014
Ammon Shea performed a feat of nerdish athleticism, reading the entire Oxford English Dictionary , and then wrote a charming book about the experience .  He has written other books on language as well. It's a dangerous thing to publish a book, particularly about language; it attracts attention. And Mr. Shea got some. We'll let him explain: "I began to receive a large number of letters from concerned citizens who felt that I was contributing to the decline of the English language.
Baltimore Sun Articles
|
|
|
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.