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Study confirms that ending your texts with a period is terrible.

Language evolves, so oldsters like me should get just used to it, right? Well, langauge was evolving long before “text” was a verb, and that’s exactly the reason why the English of Dickens and Shakespeare and Chaucer looks so different from our ordinary speech. I still use a pay-as-you-go dumb phone, and have to pay per message, so I use periods to pack multiple thoughts into each text. I use…

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Teaching Shakespeare in a Maximum Security Prison

Good essay by Mikita Brottman. When I read Macbeth for the first time, I understood almost nothing. The play’s immediate subjects (kingship, Scottish history, nations at war) did not engage me, nor did I have any interest in theater. I loved Macbeth not for its story but for its language. I was fascinated by the weight of the words, their sequence and rhythm, the way they made me feel, even…

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Could We Just Lose the Adverb (Already)?

I can’t really get myself that worked up over prescriptive grammar issues, but I do enjoy reading the arguments. The adverb is an incoherent lexical category, a catchall. How are “there,” “yesterday,” “quite,” “assiduously,” and “indeed” all members of the same family? As we learn in school — in a definition that dates from Dionysius Thrax in the second century B.C. — adverbs modify verbs, adjectives, other adverbs, noun phrases,…

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Narrow Parsers

Creating n00b-friendly interactive fiction by deliberately reducing the number of available verbs? Intersting… Though I rather liked the results when I experimented with diegetic (in-game) hints delivered by an NPC who gets more and more specific to help the player accomplish some orientation tasks. Parser IF is fundamentally driven by player action, by game verbs, in a way that’s not necessarily the case of choice-based IF. When you’re designing a protagonist, a…

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Facebook Hired Journalists to Train Its Trending Topics Algorithm

Recently I noticed an unusually incendiary phrase in the Facebook “trending” list, and noticed that several people in my feed were reacting strongly to that language. When I clicked the link, I was taken to a page that did not actually contain that phrase. When I searched news.google.com for the source of that phrase, the results came up nil. A few hours later, searched turned up bloggers who were angrily…

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Schiller schools internet on correct Apple device plurals, but Cook says “iPad Pros”

“Siri, is the world ready for Apple pod people who are also grammarians?” According to Schiller, multiple Apple products should be referred to without pluralization, for example the plural of “iPhone” is “iPhone” or “iPhone devices.” It seems years of rampant misuse have taken their toll, finally and absolutely corroding the exec’s resolve to maintain an amiable public persona. “It would be proper to say ‘I have 3 Macintosh’ or…

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How The Language Of Special Education Is Evolving

The words we use and the ways we refer to people mirror — and shape — our perceptions, our attitudes, our behavior. So where to begin? The “r” word has fallen out of use and good riddance. “Handicapped,” too, for the most part. Generally we don’t refer to people as “disabled,” as in “he’s a disabled student.” One good rule of thumb: avoid adjectives. They too easily become labels. Instead,…