Posts tagged “language”

  1. An orgasm is like getting your head cut off, but the chainsaw is covered in Molly.

    As the French call it, “the little lunch.”

    69 comments
  2. Since moving to a relatively rural prefecture in Japan to teach English, I've often been mistaken for or passed as a Japanese person, and perhaps this is no surprise. Though not fluent, I can sustain a basic conversation for at least a few minutes. But I'm not Japanese—my nationality is American, my ethnicity Chinese, and my feelings, when I am taken for a Japanese person, are conflicted.

    33 comments
  3. "Do you have any specific suggestions for improvement for Elena? Anything that would help you learn more in class?"

    “I think that she has to feel a little bit more confident.”

    As I pressed the button on the door of the green fence and waited to be buzzed into my new secondary school, I felt close to losing both my resolve and my breakfast.

    14 comments
  4. Uuuugggh
    They're just taking a bunch of words and making it into this whole thing 
    Sometimes I don't even know what I'm doing, so that's me, right there, so it goes even beyond what we can associate it with
    It can be a combination of things

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  5. Pretty much the best part about England is that they have divided their vocabulary up into U- and non-U aspects of speech, with the net result being that pretty much whatever word you choose to employ in a given situation, you sound like a grasping middle-class grasper and people talk about your graspiness in horrified tones the moment you leave the room. There's a wrong way to refer to the bathroom over there! Imagine…

    115 comments
  6. Our resident linguist's previous work for The Toast can be found here. Let's talk about shipping. No, not the transportation of goods over the water, but that feeling when you want a couple fictional characters to smush their faces against each other and never let go. The word ship itself has an interesting enough grammar, not to mention its variants…

    206 comments
  7. Gretchen McCulloch's previous works of linguistic genius for The Toast can be found here. The Wired style guide changed my life. One particular sentence, in fact. We know from experience that new terms often start as two words, then become hyphenated, and eventually end up as one word. Go there now. Oh. I thought. Oh.

    *

    Wired Style

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  8. Okay, so I only occasionally and sporadically encounter the following variations on pronunciation in the wild, and thus far they seem to have no rhyme or reason. They don't always go together; they're never associated with the same regional accent, and I cannot understand where it is that anyone learns to talk like this. It astonishes me. Can any of you shed some light on this for me? Pronouncing the word "humor" like "yoo-mor" (because,…

    347 comments
  9. Gretchen McCulloch's previous linguistics columns for The Toast can be found here. They are all perfect. Sarcasm. It's an Essential Part of a Healthy Breakfast™, but it's also "dangerous", especially in writing. What if ~no one~ gets that u are being sarcastic. this is literally the most srs bsns question ever. Right, okay, that's probably enough of the sarcasm voice. The point is, we can speak sarcastically by rolling our eyes or using a…

    57 comments
  10. I might tell you that I speak German, but I won’t say that I’m fluent. I can read a newspaper article and hold a conversation on your day, the weather, your opinion on Angela Merkel. But a bureaucratic form or a passage from Schiller will stymie me. I moved to Berlin having only taken German 101 and 102, and so I can also never tell you when I’m using a modal verb or the Präteritum,…

    18 comments
  11. My father has an unusual affliction. He doesn’t see it as a problem—he might not even realize he has it. For as long as I can remember, my father has been beset by Spoonerism. My dictionary defines Spoonerism as “a verbal error in which a speaker accidentally transposes the initial sounds or letters of two or more words, often to humorous effect.” It was named after the Reverend William Archibald Spooner, who was notoriously…

    19 comments
  12. I sat at the bar with a man I’ll call Ian sipping whiskey as he explained me to me.

    “You are a woman of passion,” Ian said. “I get you.” And then, as if maybe I hadn’t gotten it fully, he repeated himself, “I get you.” 

    I was of two minds: laugh in his face or ask him for more. I couldn’t decide which impulse to follow so

    82 comments
  13. Tiffany Midge's previous work for The Butter can be found here.

    When did he first say, "Ugh!"  When did he first say, "Ugh!"  In the Injun book it say When the first brave married squaw He gave out with a big ugh When he saw his Mother-in-Law. --from Walt Disney’s Peter Pan

    1. Etymology of “Ugh.” From the Online Etymology Dictionary, “ugh” is listed as—

    “Imitative of the sound

    7 comments
  14. Gretchen McCulloch's previous work for The Toast can be found here. Sometimes people tell me, as a linguist, that they're surprised I swear so much. They think linguists must have a mystic access to the higher realms of the language and that we oughtn't to sully ourselves with anything as profane as swearing. But what makes swearing so profane is social factors, not linguistic ones, because linguistically, swear words are fucking fascinating. In fact,…

    107 comments