Post Tagged with: "Word Nerd"

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Word Nerd: We are totally surrounded by redundancies

I first became aware of a penchant for political verbal diarrhea back in 1993. CBC journalist, Hana Gartner, was interviewing then Prime Minister Jean Chrétien.

Word Nerd: Attention Scrabble lovers: Geocache no longer cached
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Word Nerd: Attention Scrabble lovers: Geocache no longer cached

It was 1931 when American architect Alfred Butts joined the bulging ranks of the unemployed. There just weren’t many buildings being erected so Butts decided to construct something else – a game for adults.

"American troops in the field during World War I" by Moore, William E.; Russell, James C. - U.S. Official Pictures of the World War.
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Word Nerd: Down the foxhole of First World War vocabulary

As this year marks the centenary of the commencement of First World War, it occurs to me that one of the reasons for the immense popularity of the television series Downton Abbey derives from the dynamic era it displayed in earlier seasons. During the helter-skelter years of WWI great social […]

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Word Nerd: In context, slang ain’t so bad

Harris Academy, a girls’ high school in South London, wasn’t impressed by the manner its students were rendering the language of Shakespeare. To wit, last October it banned the use of slang by students throughout most of the institution. School principal Chris Everitt introduced this list of eight forbidden words […]

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Word Nerd: Nu, let’s sit and kibbitz about those shlemiels and schnorrers

Fewer than one-third of English words stem from the original Anglo-Saxon word stock and to some extent the language’s ascendancy lies in the internationality of its words. Even with its grammatical irregularities and illogical pronunciation and spelling, English is best suited to be the world’s bridge tongue because of its […]

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Word Nerd: It takes a lot of gall to accuse someone of chutzpah

“I don’t know what Arkansan is for chutzpah, but this is a gigantic case of it.” White House Press Secretary Tony Snow July 5, 2007, in reference to Bill Clinton’s criticism of George Bush for pardoning Scooter Lobby, given that Clinton spent his final hours as president issuing 140 pardons […]

Word Nerd: Homer, Queen and talking about death
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Word Nerd: Homer, Queen and talking about death

“To lose one parent, Mr. Worthing, may be regarded as a misfortune, to lose both looks like carelessness.” ~ Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest I recalled this droll quip that highlights the inexact language associated with death after listening to a CBC podcast titled “A Word About the […]

First crossword
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Word Nerd: The crossword crossroads

We have just passed the centenary of the creation of the crossword puzzle. December 21, 1913, the New York World featured a new type of word puzzle constructed by journalist Arthur Wynne. Wynne’s puzzle differed from today’s crosswords in that it was diamond-shaped and contained no internal black squares. Wynne […]

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Word Nerd: Original blackmailers being blackmailed?

“Scottish independence; Navy frigate contract will be held after U.K. split vote,” read an August 2012 headline in The Scotsman. This story related how lucrative contracts to build the next generation of Royal Navy frigates would only be announced after the Scottish referendum on independence scheduled for autumn 2014. Not […]

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Word Nerd: What we lose when we lose a language

The adjective “endangered” is usually twinned with the noun “species” as the onslaught of civilization has brought about a diminution in the planet’s biodiversity. But not only are many species on the verge of extinction—many languages are teetering toward oblivion. Of approximately 7,000 languages, it is estimated that anywhere from […]