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11 Jun 2010 21:09


Tech: Dear Phil Corbett: Shut up and let us tweet in peace. OK?

  • Some social-media fans may disagree, but outside of ornithological contexts, ‘tweet’ has not yet achieved the status of standard English. And standard English is what we should use in news articles.
  • New York Times standards editor Phil Corbett • For some reason fighting the flow of the English language, which has already decided to call Twitter posts “tweets” (lowercase). Corbett calls the word “inherently silly” and says it’s possible people may not even be using the site in a year. OK, this would be fine if he had any good recommendations. But what does he come up with? “But let’s look for deft, English alternatives: use Twitter, post to or on Twitter, write on Twitter, a Twitter message, a Twitter update. Or, once you’ve established that Twitter is the medium, simply use ‘say’ or ‘write.’ ” In other words, he has no good ideas for what to call this thing that he’s railing against. How about we call it “tweet,” Phil? Seems like a reasonable name. It also seems dumb for a guy who uses “ornithological” to complain about the clarity of language.  source

22 Dec 2009 08:17


World: Many Russians not so hot on the idea of Cryillic domain names

  • This is one more step toward isolation. And since this is a Kremlin project, it is possible that it will lead to the introduction of censorship, which is something that certain officials have long sought.
  • Tula, Russia, construction engineer Aleksei Larin, 31 • Regarding his dislike of the idea of Cyrillic domain names, an idea that carries more currency with leadership (who have long-disliked the hold English has had on the Web) than it does with people. Others support the idea due to the city-centric nature of Russian internet use, but others – mainly companies – just don’t see the point. source

20 Jun 2009 18:23


Offbeat: “I” before “e” except after whatever: The Brits kill grammar rule

  • They said it had too many exceptions. The British government, after weighing their options, decided to get rid of their insufficient “i before e except after c” rule. They specifically decided to get rid of it in its “Support For Spelling” documents sent to thousands of primary schools, noting higher frequencies of words that did not follow that standard – neither with a “c” or without one. Just to emphasize the point, we used a bunch of different exceptions in this post. Weird. source

09 Apr 2009 10:18


U.S.: Honoring the Binghamton dead through citizenship

  • The shooting happened at an immigration center. Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, both New York Democrats, introduced legislation that would honor the victims of last week’s shooting in Binghamton, N.Y. by posthumously giving citizenship to those killed that didn’t have it. Many of the people shot came from fairly diverse places all over the world. The citizenship would be considered honorary and would not affect the status of relatives. source

16 Mar 2009 10:02


World: A good way to anger a bunch of Quebecers: call them illiterate

  • Whether in elementary or secondary [school], English is practically swept under the rug [in Quebec]. At the university level, it’s even worse. We have illiterates of the second language.
  • Daniel Petit • A Canadian member of parliament, at a meeting of the House of Commons official languages committee. See, this was just bad form. Criticize them for other reasons that they can’t really get angry about, like liking poutine. Calling them illiterate is just going to get you in trouble, dude. In fact, Petit’s statements completely contradict studies which note that Francophones are adept with both English and French. • source