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There are a tremendous number of Arabic loanwords in English. So next time you’re sitting on your sofa, sipping on a mint julep, watching Admiral Mike Mullen testify before Congress or possibly flipping through a magazine, just know that when sharia comes to America, it’s your fault. And don’t go upstairs and weep into your mattress, covering yourself with your cotton blanket because it’s no use. For what it’s worth, the onset of this Islamist conspiracy to subvert American sovereignty seems to have begun with the Whig Party—I always knew Henry Clay was a secret Muslim.
Adam Serwer, “Stop Using Moozlem Words” (via theamericanprospect)

And don’t try to do any math either, what with all those evil Arabic numerals.

(this post was reblogged from theamericanprospect)
(this post was reblogged from nightline)
Lengthy. Reliable. Talented. Influential. Tremendous.

All of these words we use without a second thought were never part of the English language until the establishment of the United States.

The BBC laments how Americans are destroying the English language.

Which reminds me, remember Google Ngrams? Everyone was playing with it a couple of months ago. Anyway, it allows you to compare trends in usage among different words and phrases, but only in one language at a time. It would be really cool if it showed usage of the same word (or different words describing the same concept) over time for both British and American English on the same graph.


10 Most Misunderstood Words in English

I think we’ve lost the battle on nonplussed.

(this post was reblogged from thebroadcaster)
A comma or period that follows a closing quotation mark appears to hang off by itself and creates a gap in the line (since the space over the mark combines with the following word space).

Rosemary Feal, executive director of the Modern Language Association, talking with Slate’s Ben Yagoda about why Americans put commas or periods within quotation marks while the British style is to put punctuation outside quote marks.

Yagoda’s response: “I don’t doubt Feal, but the appearance argument doesn’t carry much heft today; more to the point is that we are simply accustomed to the style.”

 » Read his punctuated argument at Slate. For more word nerdiness, check out Trove’s Grammar & Language channel. (via trove)

Here's the story on Slate.

(this post was reblogged from trove)

Usage of theater vs. theatre in American English.

Well this is odd. I always thought theater with an -er is the standard American spelling—hell, the spell checker even flagged theatre as being incorrect while I typed this up—yet Google’s stash of digitized books shows that the British spelling (red line) dominated American usage until about 1980. Why is there a discrepancy between the textbook standard and actual usage? And what makes theater different from, say, center or fiber, where the cross-over from British to American spelling occurred much longer ago?