Author Archives: achouston

We’re All Verbs Now


Maybe, maybe not. Are there any English speakers today who don’t accept text as a verb? It was an easy move to permit text as a verb, follownig the paradigm of other communication channel noun-verb pairs in English — the … Continue reading

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Linguistic Asymmetries


Have you ever noticed that, while some words which take a prefix seem to form nice pairings with opposite meaning polarity (tie/untie, compliance/noncompliance, tasteful/distasteful), other pairs don’t work this way? For example, there is nonplussed, but not plussed, insipid, but … Continue reading

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Blind Tasting: the Audiobook Edition


Blind Tasting is now available as an audiobook.  You can listen to sample chapters for free and you can also buy the entire, unabridged novel as a digital download. Producing this edition in a recording studio — working with a … Continue reading

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Journey in Northern Light


Just a quick add-on to yesterday’s mention of the summer solstice. Check out this beautiful time-lapse sequence of  The Arctic Light by TSO Photography.  ‘The Arctic Light’ is the name given by the photographer to the time period about 2-4 weeks … Continue reading

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Happy Summer Solstice, NoHem!


Today is the summer solstice for the northern hemisphere — a consequence of the geometry of the sphere-with-a-tilted-axis that we call home in our solar system.  Today the sun will reach its highest point in the sky at (solar) noon, … Continue reading

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Reading the Signs


If you examine the wording on cautionary road signs, you’ll realize they aren’t wholly consistent.  Yet as native speakers of English (or with working fluency of English) we usually have no trouble interpreting the intended meaning.  The basic semantic task … Continue reading

Posted in Semantics, social context of language, symbols | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

What are you searching for?


There’s a lot of talk these days about the limits of current search technology, of the fact that people don’t want to scan pages of blue links anymore. The new goal, as evidenced by the work of legions of energetic … Continue reading

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Nutty Nomenclature


Have you ever wondered why walnuts have surfaces with ridges and grooves whereas almost all other nuts are smooth? Pecans have rows of ridges, but hazel nuts, cashews, brazil nuts, almonds, macademia nuts and pistachios are all smooth, even though … Continue reading

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Word Jumbles #10


POLLOLIP SLITNEC THIPRUM CORTAPI ULECTIC Solutions posted tomorrow on Answers

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Bootstraps


The word bootstrap is pretty common nowadays and shows up mostly as a verb. It is used frequently in the context of Internet and technology enterprises and refers to the process of getting things done, built, or advanced without much … Continue reading

Posted in etymology, language change, Meaning Change | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments