Category Archives: Word Usage

Seman-tech Changes?


 We know that languages change over time. Some of these changes are shifts in word usage and word senses. The world of technology changes rapidly, and it’s no surprise that word senses might reflect that. Three English nouns have caught … Continue reading

Posted in Internet, language and social media, language change, Meaning Change, Word Usage | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Word Jumbles #11


DIPARS ERUSIFS ETARING ONORISE REDSET Solutions can be found on the Answers page.

Posted in Word Usage | 2 Comments

The Hidden Past of Words: English final -y


Consider the following list of everyday English words:  memory, happy, baby, crazy, victory, city, silly, puppy, army For starters, they all end in -y and they can be grouped further as nouns (memory, baby, victory, city, puppy, army) or adjectives … Continue reading

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Glass, Bamboo, Curry


I was intrigued by a recent question posted at Quora about whether there is a bamboo ceiling in American corporate culture, parallel to the idea of a glass ceiling, but with reference to the experience of Asians’ efforts to become promoted to … Continue reading

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Plural Logic


Forming the plural of a noun in English is pretty easy — mostly you add final -s to the singular form (with occasional spelling modifications:  story -> stories).  Linguists refer to nouns that form their plurals with final -s as … Continue reading

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More Linguistic Asymmetries


The English prefix un- comes directly from Old English (and shares a common Indo-European root with Latin in- and Greek a-) Prefixed to an adjective A, the resulting new word means ‘not A’ and can convey either positive or negative … Continue reading

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Teenage, Middle-age, New Age


English can form adjectives from the past participles of verbs. Consider: break:broken  the vase was broken -> the broken vase fall:fallen   his popularity has fallen recently -> his fallen popularity bake:baked  the bread was baked in a brick oven -> … Continue reading

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Word Purge


There is an online post at the British newspaper Guardian reporting on words to be excluded from new editions of dictionaries. The post invites readers to list their own choices for words they’d like removed from the English language. My … Continue reading

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VAMP 18: Delayed Pastries


The morning air is bracing as Sam dashes across the street where Lila’s Bakery is. She walks past the shop and down the block and turns into the branch office of a local bank. Good thing I brought the checkbook … Continue reading

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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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