Archive for 5: lllowercase 3

zzz: Across the Pond

"Everything is expensive in the UK, especially in London, but it's hard to tell because prices are listed in some kind of weird foreign money." —me, with tongue firmly in cheek As has been noted often, British English and American English are quite different in many ways. Of course, that statement implies that each is […]

yyy: Build a Better Catchphrase

A catchphrase is brief, catchy phrase, used widely and repeated often. There are many different kinds of catchphrases, including these overlapping categories: References: brief quotations from a particular source, meant to evoke the original source. For example, brief quotations from movies or television shows, such as "Go ahead, make my day" or "And now for […]

xxx: Not Just for X-Ray Any More

In alphabet books and alphabetical lists, X is always for X-ray. Or sometimes xylophone. Which isn't very imaginative when it comes down to it, 'cause there are a bunch of much cooler words that begin with X. Xiphoid, for instance: a particular part of the sternum. Here are some other X-words, along with loose definitions […]

www: A Spider’s Memoir

"The Highwayman" is by Alfred Noyes. It's a lovely poem, full of rhythms and sounds that beg to be read aloud, and more than one young reader's tastes have been influenced by the title character's lace and leather attire. It's been set to music a couple of times, most recently (and most popularly) by Loreena […]

vvv: My Favorite Things

In "The Analytical Language of John Wilkins," Borges describes a Chinese encyclopedia called the Celestial Emporium of Benevolent Knowledge, which divides animals into these classes: those that belong to the Emperor embalmed ones those that are trained suckling pigs mermaids fabulous ones stray dogs those included in this classification those that tremble as if they […]

uuu: mi tavla do

Pidgins are created when people who don't share a language try to communicate with each other. Pidgins do have grammar, of course, but they tend not to be carefully constructed; they're created on an ad hoc basis, to serve the needs of their speakers. Many people have taken a more systematic approach to the creation […]

ttt: Does Not Commute

Will Quale defines a category of phrases that he calls "And Phrases." (Actually, he calls them "& phrases," but for clarity I've changed the term a little. I've retained his practice of writing the phrases themselves with ampersands, however, as I'm rather fond of ampersands.) An And Phrase is a phrase of the form "A […]

sss: I Never Metaphor I Didn’t Like

"A mind's reach should exceed its grasp, or what's a meta phor?" —unknown, riffing on Browning Metaphors and similes equate or compare one thing with another. They can be used to describe the unfamiliar in terms of the familiar, or to shed new light on the familiar by comparing it to something unexpected. And sometimes […]