The Language of Food: Entrée

Language mavens have probably been around pretty much since there were two speakers to complain about the vocabulary, pronunciation, or grammar of a third. They can be very useful for historical linguists, because grammar writers don’t complain about a change in the language until it’s basically already happened

File under: purists.

The Language of Food: Entrée

There are cases were poetry creates itself. […] Let us take the title of one of the most famous books in the world, El ingenioso hidalgo don Quijote de la Mancha. […] “De la Mancha” – now this sounds noble and Castilian to us, but when Cervantes wrote it down he intended the word to sound perhaps as if he wrote “Don Quixote of Kansas City” […]. You see how those words have changed, how they have been ennobled.

Jorge Luis Borges in “The Riddle of Poetry” segment of his Norton Lectures. File under Borges.

Art Bollocks – Bryan Ashbee

The art market is not a free market. It’s rigged; hugely distorted by the presence of public subsidy – the grants and funding available to organisations and individuals deemed to be producing “significant” work. To get access to this, it’s even more important that artists create the right theoretical discourse to surround their work.

Also known as bullshit. A handy guide for writing your own art bollocks:

A useful catch-all formula can be applied to all of this work, which I freely offer here, without charge:

“X’s work
{popular notions/stereotypes/archetypes/conventions/the mythology/strategies}
by …”
followed by a nod at whatever images or objects are assembled.

Art Bollocks – Bryan Ashbee

Phonestheme – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The word refers to the “systematic pairing of form and meaning in a language” where “a word with a phonestheme in it has other material in it that is not itself a morpheme.”

For example, the English phonestheme “gl-” occurs in a large number of words relating to light or vision, like “glitter”, “glisten”, “glow”, “gleam”, “glare”, “glint”, and so on

I love this stuff. Here’s a list of English phonesthemes.

  • /st/ is stable, stalwart, staunch, steadfast, steady, stolid, stout, and sturdy
  • /sk/ scuffles, skips, scuttles, scoots, scampers, scurries, and skedaddles
  • /dr/ drips, dribbles, drools, dredges, drizzles, drops, droops, and drags with the dross, dregs and the dreck

Phonestheme – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Business clichés: The subtleties of corporate English | The Economist

“It’s terribly important, at least in American business meetings, to be constantly acknowledging the contributions other people have made”. (via) A further rhapsody on “deep dive”:

There’s something athletic, soulful even, about the thought of physically diving into a spreadsheet, kicking around in its dusky deep columns, paddling lazily through the surf of numbers, digging for hidden gems among its pivot tables, and coming up for air gasping but ecstatic, with the decimal points cascading down your forehead.

Business clichés: The subtleties of corporate English | The Economist

Copacetic – Online Etymology Dictionary

We’re not quite sure where “copacetic” came from.

1919, but it may have origins in 19c. Amer.Eng. Southern black speech. Origin unknown, suspects include Latin, Yiddish (cf. Heb. kol b’seder), Italian, Louisiana French (coupe-sétique), and Native American. None is considered convincing by linguists.

While I’m on the topic, I should mention that the Online Etymology Dictionary is one of my favorite sites ever. I usually make a couple visits every day.
Copacetic – Online Etymology Dictionary

The problem with clichés is not that they contain false ideas, but rather that they are superficial articulations of very good ones. The sun is often on fire at sunset and the moon discreet, but if we keep saying this every time we encounter a sun or a moon, we will end up believing that this is the last rather than the first word to be said on the subject. Clichés are detrimental insofar as they inspire us to believe that they adequately describe a situation while merely grazing its surface. And if this matters, it is because the way we speak is ultimately linked to the way we feel, because how we describe the world must at some level reflect how we first experience it.