The language of politics

We live in interesting times, which seem more and more difficult to predict. And in these times bring up some language issues.

Here are two which are coming up at the moment, mainly in the American context:

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The last three letters of the alphabet

The development of the alphabet is quite an interesting field of study. I started on a series of blog posts on the subject, and one day I hope to find the notes, which I don’t think I’ve seen since before the house move.

Here is a post on the last three letters to be added to the alphabet.

By the way, did you know that & used to be thought of as part of the alphabet? Just wait until I find those notes…

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Word histories

Some word history this week:

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Writing opportunities in May and June

This week the emphasis is on opportunities for writers.

Some of these competitions are quite specific, and will need some work to refine an entry. Others will just be right for that piece that only needs a final polish. Why not give it a go?

  • First there is a general list of opportunities. As ever, some have very tight deadlines, and some fell right at the beginning of the month. Well, that is always going to be a feature of these list, isn’t it?
  • Then there is an Australian competition to win AUD$5,000.

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The Oxford comma

Some people get very worked up about the Oxford comma.

Some people make a statement about it in their house style guide.

Outside publishing, many people aren’t sure what it is.

Find out more about the ambiguous Oxford comma.

I think the key thing is to think about the sense of the words. Punctuation should be used to help communication.

Sticking to a rigid rule sometimes helps, but this is an example of a time to use your common sense instead.

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A change of policy

If you have read about blogging, you will know that most people say that it is important to post regularly on your blog.

I have been writing this blog for several years now, and in that time my method has changed.

When I began, I intended to write about topics that interested me, and occasionally share links I had found about subjects relating to language.

Then I found that there were more and more links that I thought deserved to be shared, so I wrote less of my own material.

Then I found that I had more paid work, and it was difficult to find time to write opinion pieces.

Recently it has been difficult to find posts that are worth sharing on a daily basis without repeating  topics regularly. While a certain amount of repetition of basic points is good, it does get a little tedious.

As a result, I have decided to limit my posting to a couple of times each week. I’ll aim to post groups of related links, or a short opinion piece.

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Why do we get stir crazy?

Find out some background to this old expression here.

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