Things to read, watch, listen to, and think about—other than politics. And sneaking in a little politics too.
I am driven half mad by the overuse of the word "that". I would say, "the boy WHO ran away", but it's increasingly being replaced by, "the boy THAT ran away." Also, "the building WHICH burned down" is becoming "the building THAT burned down. Worst are sentences which read something like, "I noticed THAT THAT dog THAT bit THAT postman was not THAT brown one." Perhaps we can find a way to limit our vocabularies to ten words or less...or perhaps just grunts.
To call the sht pronounciation German is not quite right. It's South German. Someone from Hannover will pronounce st, someone from Hamburg ssst.
But we all agree that Schule (school) is pronounced shule. Did English borrow the sk pronounciation of sch from Dutch?
Hello, Mr. Fallows! Regarding the vaporization of the past participle: A certain example that's driven me nuts for years now is people saying and writing "I have ran." I delve into that in this article...
... which also, along the way, spotlights another (and even worse) grammatical trend I've noticed —people making "I" possessive, e.g. "My wife and I's friend."
I would eagerly read Deb's quarterly grammar update. The first topic I suggest: when did aircrafts become an acceptable plural form of aircraft?! I hear it all the time now and I think it's just wrong. Should we all say deers now?
Shtreet? Really? It sounds so...dumb. Sounds like someone's dentures need more Polygrip.
Another NPR peccadillo that is getting on my nerves is the use of "absolutely" in place of "yes" or "I agree." I have no idea where this trend came from. Or from whence it came. Whatever.
And what about "revert" when people actually mean to reply with revisions. Revert means to go back to what something was before, not to make changes. But I encounter lawyers saying I will revert tomorrow, when they mean they will send me changes to a document tomorrow. This one apparently comes from Indian English, used by the minions of the subcontinent to which Big Law has offshored their less complicated work. It seems that the associates in Big Law have picked up this usage from their Indian counterparts, and it has spread among us lesser lawyers looking to appear as sophisticated as the big boys. So annoying.
As always, thanks for the sanity.
I have another theory for the acceptance and use of shtreet. It first started showing up in black urban culture and hip hop, which is incredibly influential in American culture as has hip urban slang been for over a hundred years. You won’t find anyone over 40 talking like that, but the
“Yute“ figure if their culture heroes are talking like that, it must be the way to talk. Whaddya think, Deb?
Along with the vaporization of the past participle, we also have the vaporization of the irregular past tense. We used to say that “the moon shone brightly” and “the defendant pled guilty.” Now the press almost universally says “the moon shined brightly” and the defendant pleaded guilty.” It’s like spelling “freight” as “frate”. This is actually the opposite of germanification — the Germans love their irregular verbs. They call them “strong” verbs, and list them in a special appendix at the back of German dictionaries (so you won’t mistakenly use a regular form for the past tense of an irregular verb).
Hey Jim --
And I'm old enough to remember Dizzy Dean using "slud" as the past particple of slide! Some of it's annoying ... other just amusing.
Sheesh! We need an American Academy, like l'academie francaise, to put a stop to all this nonsense.
Manchin should be ‘framed,’ boxed, and sent back to West Virginia to his coal-financed mansion.
It’s difficult to remember that once a Rockefeller was governor of WA. Manchin was a successful Democratic governor in a red state and then was a bicolor senator.
I once admired his political savvy and his personal character, but not recently. At 76 he should return to WV and not pursue an ego-inspired initiative to be a presidential wannabe. Better to retire as a fair weather friend than as a foolish old man.
Jim Your flying exploits are fascinating. Sorry you lost your flight jacket in China. I recall George H. W. Bush, when he was ex-president and chairman of Eisenhower Fellows. For the first two years he showed up in a naval flight jacket to meet the Fellows. (He was the youngest naval pilot at 19, in WW II and had a distinguished combat record.) Eventually, he switched to a suit.
I recall, in WW II, meeting the AF officer responsible for air surveillance in the Philadelphia area. It was inspiring to watch all those volunteers climb up watch towers and other large buildings to watch for German air craft. There were a number of emergency alerts, but nary a German bomber was actually sighted.
I understand that, shortly before the end of WW II, the Germans actually sent a stripped down plane towards the US. It came within sight of the US coast, turned around, and managed to make it back to Germany.
Hail the volunteer plane watchers. One might say they were successful, because not a single Nazi plane got to the US coast. (I recall in Marthas Vineyard, that a plane watcher was blown off a water tower watch station by a strong leak. I don’t know if this qualified him for a Purple Heart.)