EppsNet Archive: Language

No Grammar in Oroville

 

English teacher says that grammar and writing rules are based in white supremacy so she tries to undermine it in her classroom pic.twitter.com/uKVs3MO1ih — Libs of TikTok (@libsoftiktok) December 4, 2022 This is Marta Shaffer, an English teacher at Oroville High School in northern California. I don’t know anything about Oroville. California’s a big state and Oroville is a long way from where I live. So I can’t speak for Oroville parents but I do know that there are no parents in the school district my son attended who share Ms. Shaffer’s distaste for teaching and learning the rules of English grammar. I would LOVE to have attended a Back to School Night with her at a local high school. Good evening, parents. Thanks for coming. I want to start by saying that I consider grammar and writing rules to be based in white supremacy so I try to undermine… Read more →

AOC Building Henhouses

 

In 1945, George Orwell wrote this: Prose consists less and less of words chosen for the sake of their meaning, and more and more of phrases tacked together like the sections of a prefabricated henhouse. He couldn’t be more right, in my opinion, especially when the topic is politics. I can’t think of a more perfect embodiment of Orwell’s theory than AOC, who in 2022 gives us headlines like this: It’s so trite that even the headline writer is compelled to split it up into hot-button words and phrases — fascism, Jim Crow, White nationalists, apartheid — et voilà! Henhouse! Read more →

Christmas Cake

 

From urbandictionary.com: A woman 26 years+ who is considered to be past her prime, undesirable, used goods and/or no good. The term originates from Japan where it is tradition to eat cake on Christmas. So a cake intended for Christmas that was not eaten or is left over is considered bad and should be thrown out. Japanese businessmen coined the term, once again emphasizing the Japanese desire for a young and virginal wife. Japanese women over the age of 26 most often have to rely on either a hastily semi-arranged marriage to a friend of the family or, more frequently, marry a foreigner as they are rarely aware of the stigma or don’t care. “If we wait until after grad school, I’ll be Christmas Cake.” “She just turned 26. She’s Christmas Cake now.” “She married her husband at 30, so you know he wasn’t bothered that she was Christmas Cake.” Read more →

More Words and Phrases I’m Sick Unto Death Of: Assigned at Birth

 

As in, “He was assigned male at birth.” It sounds like other options were available, doesn’t it? Like a child being assigned a name or a house at Hogwarts. Is there any plausible scenario where the child would be assigned anything other than male at birth? Suppose the doctor said, “I assign this child as female.” And then the parents freak out and say “Are you fucking nuts?! He’s not female, he’s got a cock.” “Hmmm,” says the doctor. “Well . . . you’ve got me there.” If it wasn’t so easy to determine the sex of a newborn at a glance — it doesn’t require a medical degree — you could go with a DNA test, since every cell in the human body is marked male or female. That never changes, no matter how many hormones you take or how many surgeries you have. It’s biological and permanent. In… Read more →

“People Who Menstruate …”

 

“Don't you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? In the end we shall make thoughtcrime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it.” – George Orwell https://t.co/uPOyP7aHDQ — Paul Epps (@paulepps) June 14, 2022 Read more →

More Words and Phrases I’m Sick Unto Death Of: “Insurrection”

 

What is an “insurrection”? I guess I could look it up. Is it a crime? Have any of the arrested protestors been charged with that? If not, why do we keep saying it? Is an insurrection bad by definition? Was the Revolutionary War an insurrection? Read more →

More Words and Phrases I’m Sick Unto Death Of: Accidental Overdose

 

I hardly ever the word “overdose” by itself anymore, as in “so-and-so died of an overdose.” It’s always “so-and-so died of an accidental overdose.” Isn’t that redundant? If you want to put it that way, wouldn’t the only alternative be an intentional overdose? Which would be a suicide. The word “overdose” implies accidental. Someone tried to make themselves feel better in a high-risk way and miscalibrated. So it’s either a suicide or an overdose, not an “accidental overdose.” End of story. Read more →

Pronouns

 

I know people who identify themselves with plural pronouns, e.g., “they/them,” but I’ve never heard any of them refer to themselves with plural pronouns, e.g., “us” or “we.” They always say “I” or “me.” A couple of possibilities, not mutually exclusive: They want to call attention to themselves but in a way that they haven’t really thought through. They realize how ridiculous it sounds to refer to an individual person with a plural pronoun. I mean, go ahead and call yourself anything you want, but if you’re going to burden others with absurdities, you should have to live with them yourself. Read more →

How Many Synonyms Can There Be For the Word “Lies”?

 

I’m hearing from the media that whereas President Trump provided “a torrent of lies,” President Biden has “missteps,” “characteristic stumbles” and “false statistical interpretations.” But not lies. 🙂 I’m envisioning media gnomes wearing out their thesauruses for the next four years trying to come up with synonyms for the word “lies.” A couple of things I don’t like: Being treated like an imbecile who doesn’t grasp nuances of the English language and doesn’t know when he’s being brainwashed. The absence in our country of an honest free press. This would really solve a lot of problems. A lot. Read more →

More People I’m Sick Unto Death Of

 

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is demanding that people stop using animal terms as insults — such as calling other humans “chicken” or “pig” — not because they want to encourage good manners but because it’s “speciesist” language. I really don’t understand the obsession some people have with telling other people how to speak. Read more →

Profanity in Book Titles

 

Powell’s Books emailed a list of self-care titles aimed at making readers happier and healthier and saner. A surprisingly high (to me) percentage of the titles — 3 out of 25 (12 percent) — contain the word “fuck.” One title includes the word “shit” but it’s also one of the titles that uses “fuck” so I’m not going to double-count it. Is this a new publishing industry strategy to reawaken people’s interest in reading? Personally I don’t care for it . . . Read more →

More Words and Phrases I’m Sick Unto Death Of

 

“Calendar” as a verb: “Can you given me an estimated delivery date so I can calendar it?” I’ve never heard that before today and I’m already sick of it. Read more →

More Words and Phrases I’m Sick Unto Death Of: Coming Forward

 

You’re the accuser. You get on the witness stand. You testify. You make your accusation. You get cross-examined. THEN the accused responds. It turns the entire legal system on its head. It is INSANE to ask an accused person to deny the accusation before he has heard the accusation being made and cross-examined. — Alan Dershowitz I’m tired of the phrase “coming forward” being used to describe people making unsubstantiated allegations, because it presumes the truth of something that’s unknown and, in some cases, unknowable. The burden is still on the accuser, thank god for all of us. I “come forward” to accuse you — via the media, on Twitter, wherever — of having done a bad thing decades ago in high school. I don’t remember the details of when or where or who else was present, but now that you’ve been credibly accused, how do you respond to this… Read more →

More Words and Phrases I’m Sick Unto Death Of

 

Whenever I hear Let’s be clear or Make no mistake, it’s never followed by something clear or unmistakable, but always by some completely unsupportable hallucination . . . Read more →

More Words and Phrases I’m Sick Unto Death Of: Thought Leader

 

If “thought leader” is a title you can bestow upon yourself, then what is the difference between a thought leader and a crackpot? I am a thought leader, a proponent of unconventional ideas. You, on the other hand, are a crackpot. I am a visionary. I have visions. Sometimes I have them when I’m driving and I have to pull over. It’s a real burden . . . Read more →

Thomas Jefferson: Animals, Not People

 

My fellow Americans — I heard or read the Trump sound bite — “These are not people. These are animals.” — several times this week, always with no context to clarify who or what the pronoun “these” refers to. I plan to use that line next time I visit the National Zoo. It’s going to be hilarious. Listeners and readers were invited to apply the broadest possible interpretation, i.e., Trump said immigrants are animals. He was reviled by people who relied on the short, skewed attention span of the American public to avoid facing the regrettable fact that they use the same “dehumanizing” language themselves. This doesn’t work as well as it did before Twitter became an online memory bank for better or worse. For example, here is CNN “journalist” Ana Navarro: Once it became widely known that Trump was referring specifically to MS-13 gang members, Nancy Pelosi and other… Read more →

More Words and Phrases I’m Sick Unto Death Of: Work Hard, Play Hard

 

You work hard? Is that a boast? Maybe you have to work hard because you lack talent and finesse. You play hard? Are you a bad loser? Are you an even worse winner? How do those two words even go together — “play” and “hard”? Read more →

More Words and Phrases I’m Sick Unto Death Of: Manterrupting

 

I’ve only heard it once and I’m already sick of it. According to the person who said it, it means a man interrupting a woman. Is there a word for a woman allowing herself to be interrupted? I mean, men interrupt other men too, we just decide whether or not we’re going to allow it . . . Read more →

More Words and Phrases I’m Sick Unto Death Of: Signage

 

Like most words, the plural of “sign” is formed by adding an “s” on the end, not by adding “age.” Someone must have figured out that “signage” sounds more impressive to the clientele. “That’s a lot of money just to put up some signs.” “We’re not putting up signs, we’re putting up signage.” Read more →

Some Links on Effective Communication

 

Busting myths on gender differences in the brain (Article) Nora Caplan-Bricker, “The Idea of a ‘Male Brain’ and a ‘Female Brain’ Is Likely a Myth,” Slate, November 2, 2015. Challenges and strategies for creating safe communication spaces at work (Article) James R. Detert and Ethan R. Burris, “Can Your Employees Really Speak Freely?,” Harvard Business Review, vol. 94, no. 1 (January/February 2016): p. 80-87. Communication comes in all shapes and sizes (Video) Nancy Lublin, “Texting That Saves Lives,” TEDvideo, 5:24, February 2012. Do men and women communicate differently? (Article) Deborah Cameron, “What Language Barrier?,” The Guardian, October 1, 2007. Find out the meaning behind emojis (Website) “Emojipedia.” Game-changing communication developments (Article) Amber Leigh Turner, “5 Trends Disrupting Communication,” TNW News. How the medium of communications can change what we say (Article) “Tweets From Mobile Devices Are More Likely to Be Egocentric,” International Communications Association press release, October 1, 2015. Leaders can change their power… Read more →

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