Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Language Predictions for 2015

English is a vibrant, changing language. Some language change is good (e.g., drifting away from sexist language), and some is bad (e.g., incentivize, office used as a verb). But regardless of our personal reactions to language change, it is inevitable.

New technologies and unexpected situations can sometimes suddenly give new life to old words or bring new words into the fold. These types of changes can be difficult to predict. Other changes, though, we can see coming. (Did anyone really expect on-line and e-mail to retain their hyphens?) If we're thoughtful and observant, we can spot where trendlines might shift or innovations might occur.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Today's Etymology Quiz

How's your Latin these days? Care to put it to the test? On Friday, I published a little etymology quiz in which you have to match up the Latinate adjective (e.g., aquiline) with the bird it describes (in this case, the eagle).

There are ten more match-ups to make over at, and the answers will be posted on December 26.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Plugged Back In to the Current Decade

I just discovered that this post has been idling as a draft since November 10th. No idea what I didn't post it way back then,but here it is:

My fortieth birthday came and went, and with it came an important “gift” I bought for myself. With the help of the women who donated to my FundAnything campaign (and they have my thanks), I have been able to replace my stolen laptop!

I can’t replace all the data (that is, all the writing) that I lost on my laptop, but I can get started on the future of my writing much more easily now.

I’ve had it since last Thursday night, and I am generally enjoying the freedom it affords. But seriously, this newest version of Office is messed up. Maybe I was set in my ways. Maybe I’m the only one who preferred the 3-D look of previous versions to the hip “flat” interface. Maybe I’m simply turned off by the ALL CAPS tab headings. Whatever it is, I’ll need time to get used to it.

Of course, the Office interface is nothing compared with switching from Windows Vista to Windows 8. I miss my Start menu. (If anyone can point me to a tutorial that shows how to reinstate it, I would appreciate the link.)

But I’ll deal with all this. Human beings are infinitely adaptable, and I am one of those, so I’ll be all right. And it’s wonderful to be connected again.

Now, on to my next hurdle!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Can This Be Smoothed Out?

Evan Williams Single Barrel Vintage Super-Prem...
At least share! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
We know that a baby teethes and a good bourbon soothes the nerves, but when your significant other finds out you spent almost $400 on a bottle of 23-year-old Evan Williams Kentucky bourbon, you might be looking for an expensive gift that smoothes things over with him or her.

Or do you need a gift that smooths things over?

Which is it, smoothes or smooths?

It depends on whom you ask, because the evidence is surprisingly inconclusive. I've written all about it over on, so learn more about this difficult little word over there.