Category Archives: Uncategorized

express thyself

In Mexico City, a common kind of Italian coffee is spelled “express,” “expres,” “exprés,” “expreso,” “expresso,” and, sometimes, on a really good day, “espresso.” (My impression is that “express” is most common.) Mix in some chocolate and you get “moka.”

What we have here are words taken from Italian, filtered through English (just how well is unarguably debatable) before being used in Spanish. I think this is a strange phenomenon. I would like to know what it’s called.

HT ((L)HT?): Languagehat.

some questionable things were said

First, while Weird Al talks about “grammar,” most of his prescriptions do not pertain to what linguists consider the “grammar” of English, and this reflects a widespread divide between the use of the term “grammar” in everyday language and “grammar” by linguists. This divide frustrates linguists, because it makes them feel like everyone misunderstands the very substance and nature of their field of study.

Irony from the profoundly unironic. This happens occasionally.

[…] Weird Al’s violent reactions against “bad grammar” raises deep and longstanding questions of social equity regarding class, education, race, age, ethnicity, gender, and how these relate to languages, dialects, and social registers.

Fear the foisted foibles.

The original blog post is here.


A transient and not really unpleasant fishy smell in Puerto Escondido a few days ago reminded me of A Shadow Over Innsmouth, so I started to read it.

I first read it about fifteen years ago. My assessment of Lovecraft then was that he was strong on ideas, weak on character, plot, and style. But a revision of my opinion was in order. Stylistically Lovecraft was much stronger than I had realized. Indeed, I was surprised by how Borgesian Shadow was, especially in its opening pages.

A worthy rediscovery.