29 6 / 2014
Synonyms are weird because if you invite someone to your cottage in the forest that just sounds nice and cozy, but if I invite you to my cabin in the woods you’re going to die.
19 6 / 2014
laid is pronounced like paid but not said and said is pronounced like bread but not bead and bead is pronounced like lead but not lead
08 6 / 2014
In Old English, thou (thee, thine, etc.) was singular and you was plural. But during the thirteenth century, you started to be used as a polite form of the singular - probably because people copied the French way of talking, where vous was used in that way. English then became like French, which has tu and vous both possible for singulars; and that allowed a choice. The norm was for you to be used by inferiors to superiors - such as children to parents, or servants to masters, and thou would be used in return. But thou was also used to express special intimacy, such as when addressing God. It was also used when the lower classes talked to each other. The upper classes used you to each other, as a rule, even when they were closely related.
So, when someone changes from thou to you in a conversation, or the other way round, it conveys a different pragmatic force. It will express a change of attitude, or a new emotion or mood."
David Crystal, “The Language of Shakespeare” — as included in The Oxford Shakespeare: The Complete Works, Second Edition.
I found this incredibly fascinating and informative, in regards to the difference between the Old and Middle/Modern English “thou” and “you” forms.
This is also why in literature, you will see Quakers addressing each other and folks around them as “thou” long after it’s left the general language (I think it happens in Uncle Tom? Certain 19th century books anyway) - because it indicates equality between the speaker and the addressee.
06 6 / 2014
"So raise a glass to teenage girls for their linguistic innovation. It expands our expressive vocabulary, giving us new words and modes of expression. Speakers may nostalgically look to a previous golden era of English, but the truth is that Shakespeare’s English is an abomination of Chaucer’s English, which is an abomination of Beowolf’s. Language is inherently unstable. It’s in a constant state of flux, made and remade—stretched, altered, broken down and rearranged—by its speakers every day. Rather than a sign of corruption and disorder, this is language in its full vitality—a living, evolving organism."
27 5 / 2014
i’m so upset
I just realized that the reason ghosts say Boo! is because it’s a latin verb
they’re literally saying ‘I alarm/I am alarming/I do alarm!!
14 5 / 2014
we’re taking a group of people who have insider knowledge of the English language (or at least a good grasp of it) and placing them in a new, unfamiliar, virtual space. This space introduces visual aids to language in the form of photos and gifs, the ability to comment on someone else’s text in a reblog and the ability to communicate a lot of information in very few words using hashtags. We also see the creation of tone in a toneless medium. In order to simulate conversational patterns in writing we SHOUT WHEN WE’RE SUPER EXCITED or *psssst whisper when we’re pretending to tell someone a secret while perfectly aware that anyone on the internet can read what we’re saying.* slash the coolest bit tho is that u can like ironically forgo all capitalization and punctuation just write in a weird speech pattern its ok everyone will still understand maybe it even helps read the text more quickly because nothing is interrupting the flow of words
In short, this dialect results when people who already share a language are given new tools. The result isn’t a butchering of English language but a creative experiment with it. Am I claiming that the Internet as a whole is operating on a level of postmodernism that would make Joseph Heller, Kurt Vonnegut and Thomas Pynchon seem like novices? maybe i am maybe im not u punk wut of it like who r u to tell me otherwise
Tia Baheri: “Your Ability to Can Even: A Defense of Internet Linguistics" | The Toast
Totally worth reading the whole article, especially the part on Tumblr and gender.
Internet linguistics is super fascinating to me.
This whole article is absolutely fascinating. As someone who is older than the average tumblr user, and someone who can be a bit of a grammar freak, it took me a long time to get used to the Tumblrisms, but now I find them incredibly useful.
“it took me a long time to get used to the Tumblrisms, but now I find them incredibly useful.” Same. All the internet speak that people my age usually malign, I find flexible and expressive and important.
Some people especially don’t like the term “feels” but I find it really helpful. “Feels” are not “emotions”. Emotions are specific, partitioned states. Feels are the simultaneous experience of all emotions (including emotions that would usually be framed as neutralizing one another if occurring simultaneously—happy/sad—but which often amplify each other instead) that are presently occurring as an immediate or on-going reaction to an inciting incident (image, movie, etc.). “All my feels” is a way to express both the totality and the immensity of those emotions being experienced.
Following that, “right in the feels” is how to express that a secondary inciting incident has occurred which, like one molecule in motion intersecting with another molecule in motion, has effected an impact and a temporary or permanent change in state/velocity/trajectory of the total-state of emotions affecting the speaker and, if the impact is strong enough, may permanently alter the composition of the feels in question.
How damn cool is it to be able to sum up both the initial concept and the experience—with a gif (a tiny movie that, like a hologram, contains the whole of the original as well as the subcultural context around that movie and that scene and that character), no less?
12 5 / 2014
we should talk more about how ‘macaroni’ in 18th century england was used to mean ‘fashionable’ because a bunch of rich young dudes went to italy and really liked the stuff there
language is weird
humans are weird
WELL THAT’S ONE FUCKING LIFELONG MYSTERY SOLVED