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John Cowan
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"Court of first instance" is a general term in jurisprudence, meaning the court that first deals with a particular case. In England-and-Wales they are either Crown courts or magistrate's courts, most often the latter. When technicalities are not at issue, "Supreme Court" is a fine translation for "Court of Cassation"; the technical difference is that in principle the U.S. and U.K. Supreme Courts can re-examine the facts as well as the law (but rarely do), whereas European courts of cassation cannot. (Calling Spanish law "Roman law" rather than "civil law" is a bit like calling American law "English law" rather than "common law": historically true, but somewhat misleading.) Anyway, IANAL either. When my wife was a teenager in the mid-1950s, her favorite disk jockey suddenly disappeared from his regular program, never to return. About a month later she saw in the newspaper that he had been convicted of "crimes against nature". She had never heard the expression, and supposed that he had taken an ax to a tree in a national park, or something of the sort.
0409 and 0809 are Microsoft's legacy internal codes for U.S. and U.K. English respectively. Now they mostly use the international standard codes "en-US" and "en-GB" instead — this must be one place where they haven't switched over. (Why not "en-UK"? Because in formulating the standard two-letter country codes, words like "United" and "Kingdom" are left out; the Kingdom of the Netherlands is coded "NL", although the abbreviation "US" for the United States of America was apparently seen as inevitable.)
Toggle Commented Jul 26, 2013 on Exclude dictionaries at Lavengro
I understand the point about adding letters, but why would "Pizzah", with just one extra "h", not be distinct from "Pizza"? Is "Psmith" the same as "Smith" legally?
Toggle Commented Mar 25, 2013 on Hhhey Thhhere at Fritinancy
You write: "Because precision and clarity are the standards of scientific writing, restricting your use of while and since to their temporal meaning is helpful." Do you have scientific (i.e. psycholinguistic) evidence that the ambiguity of while and since is harmful to precision and clarity, or that resolving it in favor of the temporal meaning is helpful to those goals? After all, there are thousands of words used in more than one sense in English. For example, gives no less than seven senses of the noun sense, comprising thirteen subsenses. Several of these are relevant to psychology. Do you restrict the use of the word sense to just one of these? If not, on what grounds do you single out while and since while ignoring sense?
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I think that most such misspellings are either trademark distinctiveness, as you note, or an attempt not to confuse customers. Laws often dictate that something called "Tom's Turnips" actually has to be made of turnips, but "Tyrnyps" would have no such regulations.
Toggle Commented Jul 29, 2011 on Chik'n Ain't Nothin' But a Word at Fritinancy
You are confusing transliteration, which is reversible and arbitrary, with transcription, which is language-specific. There are German, French, and English transcriptions of Russian that use (more or less) the conventions of German, French, and English; but the ISO-9/GOST system of transliteration is neither German, French, nor English, but purely a system whereby each Cyrillic letter (whether used in Russian or not) is given a precise Latin-script equivalent.
Toggle Commented May 10, 2011 on Reading Ada, or Ardor at Justin Erik Halldór Smith
Orson Scott Card's novella "The Originist" (available in the anthology Foundation's Friends and the collection Maps In A Mirror) contains the best description I've ever read of how an indexer's mind works, and what a _really_ good index can do for scholars. Start on p. 245 of Maps, or read the whole story; it's beautiful for many other reasons. Maps is available on Google Books at .
Deborah Tannen's The Argument Culture explains why people want to see these things as battles.
I believe this arises because people believe that there is one and only one correct way to say things, and likewise that this one way is written down someplace, and if not in The Style Book, then where?
"You have deliberately tasted two worms and you may leave Oxford by the town drain." --the Spoo himself, according to local legend
"Kill your darlings" may be good advice for beginning writers, because they often are attached to ornateness that serves no purpose. But here's Samuel Johnson, admittedly a very ornate writer even by the standards of an ornate century, defending his style with his usual common sense: "I [Boswell] read to him a letter which Lord Monboddo had written to me, containing some critical remarks upon the style of his Journey to the Western Islands of Scotland. His Lordship praised the very fine passage upon landing at Icolmkill; but his own style being exceedingly dry and hard, he disapproved of the richness of Johnson's language, and of his frequent use of metaphorical expressions. JOHNSON. 'Why, Sir, this criticism would be just, if in my style, superfluous words, or words too big for the thoughts, could be pointed out; but this I do not believe can be done. For instance; in the passage which Lord Monboddo admires, 'We were now treading that illustrious region,' the word illustrious, contributes nothing to the mere narration; for the fact might be told without it: but it is not, therefore, superfluous; for it wakes the mind to peculiar attention, where something of more than usual importance is to be presented. "Illustrious!"--for what? and then the sentence proceeds to expand the circumstances connected with Iona. And, Sir, as to metaphorical expression, that is a great excellence in style, when it is used with propriety, for it gives you two ideas for one;--conveys the meaning more luminously, and generally with a perception of delight.'" "More luminously and with a perception of delight." I like that.
Thanks, Patricia, that sounds more reasonable. Of course context matters too: newspaper copy editors are *expected* to catch and correct factual errors, as there's no time for anything else.
Patricia Bower: "Almost" every time? You are empowered to make changes in content over the objections of the author? In such cases you should put your name on the cover as well, so that you can share the blame if any of the statements in the book wind up being incorrect. Carol: What an unfortunate outcome, being left with a fear of the water. You have my every sympathy. You're quite right about panic, though. I've had lifesaving training (but never actually had to save any lives), and one thing emphasized repeatedly in training is that the person you are trying to help is very dangerous to you: in their panic, their hysterical strength (even a child's) can easily drown *you*. You either stay well out of their way (tow them by the hair, if they have any, or by the chin) or if you absolutely must use a body-to-body method like a cross-chest carry, make sure you can subdue the victim *completely*. What is more, even calm people (there is something called the "tired swimmer's carry" which is for people who have swum further than they should have) can tip over into panic at any time, so the lifesaver must remain constantly alert for this. In short, lifesaving is nothing like carrying smoke inhalation victims out of a burning building: it is a struggle between the lifesaver and the victim's disordered mind. Consequently, swimmers: if you don't have training, *stay out of the water*. Extend a hand from the shore, or whatever distance you can safely walk in. Throw a rope or a life preserver. Use a boat, if you have one and know how to use it (which includes knowing what to do when it is overturned -- most small boats will float upside down). But don't swim to rescue someone unless you know what you are doing. Two lives may be lost that way instead of one.
I think fairy 'homosexual', specifically 'effeminate male homosexual', is entirely relevant to the ad: its implication is not just that Real Men don't use smiley faces, but that they are transmogrified into fairies if they do.
Toggle Commented Jan 3, 2011 on Snowclones Happen at Fritinancy
From what I understand, the "conventional" system (which applies only to periods and commas; all other punctuation marks are everywhere written using the "logical" system) arose in the days of hand typesetting, when the thin pieces of type metal that held a period or comma could easily get misaligned following the closing quotation mark.
Toggle Commented Dec 8, 2010 on Making Sense of Style at Writer, Editor, Helper
"Do you ever wake up peppy [...]?" No, actually Ernie: "The law does not say that there are to be no cakes and ale, but there are to be no cakes and ale except such as are required for the benefit of the company." --Bowen LJ, Hutton v. West Cork Railway Co. "Dost thou think, because thou art virtuous, there shall be no more cakes and ale?" --Sir Toby Belch, Twelfth Night
Toggle Commented Nov 24, 2010 on Misunderstood at Writer, Editor, Helper
When I see an American using "whinge", I promptly whip out my whinger and demolish them.
Toggle Commented Nov 10, 2010 on True Crime in Copyediting at Writer, Editor, Helper
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Nov 10, 2010