Category Archives: Language

Gleanings From The Past #50

Some Poem Extracts Children dear, was it yesterday We heard the sweet bells over the bay? In the caverns where we lay, Through the surf and through the swell, The far-off sound of a silver bell? Sand-strewn caverns, cool and … Continue reading

Posted in Language, Poetry | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Not Lost In Translation: A Curious Language Anecdote

Vladimir Nabokov Vladimir Nabokov, in his 1962 novel Pale Fire, related a remarkable, albeit probably apocryphal, Russian language anecdote. The story went that a newspaper which covered the coronation ceremony of a Tsar “accidentally” misprinted “корона” (korona) (crown) as “ворона” (vorona) (crow). The … Continue reading

Posted in Anecdotes, Language, Oddities | Tagged , , , , , | 17 Comments

The Economist’s Blunder

Geoffrey K. Pullum On March 20, 1997, linguist Geoffrey K. Pullum sent the following letter to The Economist in response to the article regarding the Russian oil pipeline problems the newspaper published a week prior: Sir: “Connections needed” (March 15) … Continue reading

Posted in Language | Tagged , , , , | 8 Comments

Dream Of A Spelling-Bee

During the latter part of the nineteenth century, Spelling Bee competitions became popular in England. Punch magazine had several prose and illustrations which referenced this fad. One of them is the following nonsense verse titled “Dream of a Spelling-Bee” which the magazine … Continue reading

Posted in Language, Poetry | Tagged , , , | 12 Comments

Ambiguous Plurals

“Axes” is the plural of both ax and axis, and “bases” is the plural of both base and basis. Based on these observations, Willard Espy, in “A Plurality of Singular Verse”, Word Ways, Vol. 7, 1974, gave the following couple … Continue reading

Posted in Language, Poetry | Tagged , , , , , | 10 Comments

A Riddle That Might Make You Angry

Here’s a trivia. There are only two “common” words which end in “-gry”: angry and hungry. The puzzler named “Nightowl” mentioned the old “-gry” words riddle in her Rochester, New York, newsletter The Ag Mine, Mar. 1997: A local newspaper columnist found the first logical … Continue reading

Posted in Language, Puzzles | Tagged , , , , | 19 Comments

A Monstrous Hoax (And Anagrams)

The Flipper Photo In 1972, Sir Peter Scott, a British naturalist and a member of Loch Ness Phenomena Investigation Bureau, partook on an expedition that produced the “Flipper Photo”. The photo was allegedly an evidence that prove the existence of the … Continue reading

Posted in Language, Oddities | Tagged , , , , , , | 8 Comments