Category Archives: Language

The Two-Toed & Three-Toed Tree Toads

A he-toad loved a she-toad That lived high in a tree. She was a two-toed tree toad But a three-toed toad was he. The three-toed tree toad tried to win The she-toad’s nuptial nod, For the three-toed tree toad loved … Continue reading

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“An Embryo Angler”

“Don’t waste your time on the branches small,” Said the farmer to his son, “But lay your axe at the root of the tree, So your work is sooner done.” Then, like a good and obedient boy, Not a word … Continue reading

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Profanity In Programming

Since Linux is an open source software, it’s inevitable that profanity would appear in the source code sooner or later. The site of Vidar Holen has a section that continuously tracks the number of curse words in the Linux kernel since … Continue reading

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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

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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

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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

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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 , , , | 15 Comments