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Posts Tagged ‘language’

Book art by Anagram Bookshop

In the previous post, I asked you to reply in the comments with your favorite words and phrases.  This time, the focus will be a bit more negative, as we consider the language that we hate—our logomisia, if you will.  Like linguaphilia, logomisia is created from two roots: logos, Greek for “word,” and misia, Greek for “hatred” or “disgust for.”  After reading Orwell, Nunberg, and Wallace, you should have a sense of the way language mutates, shifts, and sometimes declines; now it’s your turn to chime in, although the chime might be more of a clarion (or perhaps the bell that this guy is ringing).  After the jump, a few ways to situate yourself before replying.

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Love of language...

It’s time for the language portion of our Language and Composition course to take center stage.  Or as the first of Orwell’s rules might have me rewrite that, it’s time for language to enter the scene and chew a little scenery.  We start with linguaphilia, a word formed from the Latin lingua,”tongue” or “language,” and phila, “dear” or “beloved.”  It means a love of language, of words and phrases, of how we strings together letters and sounds to make meaning—and it is the subject of your next discussion.

Let’s start with the background reading.  This topic isn’t new, after all, and I’ve already given you in this post the first (and arguably most influential) modern treatment of it: George Orwell’s 1946 essay “Politics and the English Language.” We’ll spend time with this in class, and it will inevitably shape how you scavenge in the speech and writing around you for words and phrases.  You’ve also read Geoffrey Nunberg’s “The Decline of Grammar,” a lengthier argument from 1983 that explores the same issues.  After the jump, you’ll find a regular plethora (as opposed to an irregular plethora?) of links to more perspectives, plus your first assignment.

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