Just appropriating my wife’s computer for a moment to thank everyone for their kind words yesterday on the anniversary and the move. My own computer is not yet set up, and I’m pretty beat from putting up bookshelves and shelving books (and discovering, as I do every move, that I’ve put the shelves at the wrong heights and have to rejigger them while keeping the books I’ve already put on them from sliding off and causing me to curse even more loudly), so I’ll go pass out now. I hope to be back to regular posting before too long, but tomorrow we’re helping my mother-in-law move to assisted living (yes, it all happens at once in the world of Languagehat!), so the rebound may not be immediate.
Oh, but before I go: be sure and read Erin McKean’s guest column in last Sunday’s NY Times Magazine. Why can’t they just send Safire off to a hard-earned retirement and give her the gig on a permanent basis? It’s a pleasure to read someone who knows what she’s talking about and says such interesting things. If you thought “corpus” was a dry concept, think again. The things you can learn from a corpus!


  1. One thing, then another, then another. I hope for you courage and fortitude. And a nice cold beer.

  2. Erin McKean is indeed, wonderful.
    Herdin’ cats ‘n all.

  3. Glad to hear the move was not too taxing, LH. It sounds like you’ve definitely earned a beer, but.
    The McKean piece was a great read, thanks. I loved the mixed metaphors:
    “A corpus is like a photograph of the language or, better yet, a satellite image. When you look at the language from 500 miles up, you see information that was simply not accessible from your previous perspective…”
    “…using the O.E.C. as a microscope to show us patterns in language that aren’t visible to the naked eye…”
    That just goes to show what a versatile visualisation tool the corpus is, I suppose 🙂

  4. Thanks for the link to McKean’s article! I’m very keen to find out more about the corpus and why the pages about it on the Ask Oxford site consistently omit NZ English from the list of variants included, I’m also wondering if I was the only one who thought that McKean was incorrect to assert that “Obviously what goes south *must* come north”. (e.a.) I guess she was thinking of birds, but I read it thinking of people, in the definition listed first in the OED, which definition does not include any element of inevitable return to the start point of the migration.

  5. am also “shelving” my book here… on my site
    check out new
    – intro to my UMA
    – The City (original, out of print edition/copy
    sent to Cid Corman w afterward (letter) from
    Carl Rakosi
    – Restoration Poems 1972 2007 w preface/letters to me from Cid Corman
    cheers, Ed Baker

  6. Congrats on the anniversary and welcome to the Connecticut Valley, a.k.a. in the Commonwealth as the Pioneer Valley. Maybe you can figure out why it is so called!

  7. NZ English? Sweet as!

  8. Kiwi English is choice hey bro.

  9. Ms McKean also has a blog about dictionarity.

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