The name “Republican”

trump

Donald Trump, presumptive nominee of the Republican Party for President of the U.S.

To mark the start of the Republican National Convention, which starts tomorrow in Cleveland, Ohio, Glossophilia takes a look at the origins of the name of the party formed 162 years ago, as well as its nickname, “GOP”.  Continue reading

An EU primer: the European Union, its predecessors, and other Euro communities

Should they stay or should they go? This week, the British electorate will vote in a referendum deciding whether or not the United Kingdom will withdraw from the European Union. It wasn’t always called the European Union, though; some of us remember the EEC and other acronyms describing various European communities. Glosso refreshes our memories. Continue reading

Spot the curious mistake

image

Can you see the curious mistake* in this tag on a popular lunch bag? (And I’m not referring to the headline-case caps; you can read more about cap styling at this earlier Glosso post.)

At the risk of giving away the answer, Glosso finds it slightly strange that it looks like the error of a non-native English-speaker who is spelling phonetically a word pair (and a curious choice of words at that), and the phonetic translation only works if it’s pronounced with a British accent — but the company that produces the lunch bag is U.S.-based. Go figger.

Answers on a postcard please

* Well, Glosso assumes it’s a mistake

*   *   *

Disruptive, and its disruptive new meaning

disruption

In an article last month in the Sunday Times, Robert Lea discussed “How society learns to love ‘disruptive technologies’.”  “When Amazon emerged to turn retailing on its head, when Uber landed to spell the end of cab-hailing as we know it, no one described them as “disruptive technologies”. Now everyone, apparently, is a disrupter or being disrupted. But is it, initially, obvious what a disruptive technology is?” Well that depends a bit on how well you understand the new meaning of the word disruptive, doesn’t it? Continue reading

TGIF: That Gerund Is Funky (June 10)

trump

TGIF: That Gerund Is Funky. In usage and grammar news this month: Trump is unaware of the hottest portmanteau of the year; a very sinister punctuation trend; Roald Dahl’s weird words get their own dictionary; a grammar mistake on a London Transport ad (can you spot it?); Texan Republicans either believe that most Texans are gay, or they just can’t string a sentence together; the name of a famous bridge has been spelled wrong for more than five decades; a comedian lands herself in trouble with a mispronunciation; and some awesome Bachelorette malapropisms. (And if you’re not sure what a portmanteau or malapropism is, check out Glosso’s earlier post here.)

*   *   *   *

As became apparent in a Hollywood Reporter piece at the beginning of the month, presidential wannabe Donald Trump seemed to be unaware of the most famous political portmanteau of 2016, which is on the lips of most Brits — especially during this month of the EU nation’s historic referendum. At one point during a lengthy interview with Michael Wolff, the Donald was asked what he thought about the two-syllable word that’s currently dividing the UK into warring factions: “And Brexit?” Woff asked. “Your position?” … Trump: “Huh?” … Wolff: “Brexit”. Trump: “Hmmm.”

*   *   *   *

“Over the past few days, Twitter users may have noticed an increase in the number of fellow users who have surrounded their names with ((( ))). The symbols appear harmless enough but have become controversial after an investigation revealed that they were being used by a small minority of white supremacists to target Jewish writers with anti-Semitic abuse.” The BBC reports on this disturbing punctuation trend.

*   *   *   *

“It’s an error that has loomed over New York Harbor for more than 50 years: The name of the majestic Verrazano-Narrows Bridge is spelled wrong. Despite a new petition drive to make it right — the bridge is named for 16th-century Italian explorer Giovanni da Verrazzano (two Z’s) — the state authority that controls the span has stubbornly held to the one Z position it’s taken for years: We know it’s wrong, but we’re not changing it.” New York’s Daily News has the full story.

*    *    *    *

Can you spot the grammatical error in this TfL (London’s public transport) advertisement?

tfl ad

Clue: it’s a singular mistake. The Evening Standard has the full story.

*   *   *   *

“A Texas-based LGBT advocacy helped spark a grammar debate … over whether an errant comma in the stridently anti-homosexual Republican Party of Texas platform can be read as saying the majority of Texans are gay. … “Homosexuality is a chosen behavior that is contrary to the fundamental unchanging truths that has been ordained by God in the Bible, recognized by our nations founders, and shared by the majority of Texans.” I’m not so sure it’s an errant comma that causes the confusion, as Reuters reports; isn’t it those two “that”s and those plural “truths” with a singular “has” that make the whole statement incomprehensible?

*   *   *   *

According to the UK’s Independent, a woman from Georgia is suing Ellen DeGeneres after the comedian and chat show host mispronounced the litigant’s name on daytime TV. “Titty Pierce” was the name DeGeneres sounded out as she poked fun at the estate agent’s advertisement in her segment “What’s Wong With These Ads…. and These Signs?”. Pierce, 35, insisted in the lawsuit that her name is pronounced “Tee Tee … as grammar dictates”. Maybe she means spelling. Either way, it’s a shame she wasn’t just called Mildred.

*   *   *   *

“Roald Dahl was the master wordsmith who wrote some of the nation’s most memorable children’s books. To mark 100 years since his birth, almost 8,000 of the phrases he used in his novels are going to be published in a special dictionary. The BBC asked some of his biggest fans in Manchester what they thought of his language.” See the video here.

*   *   *   *

And finally, 10 awesome malapropisms from the season premiere of ABC’s The Bachelorette, courtesy of Mashable.