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In Next Month's TVR



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Richard Burnett Carter

Richard Burnett Carter
When children are old enough to commit follies that make others swear at them, they are at that very moment old enough to begin learning how to swear competently at someone else's foolishness. But our younger contemporaries have never gotten the hang of the thing. Their cussing is dully unimaginative — drawing as it does almost exclusively on body parts and functions — and so I've been tempted over the years to take a few minutes with each of my classes to discuss the art of expressing civilly displeasure with persons, places, and things.


Mark Halpern

Mark Halpern
Several times within recent months, kindly correspondents and critics, worried about my persistently reactionary and unenlightened attitudes toward language, have recommended a course of reading that would help me recover. The most frequently mentioned and praised of the books prescribed for me were a collection of essays by various authors titled Language Myths (Bauer & Trudgill 1998) and a monograph titled Language Change: Progress or Decay? (Aitchison 2001). I have now read them — at least as much as seemed relevant — and find myself not only unredeemed by the experience, but more confirmed, if possible, in my benighted views. I find the writings that were supposed to instruct and enlighten me had just the opposite of the effect they were supposed to have, and have even given me fresh reason to reject the views of the linguistic orthodoxy of the day.


Michael J. Sheehan

Michael J. Sheehan
You slide into the passenger seat of a car, and your friend waits patiently while you fiddle with the seatbelt. The metal buckle to your right is incredibly elusive; you must grope repeatedly until your fingers close around it. Even when you find it, the retractor lets you pull the belt only part way to its goal, requiring you to seesaw repeatedly until you feel as if you're getting a workout on a demented weight machine. The receptacle latch is hidden between the seats somewhere to your left, and it defiantly refuses to reward you with that soul-satisfying click. You, my friend, are engaged in unholy kolymachy [Gr. koly, restrain or inhibit + machy, battle], and the driver's patience will undoubtedly give out before your heaving chest is finally strapped in.



The May issue of The Vocabula Review is due online May 20.


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