Category Archives: English language

Turds!! – A college student pranque

According to WikipediA, this immage was gotten up and spread about by some Indiana University students many many years Ago (1890). For the better education of the students of to-day, it is transcribed below.

Contains offencive language.

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There ought to be a word for this

On the way to work, I pass through some areas where the rocky hills or mountains have been cut to provide a roadway. At these cuts or passes, the rough rock is exposed in faces on one or both sides of the road.

During warm weather, springs may be seen where the rock face is damped (usually it is a darker color). During colder weather, these flow onto the road and form ice in a little bar maybe 30 to 50 cm wide across the road.

There should be a short word to refer to these things that combines the elements of (ice) (on the road) (from a spring) (caused by earth removal). There must be such a word in some language that could be adapted, or adopted.

Checkbox v. dropdown

When I was applying for a position at, if I remember correctly, PSEG, I had to fill out a diversity form or two or three. I don’t have a problem with that.

I did notice this UI confusion though:

Nocheckboxes

Clearly that is a drop down menu. However I would note that check boxes would actually be improper here, since the options are mutually exclusive (check one). However, if they said “click on of the radio buttons” they would be probably confusing people who don’t know UI designers jargon.

Register shift in Civ III installer

In linguistics there is a term, register, for the formality level of speech or writing.

Installers or “Setup” programs – at least on the PC/Windows platform – are traditionally upper register, using formal terms. I suspect this is because the common installer making programs (InstallShield, WISE, etc.) supply most of the boilerplate text, such as the introduction page, the scary copyright warning and similar text.

One place that is left up to the person making the installer is the system components and requirements specification. For Civilization III (a good strategy game, by the way) the person responsible got a little loose:

Civ3install-megs

Spot it?

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More English reform: -ese to -eze

Months ago now I promised to explain why I spelled the demonym of China “Chineze”.

I suggest this as a simple way to bring spoken and written English closer together. So:

  • Chinese -> Chineze
  • Japanese -> Japaneze
  • Korean -> Korean
  • Congoese -> Congoleze (Both Congos)

…and so on.

Vietnamese is a special case and might be better changed to just “Viet”.

Unlocked v. Obtained

Question: Has anyone else ever wondered at the common term “achievement unlocked”? It is used in videogames to indicate a particularly noteworthy, interesting or difficult task has been successfully performed by the player. Heck there is even a series of games whose focus is nothing be obtaining (rather trivial) achievements. The first, and best in my opinion, is simply “Achievement Unlocked“.

To me, unlocking something (in a game) provides further functionality or ability. Achievements usually do neither, and are just a nice trophy to look at. Wouldn’t “obtained” or “earned” make more sense, since that is usually how trophies are gotten?

A bus from “shicagoe”

My grand mother’s house is full of discarded teaching and educational methods and trends from her decades of working in a public school. One of them is a stack of little books written in the “Initial Teaching Alphabet“, which was sortof a quasi-reformed spelling and writing style to help children learn English without reference to the obnoxious spelling of English. It has evidently faded out of any practical use.

Here is the book cover in question:

busfromshicagoe

If anyone is interested, I will scan the rest of it (it’s a small, short book) and provide comments on it.

An odd type of tax return and an old novel

Some time ago on Guternberg I tried to read “The Boarding School” but it turned into a very sour-reading morality tract.

I had forgotten the name of the book and tried to remember some choice phrase that would bring it up in Googlewhacking. Eventually, I found it from remembering the word “botanizing” being used. It was on page 44:

“Botanizing, my dear! I fear you require light upon the subject; if there is any rare, very curious plant, give it the name of ‘Caroline Vincent,’ unless you prefer ‘the Spy detected.’”

But before that I tried to remember this passage (page 26):

When Miss Vincent entered the music-room to receive her first lesson, with haughty indifference she seated herself at the piano, and in a careless manner began a voluntary.

I, for some reason, had misremembered the expression used; searching for “noisy voluntary” turned up… tax law! It turns out that there is such a thing as a “noisy voluntary” when you admit to a past tax evasion and openly ask the criminal investigators at the IRS (This is in the United States) if you’re clear now.

To me, a “noisy voluntary” sounds like a shart in an office toilet that gets magnified by the hard surface walls and floors, but I have an immature sense of humor.