Tag Archive: english

Things America Does Really Well

At least there’s something.

Contrary to what many a Grammar Nazi the world over would have you believe, language is constantly evolving, occasionally extremely rapidly, and there is nothing wrong with that, despite such individuals lamenting that fact pretty much as long as we have documented reference of people discussing language.

An introduction to the ‘Original Pronunciation’ production of Shakespeare and what they reveal about the history of the English language.

The Zipf Mystery

Vsauce explains Zipf’s Law:

In any writing, the most frequently used word will occur approximately twice as often as the second most frequent word, three times as often as the third most frequent word, etc.: the rank-frequency distribution is an inverse relation. For example, in American English text, the word “the” is the most frequently occurring word, and by itself accounts for nearly 7% of all word occurrences (69,971 out of slightly over 1 million). True to Zipf’s Law, the second-place word “of” accounts for slightly over 3.5% of words (36,411 occurrences), followed by “and” (28,852). Only 135 words are needed to account for half the English language.

“Word Crimes”

“Weird Al” Yankovic has released a music video for his song “Word Crimes”, a parody of the song “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke. The video skewers terrible grammar while obviously spoofing Thicke’s video. The song is off Yankovic’s new album, Mandatory Fun.

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