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Watch your Language

Latest Watch your Language

Out of the mouths of children

As we continue to confront the consequences of the coronavirus and deal with the effects, humor is more important than ever. The following collection is ... Read more

4 days ago by Julia Palmer.

Fun with puns and signs

In the spirit of keeping things light and cheery, while keeping a keen eye on our language, today’s column is a hybrid of sorts. The ... Read more

1 month ago by Julia Palmer.

Some levity from church bulletin faux pas

Because we are living in strange and uncertain times, I thought I’d dedicate this column to bringing a smile to your face. The topic for ... Read more

2 months ago by Julia Palmer.

More bloopers

‘Tis the season not only for more bloopers but for unpleasant illnesses for students. I received an email from a student who needed something and ... Read more

6 months ago by Julia Palmer.

What’s in a word

A few weeks ago, a colleague in math, who is keenly aware of language patterns and inconsistencies, asked me “If fellow means man, is fellowship ... Read more

8 months ago by Julia Palmer.

Books about language

With all the back-to-school preparations and focus, this is a good time for a column dedicated to books about language and linguistics. One of the ... Read more

9 months ago by Julia Palmer.

Duel enrollment, large rolls and participation grapes

If you caught the last episode of “Call the Midwife” you might recall that Fred, the Nonnatus House gardener and handyman was worried he might ... Read more

12 months ago by Julia Palmer.

The formation of words

The study of the formation of words is morpohology. Morph is from the Greek meaning form or shape and in linguistics a morpheme is the ... Read more

1 year ago by Julia Palmer.

More from the Great British Baking Show

With the enormous popularity of the Great British Baking Show, the U.S. audience enjoys seeing the competition in preparation of challenging dishes and also hearing ... Read more

1 year ago by Julia Palmer.

Language bloopers

It’s time for another column on language bloopers, those unexpected and humorous misuses of words and phrases that leave us all chuckling. So, a few ... Read more

2 years ago by Julia Palmer.

Translation humor

This semester I’m teaching a class in translation from Spanish to English. One of the texts I enjoy consulting is Jack Child’s Introduction to Spanish ... Read more

2 years ago by Julia Palmer.

Toponymy, study of place names

Toponymy is the study of place names and this column explores some of the many interesting and unusual place names in the Commonwealth of Virginia. ... Read more

2 years ago by Julia Palmer.

Is everything tickety-boo?

It wasn’t too long ago that PBS broadcast a wonderful show from the BBC called “My Mother and other strangers.” The main character, a strongwilled ... Read more

2 years ago by Julia Palmer.

De Guatemala a Guatepeor – he and she used as object pronouns

Most of us are familiar with the unfortunate but now common error evident in phrases such as “between you and I” and “with her and ... Read more

2 years ago by Julia Palmer.

Excuse my Finnish!

When Clark Gable’s character delivered the line “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn” to Scarlett O’Hara in the movie version of Gone with ... Read more

2 years ago by Julia Palmer.

Words with multiple meanings

We are normally comfortable with the fact that a word, at any given time, may have multiple meanings. For example, club can mean “a heavy ... Read more

2 years ago by Julia Palmer.

That which troubles us…

From time to time readers contact me with grammar questions. Today’s column is dedicated to answering some of those letters. Dear Dr. Palmer, I don’t ... Read more

3 years ago by Julia Palmer.

Me, myself and I, oh my

Several of us refer to it as “administrator speech” and it is, unfortunately, becoming a little too common. I think that our rhetoric and composition ... Read more

3 years ago by Julia Palmer.

Needless repetition or necessary distinction?

I was having dinner with colleagues from my department recently when the topic of redundancy in language came up. One of my friends pointed out that ... Read more

3 years ago by Julia Palmer.

Vegetable word histories

Several vegetables common to our gardens come from the Latin word for cabbage “caulis.” Through a series of phonetic changes this Latin word came into ... Read more

3 years ago by Julia Palmer.

Myths that make monsters — Part IV

This is the fourth part in a series that challenges four fallacies or myths in our culture’s general perception of language and how it works ... Read more

3 years ago by Julia Palmer.

Myths that make monsters — Part III

This column is the third part in a series that challenges four fallacies or myths in our culture’s general perception of language and how it ... Read more

3 years ago by Julia Palmer.

Myths that make monsters — Part II

In a previous column, I started a discussion of myths that students often have about how language really works. These myths that students (and society ... Read more

3 years ago by Julia Palmer.

Myths that make monsters — Part I

A few years ago, I experienced something completely unexpected in a college classroom that continues to trouble me. I had been asked by a colleague to ... Read more

3 years ago by Julia Palmer.

A bouquet of flower and plant word histories

Many of the flowers commonly found in our gardens have word histories worthy of note. For example, the word daisy is from Old English doegeseage ... Read more

3 years ago by Julia Palmer.

I hate it when you say that!

Recently, my friend Linda and I were talking about language, specifically about language that gets on our nerves. Now I realize that variation or multiple ... Read more

3 years ago by Julia Palmer.

Is language change decay?

In order to be accurate, any description of language must always acknowledge two fundamental principles that are always operating in a language, and these are ... Read more

3 years ago by Julia Palmer.

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