Happy bookish birthdays (May 31) to…

Happy bookish birthdays (May 31) to…

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All aboard The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

2 Responses to “Happy bookish birthdays (May 31) to…”

  1. Lady Galaxy Says:

    I love Walt Whitman’s poetry, but my favorite piece is his essay, “Slang in America.” I think it should be required reading for all lovers of words and language. It begins with:
    “Viewed freely, the English language is the accretion and growth of every dialect, race, and range of time, and is both the free and compacted composition of all. From this point of view, it stands for Language in the largest sense, and is really the greatest of studies. It involves so much; is indeed a sort of universal absorber, combiner, and conqueror. The scope of its etymologies is the scope not only of man and civilization, but the history of Nature in all departments, and of the organic Universe, brought up to date; for all are comprehended in words, and their backgrounds. This is when words become vitaliz’d, and stand for things, as they unerringly and soon come to do, in the mind that enters on their study with fitting spirit, grasp, and appreciation.”
    You can find the whole essay online at many sources.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Lady!

      That one I’ll have to read at some point! I do love slang, and have thought quite a bit about the role of English. I loved this line from James Nicoll:

      “We don’t just borrow words; on occasion, English has pursued other languages down alleyways to beat them unconscious and rifle their pockets for new vocabulary.”

      Of course, it goes the other way, too…we almost force our words on other languages. Even in France, where they have practically legislated “proper” French, they use some English words. Part of that has been our dominance in tech (although certainly not all). Almost anywhere you go in the world, they program in English…well, computer languages based on English. I did think that was weird: when I was in high school, taking a computer language like Pascal counted towards your foreign language requirement. I took Russian. 🙂

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