I Could Care Less

xkcd does it again:

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When Not to Correct People’s English

No comment necessary…

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Internet Quotes: Langland on the Decline of English

I’ve come across the following quotation in a number of places, such as this article from The Economist:

There is not a single modern schoolboy who can compose verses or write a decent letter.

The quotation is attributed to William Langland, author of Piers Plowman, who died in 1386. The problem is that I could only find the quotation in modern translation and it sounds distinctly un-Middle Englishy, so I doubted that it was authentic. Because I could only find it in translation, tracking it down was difficult—it’s hard to search for a Middle English quotation if you don’t have the Middle English diction. It turns out that the quote is genuine, but it is a rather free translation.

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Publishing By the Numbers

Fivethirtyeight.com, Nate Silver’s website on polling, data, and statistics, has a podcast called What’s the Point? that recently delved into the use of data by book publishers. It’s a neat discussion about the industry and how publishers make decisions about whether or not to publish a book and how to market it if they do.

Finding Movie Quotations

Ever get a line from a movie stuck in your head but you can’t remember the film it’s from? Or you’ve got a twenty riding on a bar-bet about the accuracy of a TV quote?

Despair no more. The site QuoDB.com has the answers.

The site is a huge database of movie and television scripts, and it will pinpoint down to the second where in the film the quote appears. For instance, I looked up the word multi-pass:

01:09:24 Multi-pass.
The Fifth Element (1997)
01:09:18 - And this is?
01:09:21 - Leeloo Dallas. Multi-pass.
01:09:24 - Multi-pass.
01:09:25 - She knows it’s a multi-pass.
01:09:27 - My wife. We’re newlyweds. Just met.

The site tells me the word appears five other times in the film, and details on those are only a mouse-click away.

Definitely a site worth bookmarking.

[Tip o’ the hat to Languagehat]

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