NBC Pronunciation Guide
Ben Trawick-Smith of the Dialect Blog has found a copy of The NBC Handbook of Pronunciation from over fifty years ago. It’s an interesting nugget. I didn’t know that American broadcasters had such guides, but I shouldn’t be surprised.
Why Eminem is one of the most impressive lyricists ever
The title of this YouTube video is rather hyperbolic, but it makes a pretty persuasive case and gives a succinct lesson in how rhyme works in poetry along the way.
(Tip o’ the hat to Elisa Tersigni)
Ed Smith over at the New Statesman has a rather good criticism of Orwell’s famous essay “Politics and the English Language.” Orwell’s essay is often trotted out as justification for grammatical prescriptivism, probably because of the six simple rules for good writing that Orwell promulgates. It is only second to Strunk and White’s Elements of Style in this regard. Of course, neither Orwell or the prescriptivists realize that Orwell himself runs roughshod over his rule #4, “Never use the passive where you can use the active.” In the essay Orwell uses the passive voice in about twenty percent of his sentences, while most writers of his era used it in only about ten percent. It seems that Orwell (Strunk and White, too, but that’s another story) didn’t know what the passive voice is, or at least wasn’t very good at spotting it in his own writing.
But Smith skips the grammatical skirmishes and drives a knife into the heart of Orwell’s argument that plain English inherently makes for clearer communication:Read the rest of the article...
Grammar of Newspaper Headlines
Newspaper headlines are a dialect of English in their own right. They don’t operate under the same grammatical and stylistic rules that normal prose does. In a brief post on the Lingua Franca blog, Allan Metcalf outlines the basic rules that govern headline writing.
I’ve never seen these rules codified before. It’s kind of neat.
Beowulf MS Now Online
The British Library has put the Beowulf manuscript on line. Beowulf starts on folio 132r. The library’s announcement is here.
The manuscript, London, British Library, Cotton Vitellius A.xv, contains two separate codices that have been bound together. The first, the Southwick Codex, occupies the first ninety-three folios. The Beowulf manuscript, also known as the Nowell Codex after sixteenth century antiquarian Laurence Nowell who owned it at one point, follows on 94r and contains five Old English works, a life of St. Christopher, a description of the Wonders of the East, Alexander’s Letter to Aristotle, and two poems, Beowulf and a verse translation of the book of Judith. The date of the composition of Beowulf is unknown, but the manuscript, the only surviving copy of the poem, was copied c. 1010 C.E.
The manuscript was badly damaged in a 1731 fire at the aptly named Ashburnam House. As a result, the manuscript pages have been bound in paper frames to prevent further deterioration.
Copyright 1997-2014, by David Wilton