March 11, 2016
By Samantha Paige Rosen 'All issues are political issues, and politics itself is a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred, and schizophrenia," George Orwell declared in his 1946 essay "Politics and the English Language. " Concerned about the social implications of speech that isn't rooted in the concrete, Orwell laid out six rules to ensure that politicians and writers are as transparent in their language as possible. Avoiding clichés that obscure the real meaning of words and being precise ensure that language doesn't "corrupt thought.
January 12, 2016
Florence King, a writer who brought a fierce wit to her novels, essays, and columns, has died. Jack Fowler, publisher of the National Review and a longtime friend of Ms. King's, said she died Wednesday, a day after her 80th birthday, at an assisted-living home in Fredericksburg, Va. Ms. King was best known her National Review column, "The Misanthrope Corner," in which she humorously critiqued public figures and derided political correctness until...
June 16, 2013 |
In May 1918, with America embroiled in the First World War, Iowa's Gov. William Lloyd Harding dealt a blow against Germany. His Babel Proclamation - that was its title; you cannot make this stuff up - decreed: "Conversation in public places, on trains, and over the telephone should be in the English language. " The proscription included church services, funerals, and pretty much everything else. Iowa's immigrant communities that spoke Danish, Dutch, Norwegian, and French objected to this censorship of the languages of America's wartime allies.
July 1, 2012 |
By Christopher Lawler FOR THE INQUIRER When I announced to friends that I had booked a trip to Paris last summer, many responded with those old Francophobe prejudices: "Parisians are rude" or "The French don't like Americans. " I honestly don't get it. I never encountered a single impolite Parisian in the nine days I spent there. On the contrary, the locals were delightful and went out of their way to accommodate a couple of English-speaking tourists who made respectful (if laughable)
December 20, 2011 |
Rest assured, Stieg Larsson acolytes. One of the most important questions to be asked in the late Swedish author's mega-selling mystery The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo - the line "Do you want a coffee?" - makes it into David Fincher's movie. In fact, this beautifully taut and terrifying thriller is faithful to its source in just about every way that matters. Perhaps the opening title sequence - a kind of Mapplethorpe-meets-Bond S&M whir set to Karen O's urgent take of Led Zeppelin's "Immigrant Song" - is too much.
August 29, 2010
How the English Language Became the World's Language By Robert McCrum Norton. 312 pp. $26.95 Reviewed by Howard Shapiro To anyone who travels beyond the United States, it's not news that, for better or worse, English has become the world's language. No longer will people abroad automatically let you try out your French or Spanish or Japanese at the start of an everyday transaction in a restaurant, or shop, where your American-tinged tongue is more likely to draw an immediate English response, no questions asked.
February 7, 2010 |
This year marks the 60th anniversary of the death of perhaps the most influential English writer of the 20th century, Eric Arthur Blair, better known as George Orwell. Orwell died at the peak of his career with the sales of his most famous novel, Nineteen Eighty-Four (he always spelled out the title), published in June 1949, breaking records. That book and Animal Farm, published four years earlier, have sold more than 11 million copies each and continue to sell today. They made Orwell rich and famous while contributing memorable phrases to the English language: Big Brother, Newspeak, All animals are equal but some are more equal than others.
August 21, 2009 |
So you're an English major. What are you going to do with that? As an English major, I get this question all the time: "Oh, an English major. How - interesting! So what are you going to do with that? You know, there's not much money in Shakespeare!" I'm not aspiring to be the next timeless playwright or profound novelist or avant-garde poet, although these are the professions - along with teaching, which I lack the patience for - that are most closely associated with my major of choice.
November 1, 2007 |
IHAVE a distinct memory of a particular eighth-grade science class in junior high, circa 1976. When a buddy of mine was called on and asked to name the male and female genitalia, he quickly responded, "The penis and the Virginia. " That's stuck with me all these years. It's a reminder of the difficulty men of all ages have had in coming up with the proper name for what's in the female zone. (I think that's been since pre-historic times, but I'm not sure.) Funny how we've never had similar trouble with our own plumbing: pecker, johnson, shaft and rod always seem to do the trick just fine.
January 3, 2006
ON BEHALF of the foreign-born, legal, tax-paying, law-abiding Daily News readers, I apologize for Marlene Schaffer's letter (Dec. 27). I cannot fathom why she would be "offended" by a sign written in a language she cannot speak; if she would just read the signs written in English she'll do fine. Instead of being "appalled" by people speaking in their native language, she should be fascinated, and a little embarrassed; after all, those folks know two languages and can operate in two worlds.