Monday, February 21, 2005

Link roundup

James Kilpatrick's language column is on "portmanteau sentences" (what I've also heard referred to as "suitcase sentences." Here's an example from the New York Times:
Survivors of the gigantic undersea earthquake on Sunday that swallowed coastlines from Indonesia to Africa -- which officials now describe as one of the worst natural disasters in recent history -- recovered bodies on Tuesday, hurriedly arranged for mass burials and searched for tens of thousands of the missing in countries thousands of miles apart.
He doesn't have much in the way of solutions (separate or cut!), but the examples are fun.

William Safire's On Language column talks about "prebuttal" and uses it to launch into our use of "pre" more than "ante" these days. (There's good reason: Look at antewar and antiwar.)

Bill Walsh writes at Blogslot that it's "dis" and not "diss" when you're disrespecting your running crew. But the back formation of "tamales" (plural for tamal) into the singular tamale can stand -- at least in English.

The Numbers Guy column at the Wall Street Journal takes a look at some economic stats to show that canceling the NHL season isn't going to cripple the Canadian economy as much as some have predicted. He offers a good lesson at separating numbers from hype.


At 9:05 AM, February 23, 2005, Anonymous polyglot conspiracy said...

I've never heard of "portmanteau sentences," only "portmanteau words" (like rockumentary). The use of "portmanteau" is different in the two cases, which is interesting. Also, I wonder how Kilpatrick feels about semicolons; are they an answer to the muddle, or do they only create more, like parentheses or em dashes?


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