Track Your Dialect

The New York Times recently published a little quiz that can tell where you grew up based on your answers to questions regarding the words and phrases you feel comfortable using.

You can see below, the quiz nailed where I grew up in Western New York.

You can take the quiz here. Let us know how it does.

More Fodder for the Oxford Comma Lovin’ Grammar Nazis 

The Oxford comma (aka the “serial comma”) is the comma before the conjunction introducing the last item in a series. It is usually considered optional, but don’t tell that to some people who insist on using it. They brag about it, as if they are some sort holier than though comma prophets.

Well, as if they needed anything more to go on and on and on and on and on about, a court in Maine awarded 75 dairy drivers $75 million dollars because an Oxford comma was missing from a state law.

“For want of a comma, we have this case,” Judge David Barron wrote in his decision. “… As it happens, there is no serial comma to be found in the exemption’s list of activities, thus leading to this dispute over whether the drivers fall within the exemption from the overtime law or not.”

You can read all about it at Missing Oxford comma changes court ruling – – Columbia, South Carolina

Grammar Police

As a public service, Agent X and Agent Full Stop prowl the streets of Quito Ecuador under the dark of night. Their mission? to rid the the city’s graffiti of grammar errors.

from Boing, Boing.

Speaking correct order of words, Yoda is.

When Yoda loses his word structures, he suddenly sounds more like a self-important jerk than a Jedi Master.

Speaking Correct Order of Words Yoda Is from MechaStewart on Vimeo.

Emoji Dick!

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you Emoji Dick. I know what you’re thinking: “What you just said cannot possibly mean what I think it means.” A Ha! But it is exactly what you’re thinking. Mr. Fred Benenson has decided to translate Herman Melville’s Moby Dick into emoji language and opened a Kickstarter account to get the project started.

“But why?!’ You may ask. “Why in the name of all that is good and right in this world would someone choose to do this?!”

Emoji are either a low point or a high point in that story, so I felt I could confront a lot of our shared anxieties about the future of human expression (see: Twitter or text messages) by forcing a great work of literature through such a strange new filter.

You can see more at  Emoji Dick by Fred Benenson — Kickstarter.

This post, by the way, is via Gretchen McCulloch‘s series on Mental Floss that discusses internet linguistics. In fact, McCulloch provides some excellent discussion of “internet language” on her web site that might serve as source material if you are researching the use of language on social media.