Friday, May 26, 2006


Words are music

I think that I have never heard
A tree as lovely as a word.

I first wrote that brief take-off on Joyce Kilmer many years ago. I've always loved words. I like the way they sound (and see Monty Python's "woody/tinny words" sketch). I like looking at where they come from and how they've changed over time. I like the nuances of different words with similar meanings — and I'm sad when words lose their nuances as they change through misuse (consider "enormity", for example).

Along that last line, it'll surprise no one who reads these ramblings regularly (I also like alliteration) that it's important to me to use the right words, and to put them together correctly — "correctly" in terms of standard rules (of grammar and usage), and also "correctly" in terms of conveying clearly what I want to say, and doing it in a way that may hope to keep the reader's interest.

Yesterday, a friend put me onto the web site of SPOGG, the Society for the Promotion of Good Grammar, an informal "society" that you may "join" by subscribing to their newsletter (which I have done). There's also an associated blog; unfortunately its atom feed (append "atom.xml" to the URL) iswas broken, and the feed readers I use won'twouldn't swallow it (but see below; it's fixed). [For the geeks: I've seen the specific problem before. It often shows up when one tries to paste text from Word into Blogspot, which seems to result in inconsistent use of XML namespaces.]
Update (11:15): I sent them a note, and they've fixed the feed, so it works now.

Joe: The Boss paid me quite a compliment this morning!
Sue: That's great! What did she say?
Joe: She said I'm the most pedantic person she's ever met.
Sue: Uh, that's a compliment?
Joe: It is if you're a pedant.

No comments: