Tags: language

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The Languages Which Almost Were CSS - Eager Blog

A wonderful deep dive into the history of styling languages before CSS. I love spelunking down these internet history potholes—fascinating stuff!

Bad Character - The New Yorker

A fascinating thought experiment from Ted Chiang:

So let’s imagine a world in which Chinese characters were never invented in the first place. Given such a void, the alphabet might have spread east from India in a way that it couldn’t in our history, but, to keep this from being an Indo-Eurocentric thought experiment, let’s suppose that the ancient Chinese invented their own phonetic system of writing, something like the modern Bopomofo, some thirty-two hundred years ago. What might the consequences be?

BBC Blogs - Internet Blog - BBC UX&D on creating a GEL foundation for everyone

Al runs through the process of updating GEL—the BBC’s Global Experience Language design system. I particularly like the thought that’s gone into naming type sizes.

what3words | Addressing the world

In this English language alternative to latitude and longitude coordinates, the Clearleft office is located at:

cross.rooms.quick

English as she is spoke

This is truly a book apart.

The Pain With No Name · An A List Apart Article

This rousing call-to-arms by Abby the IA makes a great companion piece to her interview on The Big Web Show.

VerbalExpressions/JSVerbalExpressions

Regular expressions are my kryptonite so I can definitely imagine using the PHP port of this plain English syntax.

Simplified JavaScript Jargon

An A-Z of JavaScript jargon (although some of the “explanations” could do with de-jargonifying themselves).

Translating Gender: Ancillary Justice in Five Languages Alex Dally MacFarlane | Interfictions Online

A fascinating look into the challenges encountered translating Anne Leckie’s excellent Radchaai novels into Bulgarian, German, Hebrew, Japanese, and Hungarian.

What is clear in all of these responses is that by examining the notions of ‘neutral’ and ‘feminine’ in grammar and gender through the lens of translation, we reveal their complexity – and some of their possible futures in languages, in both literature and speech.

A Good Writer Is a Good Thinker

The web – by its very nature – foregrounds the connections between different clusters of knowledge. Links link. One article leads to another. As you make the journey from destination to destination, all inevitably connected by that trail of links, you begin to tease out understanding.

It’s this drawing together, this weaving together of knowledge, that is the important part. Your journey is unique. The chances of another pursuing the same path, link by link (or book by book), is – statistically – impossible. Your journey leads you to discovery and, through reflection, comprehension. You see the connections others haven’t, because your journey is your own.

The Language of Modular Design · An A List Apart Article

Alla has taken the ideas she presented in her superb talk at Responsive Day Out and published them as a great article in A List Apart.

Use the words normal people use

When you’re struggling to write something that sounds clear and sounds human (two of the essential basics of a good blog post, I’d argue), just use the words normal people would use. The best way to find out what those words are is to try talking the thing through to someone who doesn’t know anything about it. Remember what you just said, then write that.

Nicole Fenton | Interface Writing: Code for Humans

The text of Nicole’s excellent talk on writing helpful, human microcopy.

Bruce Lawson’s personal site  : The misadventures of my meteorological nipples

Truly great literature not only tells us more about the human condition, it also tells us more about ourselves and does so in a beautiful way that changes us forever more.

So anyway, this is about Bruce’s nipples.

Writing for everyone.

Slides of really great practical advice on writing clearly.

Egyptology can help us future-proof our culture – Grayson Clary – Aeon

A look at long-term cultural and linguistic preservation through the lens of Egyptology.

Silicon Valley Job Title Generator

This could come in useful for updating the Clearleft website.

MORNING, COMPUTER | Warren Ellis on Pacific Daylight Time

If you were in any doubt that Warren Ellis is going to blow the roof off the Brighton Dome at dConstruct, this is what happens when he decides to write a little something every day.

Let’s Talk About RTL

Some very handy techniques for working with right-to-left text.

Guy Walks Into a Bar - The New Yorker

If you’re going to check out the New Yorker’s nice new responsive site, might I suggest you start here?

Anti-Net-Neutrality “Fast Lanes” Are Bullshit – Marco.org

An astute takedown of the political language in a New York Times article.

George Lakoff would be proud.

Avoiding ‘words to avoid’ | Inside GOV.UK

I love the thinking behind this plugin that highlights the weasel words that politicians are so found of.

Hemingway

A useful text editor that analyses your writing for excess verbiage and sloppy construction. It helps you process your words, as it were.

furbo.org · The Origin of Tweet

A fascinating bit of linguistic spelunking from Craig Hockenberry, in which he tracks down the earliest usage of “tweet” as a verb relating to Twitter.

Basically, it’s all Blaine’s fault.

xkcd: Syllable Planning

This is called expletive infixation.

I’ll always remember the “Phila-fucking-delphia” example from Steven Pinker’s The Language Instinct:

If you said “Philadel-fucking-phia”, you’d be laughed out of the pool hall.

Poll Results: “Sites” vs “Apps” | CSS-Tricks

Some excellent research from Chris, canvassing opinions on whether there’s a difference between web “apps” and web “sites”. His conclusion:

Almost none of the points above ring true for me. All I see are exceptions and gray area.

If nothing else, the fact that none of the proposed distinctions agree with one another show how pointless the phrase “web app” is—if people have completely differing ideas on what a phrase means, it is completely useless in furthering discussion …the very definition of a buzzword.

This leads me to think perhaps the “web app” moniker (certainly the newer of the two) is simply just a fashionable term. We like the sound of it, so we use it, regardless if it truly means anything.

But all of this is, I think, missing the more important point: why? Why would you want to separate the cornucopia of the web into two simplistic buckets? What purpose does it serve? That’s the question that really needs be answered.

If we could pin down a super accurate definition that we agreed on, even then it might not be particularly useful. And since we can’t, I argue it’s even less useful.

The most accurate (and damning) definition of a “web app” that I’ve heard so far is: a web site that requires JavaScript to work.

Long Term Web Semantics on Infrequently Noted

Alex starts with a bit of a rant about the phrase “semantic HTML”, which should really just be “well-written HTML, but there then follows some excellent thoughts on the emergence of meaning and the process of standardising on vocabularies.

STET

From the lovely people behind Editorially comes STET:

A Writers’ Journal on Culture & Technology

Benedict Cumberbatch Name Generator

I bet you’re going to just keep clicking and clicking and clicking…

A Timeline made with Timeglider, web-based timeline software

Improve your word power: here’s a timeline of terms used to describe male genitalia throughout history. And yes, there is a female equivalent.

ANAGRAMATRON

There’s something quite lovely about this: pairs of tweets that are anagrams of one another.

Tech companies that only hire men

Job postings that only use male pronouns.

See, this is why using “they”, while technically incorrect, can often be the least worst option.

Life & Thyme

Good writing. Good design. Good food.

Notes on remixing Noon, generative text and Markov chains

Jeff Noon and Markov chains—a heavenly match by Dan.

The Aleph: Infinite Wonder / Infinite Pity

Just like in the Borges short story, you can now see everything at once …from Project Gutenberg, or from Twitter, or from both.

This may be the only legitimate use case for (truly) infinite scrolling.

Not click. Not tap. Select. : Cennydd Bowles

Cennydd uses the word “select” as an input-neutral term for what we might be tempted to call clicks or taps. Personally, I like the term “choose”, although that word might have too much intent bundled with it.

Execution in the Kingdom of Nouns by Steve Yegge

A classic of writing on the fundamental differences between programming languages.

Interview with Lauren Beukes about Shining Girls

Lauren talks about The Shining Girls and the tools she uses to write with.

To Be Today

A beautiful project from Brendan and the Royal Shakespeare Company: the headlines of today preceded by quotes from The Bard.

The Panasonic Toughpad Press Conference - LOOK, ROBOT

Now this is what I call tech reporting.

The women leave the stage, wet computer in hand, and a new man takes the stage. He plays a schmaltzy video where Portuguese children teach adults to use Windows 8 accompanied by a hyperloud xylophone soundtrack that slices through my hangover like cheesewire though lukewarm gouda.

Why you should say HTML classes, CSS class selectors, or CSS pseudo-classes, but not CSS classes - Tantek

I love that Tantek is as pedantic as I am …although I don’t think “pedantic” is exactly the right word.

If Hemingway wrote JavaScript by fat xxx

This is a rather lovely way to show that in JavaScript, as in Perl, there’s always more than one way to skin a cat (in whatever idiom you prefer).

The Kitschies present… Beukes, Miéville and Ness

An evening with Lauren Beukes, China Miéville and Patrick Ness in London the week after dConstruct. Sounds like fun!

[Guest post] Growing up in words « Sarah Ditum

Kids say the mindblowingest things.

Rosetta on Vimeo

A beautiful short film about The Long Now Foundation’s Rosetta Project.

Copywriting: a life-saving kit.

This is so good. On father’s day, Harry asks his father, an award-winning copywriter, for advice on writing. The result is an knowledge bomb of excellent advice.

The Truth About the East Wind

This is a terrific piece of writing from Robin Sloan, entertaining and cheeky. Plug in headphones, and start reading and scrolling.

The East Wind was about to get a call from an angry star.

What’s in a Name? | The Intercom Blog

The hitherto unnoticed connection between the names of Android phones and the names of condoms.

russell davies: SXSW, the new aesthetic and writing

Russell was the final panelist to speak at the New Aesthetic South by Southwest tour-de-force, taking a look at how our relationship to text is being changed.

scott_lynch: Against Big Bird, The Gods Themselves Contend In Vain

It turns out that Big Bird is a god-defying instantiation of Moorcock’s Eternal Champion. Magnificent!

Big Bird and Snuffy go with him to stand in the Hall of Two Truths at the gate to the afterlife. The gigantic foam balls on these guys! Sure, Elmo loves you, but when’s the last time Elmo held anyone’s hand on the threshold of eternal night?

ishida >> blog » HTML5 adds new translate attribute

Richard gives the lowdown on the new translate attribute in HTML.

One Div Zero: A Brief, Incomplete, and Mostly Wrong History of Programming Languages

A genuinely amusing alternative history of programming languages.

Wat — Destroy All Software Talks

This cracked me up. There are two possibilities: either this is really is very funny or I am very nerdy.

College Misery: Henchminion Sends In the Tale of “The Magna Carta Essay!”

A trojan horse for plagiarised college papers, much like the fakery on maps (“Lie Close”, “Arlington”) and in dictionaries; traps to be sprung on the hapless copy’n’paster.

Babies and the Bathwater | Contents Magazine

Mandy’s inaugural article for Contents Magazine is a wonderful piece of thinking and writing.

Enjoy reading this.

Choosing the Right Words – Web Intents — Glenn Jones

Glenn has written up the discussion that followed his UXCampBrighton talk on web actions.

Editing tips for designers : Cennydd Bowles

Good writing advice from Cennydd.

Metaphors we Program By: Space, Action and Society in Java

Linguistics and programming collide in this paper from the 18th Workshop of the Psychology of Programming Interest Group, University of Sussex, September 2006: Lakoffian analysis of the mental models of Java programmers.

Of Sites and Apps « James Pearce

James attempts to tackle the thorny question of what makes something a web “app” (rather than a web “site”). It reminds of the infamous definition of obscenity:

I know it when I see it.

In short, the answer to the question “what is a web app?” is “fuck knows.”

The shape of our future book — Satellite — Craig Mod

Craig has written down his dConstruct talk, the one that completely polarised opinion. Personally, I loved it.

shitty portmanteaux

Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse than “webinar.”

Being is a Verb | Necessary Trouble

Some great thoughts on the language of the web.

Beautiful Swear Words

A swear word a day, typeset.

>> blog » html5′s new bdi element

An excellent explanation from Richard of the bdi element (bi-directional isolate) for handling a mixture of left to right and right to left languages in HTML5.

The Elements of Fucking Style

Use strong, definite language in your writing. Make that sentence your bitch.

Frank Chimero’s Blog - The Storm and The Line

A beautiful dose of perspective from Frank.

Lightweight Computing – Stuntbox

The class of device formerly known as mobile.

Douché!  ¶  Personal Weblog of Joe Clark, Toronto

when you have to concede that someone has made a good counterargument, but they’re being a jerk about it.

I have to remember this one.

Nanolaw with Daughter (Ftrain.com)

A superbly written piece of near-future legal-dystopian speculative fiction. Damn, that Paul Ford can write!

“When It’s Not Your Turn”: The Quintessentially Victorian Vision of Ogden’s “The Wire” « The Hooded Utilitarian

What if the Wire were a serialised Dickensian story? …which, let’s face it, it kinda is.

Shady Characters

The secret life of punctuation.

My Father’s Final Gift « Aza on Design

The beautifully-written and moving story of a father’s last gift to his son. The father is Jef Raskin; the son is Aza Raskin.

W3C’s new logo promotes HTML5—and more | Deep Tech - CNET News

Curiously, though, the standards group—the very people one might expect to have the narrowest interpretation of what exactly HTML5 means—instead say it stands for a swath of new Web technologies extending well beyond the next version of Hypertext Markup Language.

HTML5 Gains Logo, Loses Meaning | Webmonkey | Wired.com

Lumping everything together is as silly as a carpenter referring to every tool in their toolkit as “a hammer.”

Clive Thompson on How Tweets and Texts Nurture In-Depth Analysis | Magazine

Could it be that the current penchant for quick, real-time bursts of content could actually be beneficial for more thoughtful, long-form content?

750 Words

An intriguing writing exercise. If I weren’t such a procrastinator, I would try it out.

Fillerati - Faux Latin is a Dead Language

The best alternative to lorem ipsum yet.

Once Upon a Title

Pervy little stories made entirely from children's book titles.

Heed this well young costumed beggars | Coudal Partners

My bookmarking you may rue and curse, to read such horrors told in verse.

Welcome to Open Library! (Open Library)

One web page for every book. I love this project.

Walter Benjamin’s Aura: Open Bookmarks and the future eBook | booktwo.org

James Bridle propsed Open Bookmarks during a presentation at Tools of Change in Frankfurt today: "Open Bookmarks is not a thing, it’s a proposal, a flag in the ground. We need to agree on a way of sharing and storing annotations and bookmarks, reading attention data and everything around the book: that aura."

The origins of abc | I love typography, the typography and fonts blog

A wonderful history of our alphabet. Set aside some time to read this.

Unsuck It

An excellent resource for deciphering corporate business-speak gibberish (I'm going to need this when I'm eavesdropping on Andy Budd making phone calls).

CaptchArt - captchart's posterous

Captchas reinterpreted into art.

Telescopic Text © Joe Davis 2008

A wonderful experiment in expanding hypertext.

New Programming Jargon — Global Nerdy

Some of the best neologisms in programming, many of them to do with bug-fixing.

Mojibakeru kanji-animal transformers ::: Pink Tentacle

Kanji characters that transform into the animal they represent.

Geology in Art: The Thagomizer

"...after the late Thag Simmons." No, really. It's a proper paleontological term now.

Daniel Davis - The HTML5 <ruby> element in words of one syllable or less

A nice explanation of the ruby element in HTML5: very handy for marking up phonetic pronunciation.

Hyperbole and a Half: The Alot is Better Than You at Everything

Coping mechanisms for grammar pedants. I can see myself using this alot.

Tattúínárdœla saga: If Star Wars Were an Icelandic Saga « Tattúínárdœla saga

The nerdgasmic result of a collision between linguistics and Star Wars.

kung fu grippe : Making the Clackity Noise

I want to frame this and mount it on my wall so I will see it every day.

Code: Flickr Developer Blog » Language Detection: A Witch’s Brew?

This. This right here is how you manage sites in multiple languages. Are you listening, Google?

Phonetikana - the johnson banks thought for the week

An interesting experiment in making Katakana self-describing.

Timothy McSweeney's Internet Tendency: Letters from the Hellbox.

In praise of Gutenberg's contribution to typography.

Calligraphy by Nancy Howell

Wonderful calligraphy — something we don't make much use of on the web.

shopping losts

Taking shopping lists and setting them in a more typographically pleasing way.

Rise of the Tablog → Put Things Off

I think that reports of the death of the blog have been greatly exaggerated but I agree with just about everything written here.

The WHATWG Blog » Blog Archive » Spelling HTML5

The official word on that darned space.

All Sorts - a linguistic experiment

Collective nouns, collected.

Garfield: Lost in Translation

Garfield, translated into Japanese and then translated back into English.

PHP: goto - Manual

Wait... I thought this was considered harmful?

Allergic to "grilled cheese" - Love Letters - Relationships questions, advice and more

And the award for Best Euphemism In An Online Column goes to...

Hamish Hamilton: Five Dials

A beautiful PDF literary magazine, designed to be printed out and read away from the computer. I'd still love to see an HTML version.

Dashed Bad Form | Standpoint.Online

A humorous comparison of the em dash and the semicolon; but this online setting scuppers the author's wit by using hyphens instead of em dashes — punctuation-derived humour fail!

Ten years of the Guardian online - plotted in expletives

Trust Tom to use the Guardian's new API for the purpose of answering those pressing questions, like "is fuckknuckle *really* the new cockbadger?"

arc90 lab : experiments : Readability

An excellent bookmarklet designed to help you read more easily on the web (by hiding all that filthy, filthy advertising).

StupidFilter :: Main / HomePage

Because the internet needs prophylactics for memetically transmitted diseases.

List of Words it is NOT ok to ever say.

Glad to see "webinar" on this list. Shame about "lifestream."

Lyttony

Past winners of the Bulwer-Lytton fiction contest, "where WWW means Wretched Writers Welcome."

this is a working library

I love the design of this site almost as much as I love the content.

Localization Problems: A Cellphone's Missing Dot Kills Two People, Puts Three More in Jail

When localisation attacks. This is like a more morbid Douglas Adams vignette.

neologasm: antfucker

I'm being credited with hauling this wonderful phrase over from the original Dutch.

YQL now supports microformats! (Yahoo! Developer Network Blog)

Yahoo's RESTful query language can now parse microformats. This is excellent news ...although I'm personally finding it tough to wrap my head around the documentation. It's certainly trickier than hKit but then, it's almost certainly more powerful too.

Rands In Repose: A Signature Cadence

Heartfelt and moving: praise for those who sprinkle doses of humanity into software interfaces.

How the Lowly Text Message May Save Languages That Could Otherwise Fade - WSJ.com

The importance of providing predictive text for minority languages (including Irish). To help preserve languages, advocates are pushing to make more written languages available on cellphones.

A List Apart: Articles: The Trouble With EM ’n EN (and Other Shady Characters)

This article is an oldie but a goodie. I find myself referring to it all the time: "Beating typographic correctness out of (X)HTML: more than you ever wanted to know about dashes, spaces, curly quotes, and other vagaries of online typography."

Addictionary :: What's your word?

It's The Meaning Of Liff all over again. Creating and rating neologisms.

The Septic's Companion - A mercifully brief guide to British culture and slang

British English slang dictionary with translations into American English.

malevole - Text Generator

An excellent alternative to Lorem Ipsum ...possibly even better than Anguish Languish.

Lorem 2: An all-around better Lorem experience.

Lorem 2 is a simple and better way to grab Lorem Ipsum text content. I still like using Anguish Languish.

Cursebird: What the f#@! is everyone swearing about?

Cursebird is a realtime feed of people swearing on Twitter. Fuck, yeah!

GT!Blog » Why Japan didn’t create the iPod

Could it be that the inability of 8-bit computers to render Kanji had a direct influence on the direction of Japan's electronic product design and economy?

Typography for Lawyers

Trying to teach legibility, one legal document at a time.

‘Organizing Our Marvellous Neighbours’

Joe's new book will be ready soon. I expect nothing less than the finest wittertainment.

The Paragraph in Web Typography & Design — Jon Tan ?

A wonderfully informative and useful look at paragraphs styles ...in history and in CSS.

Who Framed George Lakoff? - ChronicleReview.com

A detailed look at the troubled history of George Lakoff, the father of conceptual metaphor.

Douchespeak

Ridiculing the empty language of the corporate world one putrid word at a time.

Science Fiction Citations for OED

Put all those years of reading science fiction to use. Help track down first usage of sci-fi terms.

D-E-F-I-N-I-T-E-L-Y

Really; it's not that difficult.

Research Tools | Economist.com | Economist.com

The Economist style guide: the "dos and don'ts" section is particularly useful.

The Hugh Grant Squid Test

A dictionary of all-sorts. An enpsychlo-blog. A compendium of ancient wisdom of modern usage. History, philosophy, and the world around you. A "Who's who?", a "How's when?" and "What on Earth is it?" A token nod in the direction of truth and a dip in the

Cognitive accessibility of user interfaces summarised in an oversimplified rule // plasmasturm.org

The Sapir WIMP hypothesis: "The more easily you can talk about a user interface, the more easily you can understand how to manipulate it."

Merriam-Webster Online

The word w00t has been voted Merriam-Webster word of the year 2007. Slow year.

Why a Tittle?

A blog dedicated entirely to documenting inappropriate dotting of "I"s in otherwise capitalised words.

What the F***?

I saw Steven Pinker give a talk recently and he spent a fair amount of time talking about swearing. He has written up that part of the talk into an article for the New Republic.

Main Page - AskWiki

A natural language interface onto Wikipedia. More of this kind of thing, please.

Words to the Wise: Language and the Journal Sentinel

A language blog from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

defective yeti: Cliche Rotation Project, Round II

It's time roll out some new clichés. I like "reporting from the green zone" as a substitute for "seeing the world through rose-coloured glasses."

Anguish Languish

Tired of using "lorem ipsum dolor..." for placeholder copy? Use real English words that, while apparently non-sensical, transform into stories when spoken aloud.

The Snowclones Database

A blog dedicated to cataloguing snowclones. Brilliant!

lowercase L

A blog devoted entirely to instances of all-caps writing that uses lowercase letter Ls.

Channy’s Blog - » 『DOM 스크립트』 출간 이벤트!

DOM Scripting... now also available in Korean.

BBC NEWS | Magazine | Should we simplify spelling?

The cawl for speling reform in the Inglish langwidge iz misguyded and franklee, kynd ov styoopid.

Co-evolution of neocortex size, group size and language in humans

The Dunbar number gets bandied about a lot in conversations about social networks these days. Here's the original paper that shows the research behind the oft-misused term.

microformatique - a blog about microformats and “data at the edges” : Semantics in HTML Part III - Towards a semantic web

John Allsopp has posted the third and final part of his superb series, Semantics in HTML. Read them all.

Poetry reading - WordRidden

Jessica's English translation of a 19th Century German poem in the public domain – possibly the only English translation of this poem in existence.

Semantics in HTML - 1.”traditional semantic HTML” at microformatique - a blog about microformats and “data at the edges”

A superb article by John Allsopp on semantics in the broad sense, from philosophy and linguistics right through to markup. And this is just part one! Read, enjoy, and prepare for part two.

Cá Bhfuil Na Gaeilgeoirí? | The Guardian | Guardian Unlimited

Can you really get by in Ireland by just speaking Irish? Not in Dublin, it seems. I'd love to see the TV show that this article is based on.

Wordie

Like Flickr, but without the photos. This, I like.

mikroformate.org - Kollektivblog zum Thema Microformats

A German language blog devoted entirely to microformats. Klasse.

vanillart » A List Apart » Séparation Comportementale

A French translation of my most recent article for A List Apart.

Textblog: German Lessons for World Cup Visitors

This brings back memories: the German equivalents of "it's a game of two halves" and "they think it's all over; it is now."

Powazek: Just a Thought: Death to User-Generated Content

Derek hits the nail on the head. User-generated content is such a cold, cold term.

Buzzword Hell

Am I buzzword or not?

Incisive.nu: Strong Language

The verb form of “leverage,” like all forms of Cheetos®, is composed mainly of hot air surrounded by a shell of creepily artificial substance.