LINGUAPHILES & SESQUIPEDALIANS is a group for people who love languages, words, and grammar.

Members: 211
Latest Activity: Feb 6


LINGUAPHILES & SESQUIPEDALIANS is a group for people who love languages, words, and grammar.

The only requirement for joining this group is that you possess a modicum of interest in languages, etymology, grammar, punctuation, and pronunciation. You do not have to be erudite or scholarly; you do not have to be a linguist or grammarian. You just have to have the desire to learn new things about language, or share the knowledge you possess.

The purpose of this group will be to help us explore the diversity of language, hone our grammar and spelling skills, understand correct word usage, expand our vocabulary, explore language and word history, and find new ways to communicate.

How we talk about things is equally important as what we talk about. Language is a part of our thinking, speaking, and writing; it is mind, tongue, and hand. It is about how we relate to other people and understand the world around us. It is communication and the exchange of ideas. It is learning, empathy, history, and politics. It can persuade, disarm, conquer, cajole, unnerve, offend, shame, enrich, encourage, inspire, destroy, or sustain. It is all these things and more.

However, the emphasis of LINGUAPHILES & SESQUIPEDALIANS is not on writing and publication. If you are interested in these topics, please join the group ATHEIST WRITERS. That does not mean that you cannot ask questions about writing here, it is just that we are not trying to compete with the well-established writer's group. I simply recommend that you use your best judgment and post your discussion in the group that best fits the topic.

The focus here will obviously be on the English language, but it is not restricted to English only. Topics can include correct spelling and grammar issues, etymology, vocabulary and usage, language history and lexicography, dialects and idioms, trivia, and resources such as books and websites.

Books & DVDs:
The Adventure of English (DVD)
The Bedford Handbook
The Big Book of Beastly Mispronunciations
Eats, Shoots & Leaves
Fowler's Modern English Usage,
Globish: How the English Language Became the World's Language
Gossip, Grooming, and the Evolution of Language
Metaphors We Live By
Modern American Usage: A Guide
The Mother Tongue
The Mountain Man's Field Guide to Grammar
Philosophy in the Flesh
Speaking in Tongues: The History of Language
The Story of Human Language
The Stuff of Thought: Language as a Window into Human Nature
There's a Word for It

Other A|N groups of interest:

Nexus Book Club
Atheist Librarians
Athiest Writers

External Links:
Wold Wide Words
Modern Language Association
Common Errors in English
The Global Language Monitor
Guide to Grammar and Style
The Elements of Style
How to Speak and Write Correctly
World Wide Words
Online Etymology Dictionary
The Rosetta Project
The Phrontistery
Charles Harrington Elster

Discussion Forum

25 Language Song

Started by Ruth Anthony-Gardner. Last reply by Chris Jan 25. 1 Reply

Language as a Tool of State Repression

Started by Ruth Anthony-Gardner Jan 9. 0 Replies

Decline in writing accuracy.

Started by Ruth Anthony-Gardner. Last reply by Grinning Cat Dec 1, 2017. 91 Replies

Fun with English adjective order

Started by Ruth Anthony-Gardner. Last reply by tom sarbeck Oct 6, 2017. 3 Replies

Eviscerating Language

Started by Ruth Anthony-Gardner. Last reply by tom sarbeck May 17, 2017. 3 Replies

Not face = universal language

Started by Ruth Anthony-Gardner. Last reply by Grinning Cat Mar 28, 2016. 1 Reply

Pronouns for Gender Fluidity

Started by Ruth Anthony-Gardner. Last reply by Kelly Jan 13, 2016. 1 Reply

Pronouns for Gender Fluidity

Started by Ruth Anthony-Gardner Jan 13, 2016. 0 Replies

Enlightenment words.

Started by Gerald Payne. Last reply by Plinius Sep 17, 2015. 2 Replies

Wandering Words

Started by tom sarbeck. Last reply by Grinning Cat Dec 7, 2014. 5 Replies

One Letter Words, a Dictionary

Started by tom sarbeck Aug 7, 2014. 0 Replies

Emotionally loaded vowels

Started by Ruth Anthony-Gardner. Last reply by Grinning Cat Aug 1, 2014. 1 Reply

Automatic captions and fiberglass growth factor

Started by Ruth Anthony-Gardner. Last reply by Loren Miller Feb 23, 2014. 2 Replies

Changes to word meanings.

Started by Idaho Spud. Last reply by Dogly Feb 7, 2014. 4 Replies

Typos and Other Sources of Humor

Started by Glenn Sogge. Last reply by Ruth Anthony-Gardner Nov 26, 2013. 162 Replies

Rape culture embedded in language

Started by Ruth Anthony-Gardner. Last reply by Grinning Cat Mar 8, 2013. 1 Reply

Comment Wall


You need to be a member of LINGUAPHILES & SESQUIPEDALIANS to add comments!

Comment by Joan Denoo on October 21, 2017 at 3:24am

Spud, like so many things that intend to help do not help at all. The best solution that I can think of is to take Grammarly and Spell Check as a notice to pay attention; if the suggestion does not guide you correctly, fall back on dictionaries and Google. Nothing is foolproof, as Spell Check so perfectly demonstrates. 

Comment by Chris on October 21, 2017 at 2:14am

Sorry for being ignorant about language. I barely speak American English. I heard  Frence to English with barnyard animals is roughly translated as

Pig to pork, or Cow to Beef.

Where does the term "Pardon my French come from?"

" Merde"

Comment by Chris on October 21, 2017 at 2:03am

A friend of mine used to say: "Don't look at me in that tone of voice."

Comment by Grinning Cat on October 10, 2017 at 12:30pm

Chris, thanks for the video where John Safran leads a KKK grand dragon on and on before (and even after) revealing that he's Jewish. The Klan leader ties himself up in knots, first talking about how Jewishness comes from the mother's womb, then trying desperately to do special pleading for Jesus, as if the virgin birth somehow negates Mary's Jewishness!

(The grand dragon does admit, with seeming pride, that they are a discriminatory, racist, bigoted group.)

Grammatical gender is complicated! "Grammatical gender" - more than I ever wanted to know, at Wikipedia.

It's funny to think that all tables are feminine in French and Spanish, and masculine in German and Hebrew!

Gender in European languages. Light blue: no gender system. Yellow: common/neuter. Green: animate/inanimate (Basque). Red: masculine/feminine. Dark blue: masculine/feminine/neuter.

Comment by Idaho Spud on October 10, 2017 at 9:14am

Joan, I liked "Grammarly" at first, but now it often doesn't work and what's worse is when it fails, the spell check fails also.  Any suggestions?

Comment by Chris on October 9, 2017 at 11:57pm

I understand that French assigns gender to objects.  English does it as well such as calling a ship a "she." Ie. She's a good vessle.

In the military it was common was to us masculine terms. Recently it was required to say "he/she."

From  Oxford dictionaries

This approach can be a good solution, but it won’t always be possible.

  • You can use the plural pronouns ‘they’, ‘them’, ‘their’ etc., despite the fact that, technically, they are referring back to a singular noun.

Are some people too sensative to gender based speach?

"Children of Israel", sounds more appropriate than "Sons of Israel." My understanding is in racist terms only the mother passes Judiasm on. If that's the case than "Daughters of Israel"would be more appropriate. A little knowledge indeed is a dangerous thing.   You may enjoy the following comedic video  Grinning Cat.

Comment by Grinning Cat on October 9, 2017 at 1:11pm

Chris, "right writing" should indeed have spawned words in many languages!

Plinius, you're right that parents losing children rather than vice versa is far rarer and more tragic!

Some languages' missing words are related to strong gendering. Hebrew uses the same masculine word for 'brothers" and "siblings" (even for a group of ten sisters and one brother!); the feminine form means "sisters". A singular "sibling" is a "brother or sister" (with masculine and feminine forms of the same word).

I was reminded of this by one of the stated goals of Conservapedia's Conservative Bible Project, aiming to eliminate "emasculated" language among other "liberal distortions" in translations. They write that "Children of Israel" should be translated "Sons of Israel" -- which is a literal rendering, but as above, Hebrew grammar uses the masculine plural for multi-gender groups. "A little learning is a dangerous thing...."

Comment by Plinius on October 9, 2017 at 11:53am

Parents shouldn't survive their children, they say. 

But some words occur not in all languages - English has the word siblings, German has Geschwister, but the word misses in Dutch.

Comment by Chris on October 9, 2017 at 5:59am

Curious.  There are words for people who lost a spouce (Widow, or Widower), children who lost their parents, orphan.

I haven't found a word for a perent who lost a child.  There must be a word for that in one language or another.

Orthograpy should work in many languages.

Comment by Chris on October 9, 2017 at 1:00am

Wiriting may be a way of ennunciating ideas ,thoughts and emotions.  A question with a period at the end may denote something different than an exclimation mark - such as "Do you really mean that?."  A guy I knew used to use a "#" or "*" (that's a splat sign).

Brevity from twitt and other web sites that  use emogies many limit the ability for people to use words to express their feelings and emotions.

Another problem I hear is that people don't allow a speaker to take a break to collect thoughts and formulate the next idea and sentence without uttering a sound.

Some of it may have to do with terrible cellular telephone service.  I hear people say "Are you still there?"  when I'm thinking of a reply.  -  That's very irritating to me.

Y'a know?  - If I knew you wouldn't have to say anything. Perhaps some people are less confident in themselves and their communication skills.

I know I"m not good at spllling,  grammar, or punctuation. I also make many typing errors. The neat thing about language is in its complexity people who speak different lanuages are still able to communicate.


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