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

Members: 212
Latest Activity: Oct 14


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

Decline in writing accuracy.

Started by Ruth Anthony-Gardner. Last reply by Bertold Brautigan May 20. 77 Replies

25 Language Song

Started by Ruth Anthony-Gardner Apr 2. 0 Replies

Not face = universal language

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

Pronouns for Gender Fluidity

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

Pronouns for Gender Fluidity

Started by Ruth Anthony-Gardner Jan 13. 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

Txtng and the future of English

Started by Grinning Cat Mar 3, 2013. 0 Replies

Two layers of language

Started by Ruth Anthony-Gardner Feb 22, 2013. 0 Replies

Text-mining stylistic and thematic connections

Started by Ruth Anthony-Gardner. Last reply by Steph S. Aug 28, 2012. 1 Reply

What makes a memorable quote?

Started by Ruth Anthony-Gardner. Last reply by Tony Carroll May 10, 2012. 4 Replies

Throw Grammar from the Train

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Comment Wall


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Comment by Bertold Brautigan on September 24, 2014 at 4:42pm

I vote "yea" on embiggen too. I didn't know about the Simpsons or earlier usage, but I read it as a fun sort of ironic self-parody.

Comment by Idaho Spud on September 24, 2014 at 3:13pm

Right after my first post this morning, as I was repairing my toilet, I was thinking about my post.   I know I'm too serious, but I do think humor is important in life.  

I do think embiggin is a funny word, so perhaps It's OK to use it where something isn't too important.

Comment by Idaho Spud on September 24, 2014 at 2:43pm

I've never read a Covey book, and don't plan on it.  I don't trust what he has to say because he was a mormon and wrote several religious books, including:

  • Spiritual Roots of Human Relations (1970)
  • The Divine Center (1982)
  • 6 Events: The Restoration Model for Solving Life's Problems (2004).
Comment by Bertold Brautigan on September 24, 2014 at 1:05pm

And it was picked up by every educational administrator from coast to coast. It was almost as bad as the plague of white shoes and belts in the 70s!

Another one that gets me is "emergency situation." Isn't an "emergency" enough for fk sake???

Comment by James M. Martin on September 24, 2014 at 12:50pm

@Bertold, wow! You hit my second major pet peeve (the first being attempts to modify the word "unique"). Proactive is a neologism invented by the Covey guy who wrote the book on "proactive people," one of the most dreadful, specious self-help books ever written. (I know, I once wrote one.)

Comment by Bertold Brautigan on September 24, 2014 at 8:40am

The buzz word I can't stand is proactive. Newton didn't say "To every proaction there is always opposed an equal reaction."

Comment by Idaho Spud on September 24, 2014 at 6:49am

My opinion: If you're joking around, or in a friendly conversation with someone, I think it's fine to have fun with words, but when communication is important, I don't think we should replace a perfectly good word with another.

Natalie, I agree.  In your example, Embiggen bothers me also, because it's trying to communicate something important with a word that not everyone will know the meaning of.

The new words that bother me the most are "buzzwords" that seem to pop-up like mushrooms.  The first one that bugged me was in a meeting where my boss said "your action item is....".  

I asked him what that meant, and he said it means "your assignment is....".  I asked him why use those two words to replace a perfectly good word that everyone already understands.  He had an explanation, but I didn't think it justified the replacement.

Comment by tom sarbeck on September 23, 2014 at 11:48pm

Natalie, you're missing a sense of humor.

I do hope it is a temporary condition.

I recently told a woman, "The human mind is a fun sandbox in which to play."

The backstory, which I omit here, concerned the use of words so I could have added that words are fun toys.

She enjoyed the humor.

Comment by Grinning Cat on September 23, 2014 at 10:58pm

Guilty as charged -- maybe there's a bit of rebelliousness in using "embiggen", a consciously nonstandard word recoined for The Simpsons episode "Lisa the Iconoclast". (Yes, "embiggen" is attested in 1884, but I certainly wasn't aware of its use in a 19th-century British journal!) Some would say "embiggen" is a perfectly cromulent word.

Comment by Natalie A Sera on September 23, 2014 at 9:11pm

OK, there's a new one that's bothering me: "to embiggen". As in (on a picture) "click here to embiggen". What happened to good old "enlarge"? I don't mind neologisms when they serve the purpose of letting us express something new, as in words like "email" but certainly "enlarge" isn't anything new and fits the intended meaning perfectly. Or am I missing some subtle nuance that's obvious to at least the young people?


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