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

Members: 212
Latest Activity: Aug 23


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

Language as a Tool of State Repression

Started by Ruth Anthony-Gardner. Last reply by Ruth Anthony-Gardner Aug 8. 4 Replies

What country are you from again?

Started by Ruth Anthony-Gardner. Last reply by Plinius Aug 2. 2 Replies

Decline in writing accuracy.

Started by Ruth Anthony-Gardner. Last reply by Grinning Cat Jan 25. 100 Replies

25 Language Song

Started by Ruth Anthony-Gardner. Last reply by Chris Jan 25, 2018. 1 Reply

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

Comment Wall


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

Comment by Joan Denoo on August 23, 2019 at 11:42am

Spud, great signs!

Comment by Idaho Spud on August 23, 2019 at 11:35am

Comment by Idaho Spud on August 23, 2019 at 11:33am

Comment by Plinius on May 22, 2019 at 5:23am

There's no other way to teach, Joan, I can only do it this way.

Comment by Joan Denoo on May 22, 2019 at 1:40am

Plinius, your work with people amazes me; you have such an empathic understanding of your students. Your willingness to create and invent ways of teaching that gives understanding to people who would otherwise find life too great a challenge. You are my inspiration. 

Comment by Plinius on May 21, 2019 at 11:02pm

Two destroyed black lives  and there are so many more. They tried their best against the odds and lost - we can only love them. Thanks for your story, Joan. I never mind the non-standard language, most of the time I get the meaning. You're right, once you get past the language difficulties you see the poetry.

When I taught in a poor neighbourhood of Rotterdam I got someone in my class who told me that she was too stupid to learn anything. I wanted to try anyway and found out that she was very dyslectic. From that moment I read all grammar and relevant info aloud, three times, and she got a much better hold on language. After some time she wanted to read aloud from the coursebook.. From the few words she could process well she made a story that was pure poetry...

Comment by Tom Sarbeck on May 21, 2019 at 10:44pm

Something Joan, something none of us can know, reached from the Kid’s past and struck him down. War also takes people that way.

Comment by Loren Miller on May 21, 2019 at 6:29pm

Damn, Joan ... that story about the black kid you taught is just heart-breaking ... never mind beyond tragic.  I don't know what to say.

Comment by Joan Denoo on May 21, 2019 at 6:20pm

The Billie Holiday story includes her gut-wrenching song, "Strange Fruit." 

lyrics: Strange Fruit

Southern trees bear strange fruit

Blood on the leaves and blood at the root

Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze

Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees

Pastoral scene of the gallant south

The bulging eyes and the twisted mouth

Scent of magnolias, sweet and fresh

Then the sudden smell of burning flesh

Here is fruit for the crows to pluck

For the rain to gather, for the wind to suck

For the sun to rot, for the trees to drop

Here is a strange and bitter crop.

Comment by Joan Denoo on May 21, 2019 at 5:58pm

Plinius, when I worked at Morning Star Boys' Ranch, one of my students was a black kid, about 14 years old. He spoke African-American Vernacular English or colloquially called Ebonics (a controversial term). Most working- and middle-class African Americans spoke or understand it. 

Previously, I had taught for two years at Valley Green Housing Project in Washington, D.C., a project for the black single head of household mothers and their dependent children. 

This Kid's every other word was fxxk or some other version of bodily functions. I had him write short stories about anything he wanted and after a few months, he began to like writing. His work was powerful and insightful about being a black kid and the anger he carried against the systems. His mother, a hardworking and good mother tried her best to get him stop steaing, shoplifting, and bullying. The Spokane school district tried as well to get him to behave like a civilized human being. Finally, a juvenile judge sent him to MSBR and he became my student and I provided social services for his family, which meant I taught his mother and siblings life skills, coached them on how to react to the Kid, and how to seek help when they needed it. 

Over time, I began to understand his language and the things about which he wrote. I became so impressed, I took some of his work to my old college English professor who read it and was dumbfounded. This Kid had talent! My prof and I had read "Down These Mean Streets" by Piri Thomas who "made literary history with this lacerating, lyrical memoir of his coming of age on the streets of Spanish Harlem."

The Kid grew up, graduated from high school and from MSBR. He was building a responsible adulthood. He had great promise.

He was shot robbing a store and died of a bullet wound to his abdomen. 


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