Friday, September 10, 2010

Around the Word

Happy Friday and a happy new year to our Jewish friends.  We're closing out the short week with a few short words of wisdom we have picked up over the last few days.
  • For you grammar buffs battling in the Usage Wars, meet a new ally: the 16th Edition of the Chicago Manual of Style was released last week, catching up on the last seven years of internet culture in one bound.  Read a review in Paper Cuts and see what's new, from an expanded section on "bias-free language" to an "electronic-editing checklist."  But don't think they've gone soft: this edition promises "firmer rules and clearer recommendations."  Has anyone cracked open the Manual yet?  What do you think of the changes?
  • The Anti-Twitter League has launched another argument against the claim that Twitter improves editing.  Communications consultant Michael Burton takes a romp through the indiscretions of Tweet-speak and explores recent literature, including Nicholas Carr's wave-making book The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains.  The BloGG hasn't gotten into any "twisticuffs" lately, but we wonder how you would handle a "Tweetsult"—and what you think about the fate of Webglish.
  • Our speechwriting friends can peer into Obama's recent Oval Office Address using X-ray goggles provided by the Global Language Monitor.  Their rhetorical analysis, released this week, reveals that his sentences were 5% shorter than in previous speeches, but his paragraphs considerably longer, creating a workmanlike, digestible speech.  The GLM compares the address to Reagan's "Tear Down This Wall" speech in terms of "hearability."
And our favorite:
  • From the classic 1965 guide The Careful Writer to Robert McKee's canonical screenwriting book Story, here's fuel for writers revving up after summer.  Author Jon Winokur takes a spin through the best books to punch up your prose, including one intriguing black sheep: Metaphors We Live By, co-written by a linguistics and a philosophy professor, about why we think in metaphor.  We're curious to hear of any titles you think should've made the list.

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