Tuesday, February 22, 2011

New Blog!

Hey folks! We've moved our blog (and changed our focus) to blog.writeathome.com. Come check us out over there!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Where did the word "soccer" come from?

The English rather arrogantly insist that the game be called football, and all of us have probably acknowledged that the name is rather more apropos after all. Certainly it makes more sense than what we Americans call football.

The irony is that the English were the first to call the game soccer. While we were killing each other during our Civil War, the English were being far more productive, establishing the first official rules of football, and forming what came to be known as the Football Association.

Association football became a common term when it was necessary to distinguish it from rugby football.

Soccer is a colloquial abbreviation of association, derived from the second syllable of the word. Some believe it was first shortened to assoccer" and later to the simpler soccer.

This part is only legendary, but many have it that a certain schoolboy named Charles Wreford-Brown was asked by some Oxford friends to join them in a game of "rugger" (rugby). He supposedly replied that he'd prefer a game of soccer. The name stuck, and there you have it.

What's important to remember here is that soccer is not a crass Americanism. The word is part of the rich history of the game, and supposed aficionados who denounce it reveal only their own ignorance.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

There's no such word as...

supposably. The word you are looking for is supposedly.

Why does that irritate me so much?

And why can't people pronounce the first two syllables in the sentence, "I appreciate it"?

Friday, August 27, 2010

If God Had Texted the 10 Commandments

by Jamie Quatro

1. no 1 b4 me. srsly.
2. dnt wrshp pix/idols
3. no omg's
4. no wrk on 2/end (sat 4 now; sun l8r)
5. pos ok - ur m&d r cool
6. dnt kill ppl
7. :-X only w/m8
8. dnt steal
9. dnt lie re: bf
10. dnt ogle ur bf's m8. or ox. or dnkey. myob.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

How Many Ways Can You Say Vomit?

English is a colorful language. Maybe lots of languages are equally colorful; I wouldn't know, since I only speak English. But English, for sure, is colorful.

For example, how many ways can one express the idea of vomiting?

throw up
get sick
spit up (only appropriate for newborns)

And those were just off the top of my head. A quick perusal of a thesaurus adds:

bring up
retch (good one!)

But the best ones are the euphemisms that I suspect were all created by college frat boys:

toss your cookies
lose your lunch
shout at your shoes
blow chow
the multicolored yawn
drive the big white Buick
recycle your lunch

I have declined to include many of the most colorful expressions because they made me, well, a little nauseated. If you are really curious, you can see more at www.VomitNames.com (I am not making this up. Click at your own risk).

And to those who are already planning to e-rebuke me for this post: you are right. I apologize.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Sunday, August 22, 2010

How Nerds Shape Language

I'm old enough now to assume that I'm always way behind the times. I guess it takes longer for slang and cultural idioms to trickle down to forty-somethings. I apologize, therefore, to any geeky but culturally aware readers for only recently discovering the word "pwned."

For the likewise ignorant, it's pronounced "poned": rhymes with "owned."

It's not coincidental either. The word is used to describe the victim of a practical joke, or the loser in a battle (usually a computer/video game virtual battle), as in "You got pwned!" or "I totally pwned you!"

When I was a high school teacher a decade ago, the word was "used."

So, what gives with the spelling and weird pronunciation? The most common explanation is that the programmer of a popular computer game mistyped the word "owned," which appeared on screen when the player lost. He hit the "p" key instead of the "o" key, and nobody caught it. At least not for a long while.

So instead of getting "owned," losers got "pwned."