It should likely come as no surprise that I am a stuffy proponent of the serial comma (often nicknamed the “Oxford comma”), where a comma is placed before the conjunction and final item in a written list, as when there are multiple ways to do something in language, I generally endorse the one that’s less prone to ambiguity.
Typically, it’s little more than a stylistic preference, but as one dairy company found out a couple months back, this sort or ambiguity can have costly ramifications:
Speaking of interesting word websites – here’s another!
Forvo is an audio pronunciation database which aims to have every word in every language (yes, even swear words and slang) pronounced by a native speaker. It looks like it’s already most of the way there for the more widely spoken languages – at least any random thing I tried in English, Spanish, German, Italian, and Japanese was available.
The interface is presented in multiple languages, but any word in any language can be queried from any of them without needing to specify the language of origin. Words not natively in Roman characters can be searched for either in the native script or their Romanized versions (e.g., 犬 or inu).
Common words also tend to have multiple pronunciations to listen to, phrases with the word, and translations to other languages as well. If you’re a native speaker of a language whose word is not yet included, or is not pronounced to your satisfaction, you can help Forvo out by submitting your own words and pronunciations.
I always love these sorts of hypercognates that have so specific a point of origin that they managed widespread propagation with negligible mutation centuries before the global communication boom. Oh, English, you just had to break the mold, didn’t you? (>^-‘)>
Although, to be fair, ‘ananas’ is also a perfectly valid English word for what we usually call the pineapple.
And Spanish speakers are more apt to call it a piña.
…and let’s not forget languages like Japanese that are perfectly happy to say パイナップル (PAINAPPURU!!!).
I’m always slightly, unavoidably offended when companies don’t capitalize their own brand names. Primarily because proper nouns have free rein to eschew orthographic decorum, and their specifics take precedence over propriety. Which means I also have to write them that way. Which is wrong.
You’re making me do language wrong, brand. But that’s on you. I’m not taking the fall for that.
The most untenable, however, is when the second letter – oh, the second letter! – of the name is capitalized when the first is not. Ever tried to start a sentence with ‘iPhone’? It’s the worst.
Zeugma is a fun little device that occurs when a word is used in multiple contexts simultaneously – i.e., to mean two (or sometimes more) things at once as it applies separately to the other words in its purview. Mostly used for humorous brevity, it naturally requires that the word have some homonymous or polysemic properties.
Billy ranfrom the slog and for mayor.
The minstrel playsthe flute almost as well as he does the fool.
I punched the slogwithfury, indignation, and my fist.