Monthly Archives: August 2013

Seamus Heaney 1939-2013

This morning brought the news that Seamus Heaney has died. Heaney is the first living poet that I remember reading, and certainly the poet who more than any other turned me to a life of reading poetry. It will be difficult to begin speaking of him in the past tense.

“Lets you”

If you’ve ever explained to someone how a gadget or app or website works, you’ve probably used a construction like “it lets me” or “it lets you”. You probably didn’t know you were on the cutting edge of language change. Language change isn’t immediately noticeable to those who are experiencing it–we notice when other groups […]

Word and Sense Creation in OED

Look up a common word in the OED, and chances are you’ll find it was first recorded in English over 700 years ago. Every word in the previous sentence is at least that old, with an average (mean) age of 1,022 years. So it stands to reason that, all other things being equal, the farther […]