The language wars are alive and strong, and Steven Pinker is in the middle of them this week. Pinker, a psychologist and cognitive scientist, wrote The Language Instinct, about the acquisition of language, 20 years ago. Now, he offers advice on what to do with language once you’ve acquired it in The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person’s Guide to Writing in the 21st Century.
Ben Zimmer, perhaps the most prolific commentator on the state of our language, is the obvious first choice for the Linguistic Society of America’s new Linguistics Journalism Award. The honor was announced Wednesday.
There is little debate with the statement that academic writing is too often bad writing. Academicians sometimes rail against the state of scholarly prose, and their fellow academics nod and shrug and go back to publishing thick pieces read by peer reviewers and few others.
In a historic referendum with record voter turnout, Scotland voted to remain within the United Kingdom. More than 85 percent of the nation’s voters participated, answering the simple ballot question “Should Scotland be an independent country?” With 55 percent answering “no,” Scotland preserved a union with England that began over 300 years ago.
One day, we might be able to attend conferences of copyeditors virtually, with multiple cameras in every room transmitting conference proceedings and picking up bits of conversation as copyeditors meet over coffee, tea, or wine, depending on the time of day. Until then, we at least have Twitter, and I’ve already created a TweetDeck column for #SfEP14, the hashtag for the Society for Editors and Proofreaders conference in Royal Holloway, just west of London.