Sunday, December 03, 2006

Technical problems, and Safire returns (kinda)

This blog is on, which is in a beta phase and folks are reporting having trouble posting comments. (Had trouble myself last week posting a comment to another blog, in fact, on, and some of the formatting functions have been weird lately.) This trouble prompted Rosina Lippi to make some comments in response to the last post here on her amazing blog. (Thanks for the tip about bloglines.) It's been a busy day here in Verbtown, with everybody a little down after the Packers got pounded in Lambeau today, and I'm only now getting a chance to kick back, check out the Simpsons (with Metallica as guest tonight), and write a quick post.

Rosina says that she doesn't have the patience to read Safire. I know the feeling: Mrs. Verb won't let me watch Bush on TV (well, I do tend to scream at the TV), and I can't even watch rightwing talk TV. But progressive radio host Stephanie Miller says about Fox "I watch Bill O'Reilly so you don't have to." I guess, Rosina, I read Bill Safire so you don't have to. Not much to report today, though: It's a set of books reviews, including a plug for forthcoming volumes of Jonathan Lighter's Historical Dictionary of American Slang, a serious work for sure.

But Safire can't even get through a few comments on books without missing the boat on something ... in discussing a new book by Steinmetz & Kipfer, he writes that …
They reveal the source of the "schm-/shm- reduplication" from Yiddish ... .
Now, one of the few facts about English I can usually assume people interested in language but lacking any background in linguistics will know is this one -- that fancy, shmancy forms come from a similar Yiddish pattern. It can't be a revelation to Safire, surely, and it won't be a revelation to most people interested in reading a popular book on language. Who would they be revealing this to, exactly?

More soon from the land of French Roquefort dressing (it's old fashioned 'French' with lots of chunks of blue cheese) ...

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