Sunday, January 13, 2008

Sunday randomness

Here's a laundry list …
  • Well, the poll is pretty much done … Poison's former bassist wins, hands down. It looks like around 1% of visitors to the blog participated over the duration of the poll, though I don't know whether that says something about the topic or the willingness to do dumb polls online. We'll see at some future point.
  • Steven Pinker has a big piece in the NYT Sunday Magazine today about our endowment with a moral sense.
  • Safire, taking up space in the same forum, gripes about the of in constructions of the type "off of the defensive", "too big of a meal", etc. Don't get me started. At least he's actually talking about language generally, in his "On Language" column, not just words. And he's still pissed about "Winston tastes good like a cigarette should". (Younger readers won't even know that ancient chapter of peevological history.) That cracks me up.
  • Friends from Tucson report that their city (along with others, I see) has stravenues, and I'm surprised to learn that they are officially abbreviated as Stra by the USPS. It's a kinda nice blend, but sort of odd in bureaucratic usage, which seems to not have many of these. (In cities like Tuscon, laid out on a grid, with streets running one way and avenues the other, these run diagonally.)
  • The other night, someone used the cropping libes for "(preprandial) libation". I thought it was at least kinda cute, even after seeing that the same cropping is used for library by some students. You can hardly object to the kids privileging the library over drinking in their innovative word formation.


hh said...

'Diagonally' might be sensible for stravenues in a street one direction / avenue other direction system, but isn't always realized in practice; I live a block away from "Desert Stravenue" which runs north/south like avenues... I think in another part of its length t runs diagonally, though, which is maybe enough for the name.

and, can't resist noting one of the wierdest spelling conventions: Tucson is spelled c-s, not s-c -- in Spanish and all the indigenous lgs around here it's pronounced /tUk.son/, which at least makes spelling sense, but in some kind of spelling misreading or something the spelling TUCSON s pronounced /tuwsan/.

it's so hard to beleve that 'cs' could correspond to /s/ that the airport code for Tucson is TUS, not TUC.

:) hh

Mr. Verb said...

Arg, sorry about the misspelling ... a typo I did twice in a row. The story I've heard is that it's an indigenous name (Tohono O'odham?) but that early Spanish speakers lost the coda /k/, yielding the modern pronunciation, while newer Spanish speakers use basically a spelling pronunciation, with the k. Is that plausible? Thanks.

The Ridger, FCD said...

That's how I pronounced it as a kid. It was one of that large number of places people wrote about, but never talked about (there were some people like that, too, or at least some names). I read about Penna-lope who might have lived in Tuc-son if she hadn't been married to Oddy-soose and whose story was pretty mack-aburr ... that last one made my father laugh. I'll never forget it. But I never read about any Punell-opees who lived in Toosaun. Looking back on it, it seems odd how long it took me to realize I was mispronouncing all theose words.

Mr. Verb said...

Yeah, I still have lots of 'reading pronunciations' too, including in technical areas I have come to work in ... it's really to uproot them.