Un-like-believable: “Like” is now an infix

Stan Carey at Sentence First reports on the many new usages of the word like, such as quotative (in the comments, some people note that this is often used for inexact quotation). However, the most surprising is its use in Australia as an infix — a very rare beast in English: “‘Like’ is an infix now, which is un-like-believably innovative”.

I am yet to come across this usage myself, but I’ll be looking out for it.

I’ll not be adopting it either. Not deliberately, anyway, but one never knows. So much of language is unconscious. Gone are the days when I consciously adjusted my speech patterns. I did, in times of yore, deliberately change my pronunciation of schedule from /ˈskɛ.djuːl/ to /ˈʃɛd.juːl/ because I read somewhere that the latter pronunciation is less American. I care far less about this sort of thing nowadays, but having done the work of changing the way I say the word I feel no need to change it back.

Comic Book Grammar

Convention becomes tradition, and acquires weight. This guide to the workings of comic-book speech bubbles showcases how this can work. One thing not mentioned is the flowery borders used by the Astérix books when someone is being “nice”. There are other conventions, which may arise within the a specific work. In Khaos Komix, for example, each story has a narrator who is looking back on the story and recounting it in the past tense. The narrator’s words are shown in white on a black background, while their actual dialogue within the narrative is shown in normal speech bubbles.


Spelling and Grammar

When you send e-mails full of misspellings and errant apostrophes, people judge you. And by people, I mean me.

It’s better than fashionable: it’s useful.

Wildly original and excessively heterodox language could land you in the soup.

You slip into a suit for an interview, and you dress your language up too. You can wear what you like linguistically or sartorially when you’re at home or with friends, but most people accept the need to smarten up under some circumstances. It’s only considerate. … There’s no right language or wrong language any more than there are right or wrong clothes. Context, convention, and circumstance are all.

(More on Stephen Fry.)


Half a Hyperbolic Depression

I’ve loved the blog Hyperbole and a Half for a long time. (In fact, you might say that I like it alot.) It’s a blog of articles, often clever and funny, accompanied by rather silly and wonderful cartoons. It’s probably most famous for the post “This is Why I’ll Never be an Adult” (clean all the things). Her most recent post, though, is rather special. It’s about how Allie worked her way through depression.