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The Nitpicker’s Nook: April’s linguistic links roundup

The Nitpicker’s Nook is a monthly collection of language-related articles, interviews, and blog posts. If you read something that would make a good addition, email your suggestion to [email protected].

By Savanna Scott Leslie

The Nitpicker’s Nook: April’s linguistic links roundup

  • As technology improves, is it only a matter of time until translation tools become so adept that language barriers cease to exist? David Arbesú, an assistant professor of Spanish at the University of South Florida, doesn’t think so. He explains why computers can’t match the human mind’s faculty for communication. (The Conversation)
  • A career in editing lends itself pretty well to introversion. Plenty of us relish the ability to work remotely and spend long periods in silence with text. No, really! It’s not just you. A recent study shows that introverts are more likely to care about spelling and grammar mistakes. (The Guardian)
  • Internet: Should the word take a capital when it doesn’t begin a sentence? The folks responsible for the Associated Press Stylebook no longer think so. There’s a good chance this decision will affect some of your edits, and you might not like it very much! (Mashable)
  • In our December 2015 edition of the Nitpicker’s Nook, we saw the Washington Post accept the singular they. Now a major Canadian publication is also declaring its acceptance of the still-controversial pronoun. (The Walrus)
  • Among our colleagues to the south, the singular they and a host of questions about changing usage remain a hot topic. Junnelle Hogen explores some of the discussions that unfolded at this year’s American Copy Editors Society conference in Portland. (ACES)
  • “What are you going to do with a linguistics degree?” If you’re studying linguistics, you’ve probably heard that one a few times. I certainly did before I switched my major to philosophy—ever the pragmatist. Steph Campisi, a copywriter, brand strategist, and children’s author, explains how her linguistics background has helped her career. (Superlinguo)

Savanna Scott Leslie is an editor and publishing consultant, and she’s also one of those former Torontonians who now call Hamilton home. Despite her philosophy degree, she’s gainfully employed.

This article was copy edited by Sylvia McCluskey.

The Nitpicker’s Nook: December’s linguistic links roundup

The Nitpicker’s Nook is a monthly collection of language-related articles, interviews, and blog posts from around the Web. If you read something that would make a good addition, email your suggestion to [email protected].

By Savanna Scott Leslie

The Nitpicker's Nook

  • Toronto-based Editors Canada member Emily Donaldson boasts a successful career as a book critic, writer, and editor. She shares some of her experiences as one of Canada’s most influential book reviewers and her thoughts on the country’s close-knit publishing community in an interview with Canadian Women in the Literary Arts. (CWILA)
  • What linguists have done recently is see a marked decline in the structure I used in this sentence. Mark Liberman explains that “to do” + verb constructions are losing popularity. I, for one, will welcome this decline in redundancy! (Language Log)
  • The times, they are a-changing—well, not the Times but the Post. Longtime copy editor for the Washington Post Bill Walsh announced a slew of changes to the paper’s style guide, including acceptance of the singular they. (Washington Post)
  • And, speaking of the Times, if you “literally cannot” with all those naysayers of the singular they, or if Liberman’s linguistic discovery “restores your faith in humanity,” you’ll want to read what the New York Times’ Jessica Bennett has to say about “The Hyperbole of Internet-Speak.” (New York Times)
  • It’s hard enough to make sense of English from a few centuries ago, but how do you track words’ evolution from a time that didn’t leave us any writing samples? The Ling Space, an ongoing YouTube series on linguistics, explains how the comparative method reveals what languages sounded like in the distant past. (The Ling Space)
  • Begging the question: the philosophy graduate in me compels me to change this expression to “raising the question” whenever a writer isn’t referring to a logical fallacy. But the part of me that embraces Bill Walsh’s forward-looking approach tells me I should stet. Stan Carey explains this usage battle. (Sentence First)
  • From gross misconduct, a gross of eggs, and gross profit to gross me out, the word gross covers a lot of ground. Arika Okrent explains how the word landed on its modern expression of disgust. (Mental Floss)

Savanna Scott Leslie is an editor and publishing consultant. She recently relocated from Toronto to Hamilton and is enamoured of all things #HamOnt. Her Twitter handle is @Savanna_SL.

This article was copy edited by Asha Bajaj.

The Nitpicker’s Nook: April’s linguistic links roundup

The Nitpicker’s Nook is a monthly collection of language-related articles, interviews, and blog posts from around the Web. If you read something that would make a good addition, email your suggestion to [email protected].

The Nitpicker's NookBy Robin Marwick

  • The American Copy Editors’ Society’s (ACES) 2015 National Conference, held at the end of March, featured a wealth of inspiring speakers and informative sessions. Fortunately for those of us who weren’t there, it also attracted scores of diligent tweeters, as seen in this Storify of the first day’s social media activity. Explore the conference blog for much more. (Copydesk.org)
  • One theme from ACES 2015 was the growing acceptance of the singular “they,” with the Associated Press Stylebook being almost the lone holdout. Here’s everything you ever needed to know about this much-maligned usage. (Stroppy Editor)
  • EAC, of course, has its own conference coming up in June. Freelance writer Nicole Dieker has excellent advice for conference-going freelancers who hope to stand out from the crowd. (Contently.net)
  • Working with multiple authors or reviewers can be a headache, particularly if one or more of them doesn’t quite understand how Track Changes works. Martha Carlson-Bradley explains how to set up Word documents so that Track Changes has to be used. (Editor Queries)

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The Nitpicker’s Nook: January’s linguistic links roundup

The Nitpicker’s Nook is a monthly collection of language-related articles, interviews, and blog posts from around the Web. If you read something that would make a good addition, email your suggestion to [email protected].

By Laura GodfreyThe Nitpicker's Nook

  • If you know a new author too timid to say no to a copy editor’s suggestions, share this article by YA author Chantel Guertin that emphasizes the difference between being a difficult author to work with and politely asserting your own artistic vision. (Open Book: Toronto)
  • Earlier this month at the “Super Bowl of linguistics,” linguists at the American Dialect Society voted on 2014’s Word of the Year. What they chose—the influential Twitter hashtag #blacklivesmatter—stretches the definition of what constitutes a “word,” but speaks to the importance of recognizing the racial injustice that drew global attention in Ferguson, Mo. (The New York Times)
  • If you have recently launched your own freelance editorial business, you know that spending time on marketing to potential clients is vital to your success. Check out this article on four marketing mistakes to avoid. (An American Editor)
  • How long would it have taken you to notice that this rug in a sheriff’s office in Florida actually says “In Dog We Trust”? That rug manufacturer’s misprint went unnoticed for two months. Click the link to see a photo of the rug in question. (The Washington Post)

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