Friday, March 24, 2017

No Need for a 'Birds and Bees' talk...



Waiting for Tony
A guy goes over to his friend's house, rings the bell. The wife answers.

"Hi, Sara, is Tony home?"

"No, Chris, he went to the store."

"Well, you mind if I wait?"

"No, come in."

They sit down and after a few minutes, the friend says "You know Sara, you have the greatest breasts I have ever seen. I'd give you a hundred bucks if I could just see one."

Sara thinks about this for a second and figures what the hell - a hundred bucks. She opens her robe and shows one. He promptly thanks her and throws a 100 dollar bill on the table.

They sit there a while longer and Chris says, "I've just got to see the both of them. I'll give you another 100 bucks if I could see the both of them together."

Sara thinks about this and says what the hell opens her robe and gives Chris a nice long look. Chris thanks her and throws another 100 bucks on the table, then says he can't wait any longer for Tony and leaves.

A while later Tony arrives home and his wife says "You know, your weird friend Chris came over."

Tony thinks about this for a second and says "Well, did he drop off the 200 bucks he owes me?"
******

Modern Nursery Rhyme
Old Mother Hubbard
Went to the cupboard
To get her poor doggie a bone
But when she bent over
Rover drove her
‘Cause her dog had a bone of its own!
******

Why does a blonde only change diaper on her baby once a month?

Because it says good for up to 20 pounds
******

Newfie Girlfriend
A guy took his Newfie girlfriend to her very first football game. After the game, he asked her how she enjoyed it.

"I did enjoy it, but I still can't understand why they were trying to kill each other for 25 cents."

"What are you talking about?" he asked her.

"All I kept hearing everyone yell was, 'Get the quarter back!'" she replied.
******

I farted in an elevator yesterday... it was wrong on so many levels.
******

Importance of Accuracy
A new monk arrives at the monastery. He is assigned to help the other monks in copying the old texts by hand. He notices, however, that they are copying from copies, not the original manuscripts. 

So, the new monk goes to the head monk to ask him about this. He points out that if there were an error in the first copy, that error would be continued in all of the other copies. 

The head monk says, "We have been copying from the copies for centuries, but you make a good point, my son." So, he goes down into the cellar with one of the copies to check it against the original. 

Hours go by and nobody sees him. So, one of the monks goes downstairs to look for him. He hears sobbing coming from the back of the cellar and finds the old monk leaning over one of the original books crying. He asks the old monk what's wrong, and in a choked voice came the reply... 

"The word is 'CELEBRATE!"
******

What is the definition of eternity?

Four blondes in four cars at a four way intersection.
******

A string goes into a bar …
A string goes into a bar, slides onto the barstool and asks the bartender to give him a beer.

"I don't serve strings," the bartender says.

The string goes home, ties himself in a knot, and frays the top of himself. He then returns to the bar and again asks the bartender to give him a beer.

"Hey, aren't you the string that was just here?" asks the bartender.

The string replies, "No... I'm a frayed knot."
******

Q: What's the difference between a pregnant woman and a lightbulb?

A: You can un-screw a lightbulb!
******

Survival Lesson
An army trainer was teaching his recruits about survival in the desert. "What are the three most important things you should bring with you in case you get lost in the desert?" he asked.

Several hands went up, and many important things were suggested such as food, matches, etc. Then George in the back eagerly raised his hand.

"Yes George, what are the three most important things you would bring with you?"

George replied: "A compass, a canteen of water, and a deck of cards."

"Why's that George?"

"Well," answered George, "the compass is to find the right direction, the water is to prevent dehydration..."

"And what about the deck of cards?" asked trainer impatiently.

"Well, Sir, as soon as you start playing Solitaire, someone is bound to come up behind you and say, "Put that red nine on top of that black ten!"
 ******

Confucius Says:
It take many nails to build crib but one screw to fill it.
******

Q: What's the worst trick you can do to your blind brother?

A: Leave the plunger in the toilet
******

Two Morons
Two morons stand on a cliff with their arms outstretched. One has some budgies lined up on each arm, the other has parrots lined up on his arms.

After a couple of minutes, they both leap off the cliff and fall to the ground. Lying next to each other in intensive care at the hospital, one moron says to the other, "I don't think much of this budgie jumping."

The other moron replies, "Yeah, I'm not too keen on this paragliding either."
******

Good Advice
Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in his shoes.

Then when you do criticize that person, you'll be a mile away and have his shoes.
******

Sometimes I wake up grumpy, other times I let her sleep.
******

Violin Practice
Little Harold was practicing the violin in the living room while his father was trying to read in the den.

The family dog was lying in the den, and as the screeching sounds of little Harold's violin reached his ears, he began to howl loudly.

The father listened to the dog and the violin as long as he could. Then he jumped up, slammed his paper to the floor and yelled above the noise,

"For pity's sake, can't you play something the dog doesn't know?"
******


Happy Friday, eh!

Sunday, March 19, 2017

How the Meanings of Words Change



How the Meanings of Words Change


Stick around long enough and you'll notice that language changes—whether you like it or not. Consider this recent report from columnist Martha Gill on the redefinition of the word literally:
It's happened. Literally the most misused word in the language has officially changed definition. Now as well as meaning "in a literal manner or sense; exactly: 'the driver took it literally when asked to go straight over the traffic circle,'" various dictionaries have added its other more recent usage. As Google puts it, "literally" can be used "to acknowledge that something is not literally true but is used for emphasis or to express strong feeling." . . .

"Literally," you see, in its development from knock-kneed, single-purpose utterance, to swan-like dual-purpose term, has reached that awkward stage. It is neither one nor the other, and it can't do anything right."
(Martha Gill, "Have We Literally Broken the English Language?" The Guardian [UK], August 13, 2013)
Changes in word meanings (a process called semantic shift) happen for various reasons and in various ways. Four common types of change are broadening, narrowing, amelioration, and pejoration. (For more detailed discussions of these processes, click on the highlighted terms.)
  • Broadening
    Also known as generalization or extension, broadening is the process by which a word's meaning becomes more inclusive than an earlier meaning. In Old English, for instance, the word dog referred to just one particular breed, and thing meant a public assembly. In contemporary English, of course, dog can refer to any hairy, barking, four-legged creature, and thing can refer to, well, anything.
  • Narrowing
    The opposite of broadening is narrowing (also called specialization or restriction), a type of semantic change in which a word's meaning becomes less inclusive. For example, in Middle English, deer could refer to any animal, and girl could mean a young person of either sex.
  • Amelioration
    Amelioration refers to the upgrading or rise in status of a word's meaning. For example, meticulous once meant "fearful or timid," and sensitive meant simply "capable of using one's senses."
  • Pejoration
    More common than amelioration is the downgrading or depreciation of a word's meaning, a process called pejoration. The adjective silly, for instance, once meant "blessed" or "innocent," officious meant "hard working," and aggravate meant to "increase the weight" of something.
Over the course of time, words "slip-slide in all directions," says linguist Jean Aitchison, and for that reason "traditional lists of causes" (such as the list above) can "reduce semantic change to the level of stamp collecting, an assembly of colourful bits and pieces" (Language Change: Progress Or Decay? 2013).

What's worth keeping in mind is that meanings don't change over night. Different senses of the same word often overlap, and new meanings can co-exist with older meanings for centuries. In linguistic terms, polysemy is the rule, not the exception.

"Words are by nature incurably fuzzy," says Aitchison. And in recent years the adverb literally has become exceptionally fuzzy. In fact, it has slipped into the rare category of Janus words, joining terms like sanction, bolt, and fix that contain opposite or contradictory meanings.

Martha Gill concludes that there's not much we can do about literally, "other than avoid it completely." The awkward stage that it's going through may last for quite some time. "It is a moot word," she says. "We just have to leave it up in its bedroom for a while until it grows up a bit."

Saturday, March 18, 2017

100 Irregular Plural Nouns in English




The plural form of wolf is wolves. Guy Edwardes/Getty Images

There are no easy rules, unfortunately, for irregular plurals in English. They simply have to be learnt and remembered.
(S. Curtis and M. Manser, The Penguin Writer's Manual, 2002)

Most English nouns form their plural by adding either -s (books, bands, bells) or -es (boxes, bunches, batches). These plural forms are said to follow a regular pattern.
 
But not all nouns conform to this standard pattern. In fact, some of the most common English nouns have irregular plural forms--such as woman/women and child/children.
(The reasons for this are briefly discussed in the article Plural Forms of English Nouns.) In addition, several nouns have alternative plurals, one regular and the other irregular.

In regard to these alternative forms, there are no strict rules to guide our use of them:

People have to learn which form to use as they meet the words for the first time, and must become aware of variations in usage. When there is a choice, the classical [irregular] plural is usually the more technical, learned, or formal, as in the case of formulas vs formulae or curriculums vs curricula. Sometimes, alternative plurals have even developed different senses, as in the cases of (spirit) mediums vs (mass) media, or appendixes (in bodies or books) vs appendices (only in books).
(David Crystal, The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language, 2nd ed. Cambridge University Press, 2003)

As you'll see in the list that follows, many words with irregular plurals are loanwords that have kept their foreign plural forms (or at least held on to those forms as alternatives to regular English plurals).

List of 100 Irregular Plural Nouns in English

In the list below, you'll find singular noun forms in the left column and the corresponding plural forms in the right column. When a noun has more than one plural form, the irregular one appears first, though that doesn't necessarily mean that the irregular form is more widely accepted than the regular form.
SOURCES: The plural forms in this list are recognized by Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary (2003) and The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (2011).

addendum
addenda or addendums
aircraft
aircraft
alumna
alumnae
alumnus
alumni
analysis
analyses
antenna
antennae or antennas
antitheses
apex
apices or apexes
appendices or appendixes
axis
axes


bacillus
bacilli
bacterium
bacteria
basis
bases
beau
beaux or beaus
bison
bison
bureau
bureaux or bureaus


cactus
cacti or cactus or cactuses
château
châteaux or châteaus
child
children
codex
codices
concerto
concerti or concertos
corpora
crisis
crises
criteria or criterions
curriculum
curricula or curriculums


datum
data
deer
deer or deers
diagnosis
diagnoses
die
dice or dies
dwarf
dwarves or dwarfs


ellipses
erratum
errata


faux pas
faux pas
fez
fezzes or fezes
fish
fish or fishes
focus
foci or focuses
foot
feet or foot
formula
formulae or formulas
fungus
fungi or funguses


genus
genera or genuses
goose
geese
graffito
graffiti
grouse
grouse or grouses


half
halves
hoof
hooves or hoofs
hypothesis
hypotheses


index
indices or indexes


larva
larvae or larvas
libretto
libretti or librettos
loaf
loaves
locus
loci
louse
lice


man
men
matrix
matrices or matrixes
media or mediums
memoranda or memorandums
minutia
minutiae
moose
moose
mouse
mice


nebula
nebulae or nebulas
nucleus
nuclei or nucleuses


oasis
oases
offspring
offspring or offsprings
opus
opera or opuses
ovum
ova
ox
oxen or ox


parentheses
phenomenon
phenomena or phenomenons
phylum
phyla
prognosis
prognoses


quiz
quizzes


radius
radii or radiuses
referendum
referenda or referendums


salmon
salmon or salmons
scarf
scarves or scarfs
self
selves
series
series
sheep
sheep
shrimp
shrimp or shrimps
species
species
stimulus
stimuli
stratum
strata
swine
swine
syllabus
syllabi or syllabuses
symposium
symposia or symposiums
synopses


tableau
tableaux or tableaus
theses
thief
thieves
tooth
teeth
trout
trout or trouts
tuna
tuna or tunas


vertebra
vertebrae or vertebras
vertex
vertices or vertexes
vita
vitae
vortex
vortices or vortexes


wharf
wharves or wharfs
wife
wives
wolf
wolves
woman
women