Category Archives: Language

Peter Piper’s Practical Principles of Plain and Perfect Pronunciation (1836)

Peter piper, without pretension to precocity or profoundness, puts pen to paper to produce these puzzling pages, purposely to please the palates of pretty prattling playfellows, proudly presuming that with proper penetration it will probably, and perhaps positively, prove a peculiarly pleasant and profitable path to proper, plain and precise pronunciation.

He prays parents to purchase this playful performance, partly to pay him for his patience and pains; partly to provide for the printers and publishers; but principally to prevent the pernicious prevalence of perverse pronunciation.

Simplifying English Spelling

The European Union commissioners have announced that agreement has been reached to adopt English as the preferred language for European communications, rather than German, which was the other possibility. As part of the negotiations, Her Majesty’s Government conceded that English spelling had some room for improvement and has accepted a five-year phased plan for what… Read More »

The Interrobang Character “‽” Was Used in a Court Opinion

The interrobang character “‽” was used in a court opinion on June 13, 2012. The interrobang, also known as the interabang, is a nonstandard punctuation mark used in various written languages and intended to combine the functions of the question mark (also called the “interrogative point”) and the exclamation mark or exclamation point (known in… Read More »


Oxford dictionary defines pangram as “A sentence or verse that contains all the letters of the alphabet.” The ultimate pangram is one which is only 26 letters long. Some examples of pangrams: Pack my box with five dozen liquor jugs. The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog. Jackdaws love my big sphinx of… Read More »

Happy Birthday!

I have high confidence in the translations in bold text. If you can provide a better translation for any of these, please leave a comment below. Afrikaans Gelukkige verjaarsdag! Albanian Gëzuar ditëlindjen! Amharic መልካም ልደት! Arabic عيد مولد سعيد! Armenian Ծնունդդ շնորհավոր! Azerbaijani Ad günün mübarək! Basque Zorionak! or Pozik Urtebetetzea! Belarusian З Днём Нараджэння!… Read More »

Let’s Keep the Χ in Χmas

It’s getting to be that time of year again when people that can’t tell a Χ (chi) from an X (ex) start trying to take the X out of Xmas. Xmas is usually considered an abbreviation of Christmas, but it was written Xmas long before it was written Christmas. It’s a trick that’s played on the… Read More »