Should English Become The Official Language of the US? NO. Here’s Why.

It would be impossible for English to become the official language of the US, because English is not defined and has no rules.

You read that right — there are no rules for the English language, and that is why it cannot become the official language of the US. All of the rules you learned in your English class were the rules for passing that individual class and do not apply to English the language itself.

Think of it this way: are there rules for making a painting? Painting is an art, and there are no rules in art. In order to pass an art class, however, students must obey the rules that the teacher must create to conform to grading systems — but those rules do not apply to art itself.

A Bachelor of Arts in English, is an Arts degree. Art does not have rules. Art is a form of expression, and since the US constitution limits how the government’s suppression of expression, the government cannot establish an official art and remain constitutional. An official art that everyone must use would be like creating an official form of expression and eliminating or invalidating other forms of expression.

English doesn’t have rules? What about the dictionary?
English does not have rules. A dictionary is a kind of newspaper about a language, not a rule book. Think of a sports page of a newspaper that lists yesterday’s game scores. Is the newspaper suggesting that all games from those teams in the future must have those scores? No, it is merely descriptive of observations of the game. In the same way, dictionaries are descriptive of how language has been observed to have been used in the past, by the largest number of people.

Dictionaries are not prescriptive of how words are only allowed to be used, nor do they limit ways words must be used. Dictionaries serve as a troubleshooting tool to help you figure out what someone might have meant, or as a strategy to help you select a word that the largest number of people might understand with minimal questions of what you meant.

Think of a hashtag search on Twitter. If you perform a search of a particular hashtag on Twitter, you’re given a list of tweets in which that hashtag has been used in the past — not standards that limit how a hashtag must be used. A dictionary is merely a kind of hashtag search, which shows the most popular ways to use them — but not the rules for using them.

Dictionaries can be used prescriptively in certain styles of writing, but English does not have a governing style. Imagine if you were playing basketball and someone yellow-carded you for touching the ball with your hand, as if you were playing soccer. Styles of English are like different sports. Many styles are similar, such as Chicago Press Style and Associated Press Style for journalists.. similar to the way soccer and basketball both involve getting a ball into a goal. But the rules of one sport do not govern “sports” in the way that the rules you learned in English class do not govern English.

Lexicographers are people who study words and how they’re used. Lexicographers research by direct observation the ways people use words in everyday life.. in TV, newspapers, on Facebook and more, and keep a tally of the way people have used a word. Did they use it adverbially? Did they verb the word? This tally of ways people have been observed to use words go into a large database called a corpus, that dictionaries can draw statistics from about specific words. In what way was a particular word used the most often? Dictionaries then list those ways in the text of the dictionary, starting with the most frequent way, followed by other ways in descending rank.

When you look at the definitions of a word in a dictionary, you’re not looking at the only ways you’re allowed to use a word (nor spell, nor pronounce them, either). What you’re seeing is just a list of ways people have used words the most, from the past. If a newspaper were to report about a murder where the weapon used was rope, the newspaper is saying that it was observed that a murder took place using rope — not that rope must be used for all future murders. A dictionary only describes how words were previously used, by the most number of people.

In order to understand what someone from the past meant, it is important to look to a dictionary from that person’s time to see what other people from that person’s time meant when used a particular word. If a people are observed to use a word differently than the most frequent way of yesteryear, then the dictionaries will eventually change the ranking of the most frequent definitions of a word in order to be up to date. The addition or removal of a word from a dictionary doesn’t make it official or unofficial — the word simply becomes popular enough or becomes insufficiently popular to make the arbitrary minimum rank that the dictionary publisher chooses to set.

There was a recent controversy about the dictionary definition of marriage changing to match the way marriage is used. Since a dictionary does not limit the ways words are only about to be used, people who believed they did were upset that dictionaries were changing the rules on marriage.

The US cannot even plausibly enforce a law making English the official language of the US, because English itself has no rules.

References of Interest:

“Many believe that when (and only when) a word appears in a reputable dictionary it receives formal validation and can take its place in the English lexicon. … As one of a number of researchers who collect evidence of new usage for the OED, it intrigued me to think that I might be a member, even a junior member, of a shadowy cabal that sets the standards for all well-educated English speakers. No — the process really is as anarchic as it seems. This is actually a relief, since I’d hate to be held personally responsible for the current state of the language. … We are, in the language of the business, descriptive dictionary makers: we record, we collate, we analyse, and we describe what people actually say and write. If enough English speakers decide that some word or phrase has value, to the extent that those who encounter it are likely to need to consult the dictionary in search of its meaning, then it is put into new editions. .. This standpoint is sometimes misunderstood, and as often disliked. People who consult dictionaries most commonly want the tablets of the law, not a mirror to language.” — How Words Enter the Language.

“To decide which words to include in the dictionary and to determine what they mean, Merriam-Webster editors study the language as it’s used. They carefully monitor which words people use most often and how they use them. Each day most Merriam-Webster editors devote an hour or two to reading a cross section of published material, including books, newspapers, magazines, and electronic publications; in our office this activity is called “reading and marking.” The editors scour the texts in search of new words, new usages of existing words, variant spellings, and inflected forms–in short, anything that might help in deciding if a word belongs in the dictionary, understanding what it means, and determining typical usage. Any word of interest is marked, along with surrounding context that offers insight into its form and use. … Change and variation are as natural in language as they are in other areas of human life and Merriam-Webster reference works must reflect that fact. By relying on citational evidence, we hope to keep our publications grounded in the details of current usage so they can calmly and dispassionately offer information about modern English. That way, our references can speak with authority without being authoritarian.” — How does a word get into a Merriam-Webster dictionary?.

“People often send us words they have made up and ask if we will add their invented terms to one of our dictionaries. Unfortunately, the answer is probably no, because we generally only add words that have been used widely over a number of years: we assess this by looking at all the evidence we have in our files and databases. Of course, some invented words do catch on and become an established part of English, either because they fill a gap or because they are describing something new. … New terms have to be recorded in a print or online source before they can be considered: it’s not enough just to hear them in conversation or on television, although we do analyse material from Internet message boards and TV scripts. … For every new dictionary or online update we assess all the most recent terms that have emerged and select those which we judge to be the most significant or important and those which we think are likely to stand the test of time.” — How do you decide whether a new word should be included in an Oxford dictionary?.

Apparently Bicycles/Bikes With Fat Tires Are A Thing Since ~2006

Bikes with fat tires seems to have been a trend popping up as far back as 2006, where Surly Bikes may have been the first mass-production company for bikes with such large tires.

The primary innovation and reason for having such bulky tires is for their far superior performance on loose terrain like dirt, sand, and snow — preventing making such deep ruts or sinking down into the surface quite so much. According to a Gearjunkie article, the size also permits riding on a much lower tire pressure, offering a slightly better cushion for landings on the tougher frames required for such wide tires.

The wikipedia entry for the term Fatbike offers an image reportedly dated from 1932 of the concept, but it appears the application never really caught on for another 80 years later.

Does CamStudio Install A Virus? Malware? Maybe. Here’s My Story.

So, I was browsing a site and being the advertising nerd that I am, discovered that a particular ad that I really liked wasn’t a standard animated GIF but was an embedded flash file that I still couldn’t save even by looking through the source or using SWF/FLV rippers, so I decided to use an old method of a program I thought was reliable — a screen recorder called CamStudio. I had used it for years on previous machines without an issue, but no longer after this.

The first red flag should have been that such a corny little program that, as I recall, had a generic windows installer before, now had what appeared to be a sleeker graphic/skinned installer with nontraditional windows buttons and options. I was sure to deselect all of the add-on options I could determine, even nearly hitting an accept button that was grey whereas the decline button was green as if it were a trick to get you to accept by accident.

The second red flag I encountered was that after installing CamStudio, supposedly from the official site, was that it closed all of the browsers I had open — and thereby losing the page where I had seen the ad I wanted to record. I was able to find it again in history and had to refresh several times to make the desired ad appear, and was able to record it. However, several sites that I knew didn’t have a particular kind of ad (such as Koreaboo) suddenly had a new kind of ad showing up as sidebars and a bottom-of-screen [x]-able javascript-looking banner that overlaid site text. I typically use Chrome so I checked extensions with no luck.

I decided to dust off the old Malwarebytes, and give that a run and it almost immediately detected something called NetCrawler. I paused the scan, shut down Malwarebtyes without quarantining and uninstalled Netcrawler independently, and tried the same sites again and the advertising had disappeared. So far so good..

Master List of Quicker Than/ Faster Than -Jokes

Here is a list of several of the best “Quicker than a..” or “Faster than a..” one-liners that I made up or found online. I was trying to come up with something funny for a Facebook comment about how quickly I would have kicked a romantic potential to the curb based on an action he had taken against a lady friend (installing password trackers on her computer), and had trouble finding very many good ones, so I decided to make my own list!

..quicker than your mother can unbutton her overalls.
..quicker than OP is a f[****)t.
..quicker than [fat celebrity] would sign up for a butter convention (groundhog-at-a-cabbage-convention, etc)
..faster than a cheetah could pounce on a limping [political figure].
..faster than a speeding ticket.
..left faster than a [race] man after hearing the pregnancy test results.
..disappeared faster than a [snack food] at a [diet program] meeting.
..faster than the wife can figure out a way to spend it.
..lost faster than an intern’s dignity at a cigar club meeting
..gone faster than a [container of indigestion remedy/domesticated animal] in a [restaurant].
..faster than a new version of anything by Microsoft needing to be patched.
..gone faster than a toupee in a hurricane.
..disappeared faster than a watermelon in the hands of Gallagher.
..gone quicker than a cheesy poof in the hands of Cartman.
..vanished quicker than [one hit wonder]‘s music career.
..sold out quicker than a rainbow-print [clothing item] at an LBGT festival.
..faster than the babysitter’s boyfriend when the car pulls up.
..gone faster than a [expensive automotive item] at a [racial celebrity] concert.
..out quicker than [sports team] at the play-offs.

If you have any others, please feel to add in comments!

“Sorry I Haven’t A Clue” Introduction Transcripts

Sorry I Haven’t A Clue is a pun- and wordplay-filled radio program on BBC Radio 4. Each show is hosted in a particular town around the UK and includes an introduction with trivia-based-jokes about the host town. The following are transcripts of those introductions..

Series 57, Episode 1
You join us this week on a visit to the history city of Warwick. When the Romans arrived in this area in AD 52, they discovered a stone-age tribe of cannibals. Following a short battle, a truce was called and the Legionnaire Tiberius was invited by the cannibals to discuss peace terms over a feast. However, he got cold feet so he sent them back.

The standardization of time measurement was defined by the horological synod of Warwick in 1206. The council of elders decided a year would be comprised of 365 units of 24 hours each, but couldn’t arrive at a name for this unit. After three weeks of lengthy debate, the synod members got fed up and decided to call it a day.

The electronics engineer Alexander Preston lived at Church Lane with his devoted wife and seven children. Preston achieved celebrity in 1972 when he developed the first energy-saving light bulb. Sadly, from then on he didn’t see much of his family.

The UK headquarters of the Feng Shui Society were established in Market Street, then Priory Road, then the other side of Priory Road, and then on Market Street again.

The University of Warwick mathematics professor Nigel Baxter wrote the definitive work on modern geometry. However, scandal arose on the campus when it was revealed that Baxter was conducting simultaneous affairs with a dozen women and was in a love dodecahedron.

Warwick and its historic buildings often feature in costume dramas such as Pride and Prejudice, Tom Jones, and Moll Flanders, which is why in Warwick today it is not unusual to see vaguely remembered characters from a bygone age. Let’s meet four of them — on my left, Barry Crier and Tony Hawks. And, on my right, Tim Brook-Taylor and Jeremy Hardy!

Series 57 Episode 2
You join us this week on a second visit to Warwick, where we’re guests of the Warwick Art center at the University of Warwick, conveniently located here in Coventry.

After her capture, Mary Queen of Scots was held at Coventry Castle. as a royal, Mary felt entitled to appropriate accommodation. Held in rooms which Mary first complained were too dark, Queen Elizabeth ordered bigger windows to be put in. Mary then complained that the rooms were damp, so Elizabeth ordered that larger fireplaces be built. Mary then complained that her bed was lumpy, so Elizabeth ordered that she be given a feather mattress. Mary then complained that her ceilings were too low.

Mary’s principle supporters were the McDonald clan, which, after her death, was torn apart by the Scottish reformation with father and son on opposing sides. Young McDonald was a staunch protestant and supporter of King James. But, as his father refused to renounce Catholicism, Old McDonald was burned as a heretic, thereatic, everywhere a tic tic.

In August 1642, the first skirmish between the Roundheads and Cavilers of the civil war took place at nearby Curdworth. There’s a display in the village hall of various relics including the first musket ball fired, which actually hit the church bell, started the English civil war, and won a goldfish at roundhead that died on the way home.

Warwick was the birthplace of the musical performer Billy Oliver. Generally regarded as the father of stand-up comedy, Billy’s laugh was said to be infectious. In 1918, he contracted Spanish Flu, told a joke over breakfast, and killed his entire family. Let’s meet the teams!

… More to be added as time permits. I have the audio for most shows between from present back to Series 56 and just need transcription =)

Yes, the Friends Reunion Show 2014 Is a Hoax.

The poster/image about a Friends 2014 Reunion TV show being confirmed is indeed a hoax.

A British site, Metro.co.uk (article here) and others breaks us the bad news, that, there is no such Friends reunion TV in the works at all. The image is as old as at least January 2014, and Friends show creator Marta Kauffman, “has stressed there will be no reboot of the show or a reunion.” The creator of the original hoax image states that it bore his Twitter username when he first posted it, but someone else apart from his knowledge cropped the image and removed his name and from there perhaps it gained steam.

One version, appearing on Facebook recently, has a link underneath as if to give it credibility, but the link (here, but caution) merely goes to an Amazon.com page for the entry of a paperback book that celebrates the 10 seasons of the show and may likely be a kind of ad click that gives whoever created the link a kickback for purchases made after visiting that link.