The Web of Language

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Dennis Baron's go-to site for language and technology in the news
Results for "March, 2010"

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  • The day I took this screenshot there were more than 9.4 million entries in Wikipedia's multilingual database. In addition to more than 3.2 million articles in English and close to a million in French, there were over 1,000 articles in Nahuatl, a language with 1.3 million speakers, and 100 or more articles in languages like Tok Pisin (4 million speakers) and Aymara (2.4 million speakers).

    Wikipedia: write first, ask questions later

    Admit it, we all use Wikipedia. The collaborative online encyclopedia is often the first place we go when we want to know a fact, a date, a name, an event. We don't even have to seek out Wikipedia: in many cases it's the top site returned when we google that fact, date, name, or event. But as much as we've come to rely on it, Wikipedia is also the online source whose reliability we most often question or ridicule.

  • Should everybody write? Or is there enough junk on the internet already?

    "Should everybody write?" That's the question to ask when looking at the cyberjunk permeating the World Wide Web. The earlier technologies of the pen, the printing press, and the typewriter, all expanded the authors club, whose members create text rather than just copying it. The computer has expanded opportunities for writers too, only faster, and in greater numbers. More writers means more ideas, more to read. What could be more democratic? More energizing and liberating? But some critics find the glut of internet prose obnoxious, scary, even dangerous. They see too many people, with too little talent, writing about too many things.

  • The ten-year rate of unemployment among grammarians consistently outpaces the general jobless rate

    Who cares about National Grammar Day? Or is it whom?

    It’s National Grammar Day, and the number of grammarians are filing first-time unemployment claims is growing.