Monday, June 28, 2010

Oops... I've Been a Bad Google User

As I scrolled through the Twitter updates this evening, I ran across an interesting tweet from @mightyredpen, who posted a link to an article about how to use the word Google: Google Permissions.

Before I begin, let me first say that I love the Google company and all that it has done for search engines and internet fun (including my beloved Gmail and Chrome and Blogger). Now that I've professed my love, though, I must say that if you read the entire page, you might be left scratching your head--just as I am.

Allow me to quote some of my favorite specifications for how to properly use the word Google:
Use the trademark only as an adjective, never as a noun or verb, and never in the plural or possessive form.
Oops. I google things daily and talk about Google as an entity. Apparently I need to say 'I used the Google search engine today', but that just sounds way too wordy for my taste.
One of the conditions for all uses is that you can't mess around with our marks. Only we get to do that. Don’t remove, distort or alter any element of a Google Brand Feature. That includes modifying a Google trademark, for example, through hyphenation, combination or abbreviation, such as: Googliscious, Googlyoogly, GaGooglemania. Do not shorten, abbreviate, or create acronyms out of Google trademarks.
After reading this, I'm begging Google inventors to come up with something Googliscious or a new feature called Googlyoogly. I mean, really, how can they resist?
Don’t use Google trademarks in a way that suggests a common, descriptive, or generic meaning.
That includes not using Google to refer to using a search engine in general, which I am also guilty of (e.g., telling someone to google something, when what I really mean is to perform an online search).

Because I love the Google company (not only because they use cute graphics around holidays on their websites but also because they are such a rockin' company), I formally apologize for misusing the Google name. However, along with that apology, I ask that the big wigs of the company reconsider the ban on using Google as parts of speech other than an adjective. It's just more convenient to tell someone, 'Go Google it!' Do you think they'll mind as long as I capitalize the verb to show it's a proper search engine I'm referring to?

Friday, June 25, 2010

Fall Schedule Finally Fixed!

With the flair of alliteration, I'm happy to announce that the fall schedule is finally fixed! Hooray! If you go to the fall schedule, you will now see that ENG 341: Introduction to Linguistics (MWF 10:00-10:50) and ENG 438: Forensic Linguistics (TR 9:30-10:45) are finally on the schedule. And that means you may now register for those courses.

Please get the word out because the only way the courses can run is if they get students registered. So please spread the good word that all linguistics courses are open for registration.

Also, if you're signed up for 344 (Structures of English) for the fall but do not necessarily need to take that course to fulfill your linguistics requirement (I'm specifically thinking of English majors out there), you might want to take a look at the other linguistics offerings for the fall.

The new courses should not have any prerequisites attached to them; that is, you should be able to register for them even if you haven't had 9 or more hours of English. If you have a problem registering because of prerequisites, please let us know immediately so we can get that fixed.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

lolcats: A new type of English?

I'm fascinated by the turns English takes, especially as the internet plays a bigger role in developments of language change. One change I've never quite understood, though, is the use of 'shortcuts' when texting or instant messaging someone. I don't understand how typing 'l8r' saves energy when it takes me longer to find and reach the appropriate number key than it would for me to type the 'ate' in the middle of the word. It also takes more energy for me to find the '^' key than it does for me to simply type 'up.' Since I don't see how shortcuts are actually shortcuts, I tend to think people use them to be "cool". I have obviously never been cool in the texting world, as I happily correctly punctuate and capitalize my sentences with words that are correctly spelled when I text.

My students introduced me to an online site that takes English computer lingo to the next level: lolcats. On the site, you can find examples of English like this:
We r adding favorite buttons 2 sum classic lolz, so u can favorite dem!
I find it hilarious that in the middle of these sentences, you see words like 'sum' and 'awt' interspersed with correctly spelled 'adding' and 'favorite' and 'classic.' Why do 'sum' and 'awt' and 'dem' but not 'klasik' and 'favrit' (or some other shortened/changed spelling)?

Banner on 'lolcats' homepage, which is
Even the website's name, 'i can has cheez burger', has such a discrepancy: Why not use 'haz' instead of 'has'?

During the summer session, I have a student who wants to work with the language used with lolcats, so I'm looking forward to seeing what she uncovers in her investigation. In the meantime, I'll be staring at the words on the website, wondering why anyone would take the time to develop such crazy spellings for English words when English spelling is crazy enough as it is.