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Of Interest:
textual analysis

Hair Band Word Salad

The BBC addresses an issue that has confounded us for decades: what is a “Bohemian Rhapsody?” The associated comments are equally enlightening.

Fun fact: Queen’s guitarist Brian May is an actual
rock star scientist.
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Word Search

The English language is a vast, wonderful thing. It is, in fact, the language with the largest number of words, and arguably the best documented, with most every word tracked to its sources, etymology and first use in print courtesy of the Oxford English Dictionary

We note with pleasure
a new attempt to corral a large number of the words we have in English which have no apparent derivation - ‘orphan’ words, in the field. Prof. Anatoly Liberman at the University of Minnesota has made this effort is life’s work.

He seeks to account for words we use every day, but which have no apparent source or discernible etymology. Words like frog, boy, girl, oat, dwarf or heifer seem to have shown up out of nowhere, and while getting a first date of use for many of these will be easy, sorting out their backstory seems nigh on impossible to us.

Brave lexicographer, credit to linguists everywhere...
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Shakespeare, again?

Well, this one doesn’t show any signs of slowing down...

Another scholar seeks to diminish The Bard asserting proof of Shakespeare as “collaborator” - there’s a loaded word - as divined by computer analysis of the text of his 58 (?) plays. The evidence is that a three-word phrase appears once in Henry V, and then nowhere else in Elizabethan plays but a fourth edition of Thomas Kyd’s The Spanish Tragedy.

Perhaps we’re straw-manning it a bit, but that seems a tough one to swallow. The most interesting bit about the story is the
existence of a program built to spot plagiarism in the work of law students. What, do they doubt the ethics of those who seek to enter that noble profession?
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