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September 23, 2012

Gaffes

Everybody says the wrong thing sometimes. When politicians or celebrities do it, we call it a gaffe.

Fortunately for most of us, what we say or write is...

...quickly forgotten.

Not so with politicians - especially in election years.

For better or worse, the whole world knows about the current presidential election in the United States, and though I certainly have my political preferences, I'm going to focus right now on language; how it is used and what it means during this peculiar season.

Here's a collection of the biggest (or is it best) gaffes of the early part of the 2012 campaign, but be sure to stay tuned, I'm sure there will be even better ones in the next few weeks - http://powerwall.msnbc.msn.com/politics/biggest-2012-campaign-gaffes-10599.gallery.

And, above all, be careful. Your words may come back to haunt you. Here's a collection of strange to preposterous interpretations of US historical events from conservative political candidates - some of whom, were even elected - http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/shouts/2012/09/a-conservative-history-of-the-united-states.html.

Some gaffes are just factual mistakes or confused metaphors,. Others can be nasty and just plain toxic, and could mean the end of a promising career. Here's an article that analyzes the difference - http://www.cnn.com/2012/08/24/opinion/obeidallah-political-gaffes/index.html.

What amazes me the most though, is when a gaffe is made and the person who said the ridiculous, obviously false or absolutely embarrassing statement refuses to admit that they said something out of line.

And if you want to show your disdain for the whole political process - and both parties - take a look here for a great gift idea - http://www.dead-weights.com/.

Last, but certainly not least, take a look at this history of the @ sign - http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/The-Accidental-History-of-the-at-Symbol-165593146.html?fb_action_ids=10151217893773203&fb_action_types=og.recommends&fb_source=aggregation&fb_aggregation_id=246965925417366.

As always, send us any words or phrases that make you crazy and be sure to let us know what it is about English and language learning that you find confounding, infuriating or endlessly intriguing.

Listen, read and speak. Make your new language your own.

My best to you as you make your way through this intriguing , constantly shifting linguistic landscape.

Morf

Posted by mmorf at September 23, 2012 09:30 PM

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