LINGUAPHILES & SESQUIPEDALIANS is a group for people who love languages, words, and grammar.

Members: 215
Latest Activity: Jan 24


LINGUAPHILES & SESQUIPEDALIANS is a group for people who love languages, words, and grammar.

The only requirement for joining this group is that you possess a modicum of interest in languages, etymology, grammar, punctuation, and pronunciation. You do not have to be erudite or scholarly; you do not have to be a linguist or grammarian. You just have to have the desire to learn new things about language, or share the knowledge you possess.

The purpose of this group will be to help us explore the diversity of language, hone our grammar and spelling skills, understand correct word usage, expand our vocabulary, explore language and word history, and find new ways to communicate.

How we talk about things is equally important as what we talk about. Language is a part of our thinking, speaking, and writing; it is mind, tongue, and hand. It is about how we relate to other people and understand the world around us. It is communication and the exchange of ideas. It is learning, empathy, history, and politics. It can persuade, disarm, conquer, cajole, unnerve, offend, shame, enrich, encourage, inspire, destroy, or sustain. It is all these things and more.

However, the emphasis of LINGUAPHILES & SESQUIPEDALIANS is not on writing and publication. If you are interested in these topics, please join the group ATHEIST WRITERS. That does not mean that you cannot ask questions about writing here, it is just that we are not trying to compete with the well-established writer's group. I simply recommend that you use your best judgment and post your discussion in the group that best fits the topic.

The focus here will obviously be on the English language, but it is not restricted to English only. Topics can include correct spelling and grammar issues, etymology, vocabulary and usage, language history and lexicography, dialects and idioms, trivia, and resources such as books and websites.

Books & DVDs:
The Adventure of English (DVD)
The Bedford Handbook
The Big Book of Beastly Mispronunciations
Eats, Shoots & Leaves
Fowler's Modern English Usage,
Globish: How the English Language Became the World's Language
Gossip, Grooming, and the Evolution of Language
Metaphors We Live By
Modern American Usage: A Guide
The Mother Tongue
The Mountain Man's Field Guide to Grammar
Philosophy in the Flesh
Speaking in Tongues: The History of Language
The Story of Human Language
The Stuff of Thought: Language as a Window into Human Nature
There's a Word for It

Other A|N groups of interest:

Nexus Book Club
Atheist Librarians
Athiest Writers

External Links:
Wold Wide Words
Modern Language Association
Common Errors in English
The Global Language Monitor
Guide to Grammar and Style
The Elements of Style
How to Speak and Write Correctly
World Wide Words
Online Etymology Dictionary
The Rosetta Project
The Phrontistery
Charles Harrington Elster

Discussion Forum

Wandering Words

Started by tom sarbeck. Last reply by Grinning Cat Dec 7, 2014. 5 Replies

Quotes on Language

Started by A Former Member. Last reply by James M. Martin Nov 27, 2014. 60 Replies

One Letter Words, a Dictionary

Started by tom sarbeck Aug 7, 2014. 0 Replies

Emotionally loaded vowels

Started by Ruth Anthony-Gardner. Last reply by Grinning Cat Aug 1, 2014. 1 Reply

Decline in writing accuracy.

Started by Ruth Anthony-Gardner. Last reply by Grinning Cat May 4, 2014. 38 Replies

Automatic captions and fiberglass growth factor

Started by Ruth Anthony-Gardner. Last reply by Loren Miller Feb 23, 2014. 2 Replies

Changes to word meanings.

Started by Idaho Spud. Last reply by Dogly Feb 7, 2014. 4 Replies

Typos and Other Sources of Humor

Started by Glenn Sogge. Last reply by Ruth Anthony-Gardner Nov 26, 2013. 162 Replies

Sex Symbols

Started by A Former Member May 26, 2013. 0 Replies

18 obsolete words, which should never have gone out of style

Started by A Former Member. Last reply by A Former Member May 7, 2013. 7 Replies

A Man of Many Words

Started by A Former Member May 7, 2013. 0 Replies

Rape culture embedded in language

Started by Ruth Anthony-Gardner. Last reply by Grinning Cat Mar 8, 2013. 1 Reply

Txtng and the future of English

Started by Grinning Cat Mar 3, 2013. 0 Replies

Who dunnit? The not-so-insignificant quirks of language

Started by A Former Member. Last reply by Ruth Anthony-Gardner Feb 24, 2013. 8 Replies

Two layers of language

Started by Ruth Anthony-Gardner Feb 22, 2013. 0 Replies

Steven Pinker: Linguistics as a Window to Understanding the Brain

Started by A Former Member. Last reply by A Former Member Jan 5, 2013. 2 Replies

Text-mining stylistic and thematic connections

Started by Ruth Anthony-Gardner. Last reply by Steph S. Aug 28, 2012. 1 Reply

Throw Grammar from the Train

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Comment Wall


You need to be a member of LINGUAPHILES & SESQUIPEDALIANS to add comments!

Comment by A Former Member on October 16, 2009 at 11:55am
Comment by A Former Member on October 9, 2009 at 9:22am
It's been a while since I posted one of these.

Question of the day, from

Q: What is the etymology of volcano?

A: The original word for volcano was vulcano (c. 1611) meaning 'burning mountain' from the Latin Vulcanus or Volcanus. Vulcan was the Roman god of fire and metalworking (son of Jupiter and Juno and corresponding to the Greek god Hephaestus) and the term volcano was first applied to Mt. Etna by the Romans; it was viewed as the seat of this God, the place where he forged thunderbolts that caused such eruptions. It was changed to volcano around 1690. A volcano is a vent in the earth's crust, usually a depression or crater atop a somewhat conical hill or mountain which contains molten or hot rock and steam that is ejected from the vent. There are types of volcano: mud, shield, and pseudo.
Comment by Glenn Sogge on October 7, 2009 at 1:03pm
I don't know if it was a compliment but, as you say, it could easily be for those who like what is described. If the context is so important to the understanding, though, it would seem that learning the word outside of dictionary study would be problematic. How would one learn such opposite connotations purely from usage? If you ran across the word in several sources, how would you reconcile the feeling that one or the other use was probably (but based on limited evidence) incorrect?
Comment by Glenn Sogge on October 7, 2009 at 12:32pm
Don -- I don't have easy access to my OED right now but I seem to remember the history starting out with the 'copius' and 'plump' senses and then changing to the 'excessive' and 'nauseating' senses. In other words, it used to be a description to say 'fulsome female' but it has now become an insult.
Comment by Glenn Sogge on October 7, 2009 at 12:08pm
Thanks for the image tip. I have to change browsers to see such a menu bar while commenting. Anyway ...

Comment by Stephen Moore on October 7, 2009 at 8:21am

Comment by Glenn Sogge on October 6, 2009 at 10:23pm
Just watching the Rachel Maddow show and she used the term "full-court press" in a manner that bothers me that I've been hearing for quite awhile now. The currently common usage uses the phrase to indicate something similar to an all out attack. Having grown up in the 50s and 60s, this has grated whenever I heard it because it seemed backwards. So, I just looked at the Wiki and it says, "A full-court press is a basketball term that refers to a defensive style in which the defense applies man-to-man or zone defense to pressure the offensive team the entire length of the court before and after the inbound pass." The term appeared around 1950.

I realize that language is always changing -- sometimes so much that word meanings flip 180 degrees ('fulsome' is one that comes to mind.) Have I missed the flip-flop on 'full-court press'?
Comment by Glenn Sogge on October 6, 2009 at 9:37pm
How does one insert a picture to upload? I'm obviously new here.
Comment by A Former Member on October 3, 2009 at 3:39pm
Nice word Sacha. Never heard of it before. Thanks.
Comment by sacha on October 3, 2009 at 12:47am
One of my favourite words:

In social psychology, propinquity (from Latin propinquitas, nearness) is one of the main factors leading to interpersonal attraction. It refers to the physical or psychological proximity between people.
Propinquity can mean physical proximity, a kinship between people, or a similarity in nature between things.

nearness or proximity

propinquitās (Latin)

1. nearness, propinquity, proximity (in space or time)
2. (figuratively) connection, affinity, kindred, relationship (of people)

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