Sunday, May 11, 2008

War of Words

We all have our own pet peeves, and in our civilized world, we devise schemes to deal with them.

A common annoyance to those of us who enjoy the study of language is the proliferation of the grammatical, spelling and punctuation errors that plague our society, even in circles and professions where education should have weeded them out. In my net-surfing, I've come upon a few interesting foot soldiers in the war of words seeking to redeem language and rehabilitate those that abuse it:

-Kill the Cliche is a Web site that uses tracking technology to monitor Web sites for words and phrases that have been beaten like a dead horse. You know, those repetitive and redundant bits of lexis that just get under your skin. They tend to stick out like a sore thumb amid news reports these days, but instead of throwing the baby out with the bath water, this site has chosen to help writers who are in over their heads with the use of cliches.

-ABC News did a great little video piece about the "Human Spell Checker," a recent college grad that travels the country fixing errors on public signs. Equipped with a tool kit of markers and white-out, he's traveled from the Northeast all the way to California on a "Typo Tour" to defend the English language from devolution.

-The "Blog" of "Unnecessary" Quotation Marks postulates what signs would really mean if their makers actually meant to put quotation marks in the ghastliest of places.

Anyone found any other particularly fun contributions to the war of words?

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