Anne Curzan http://michiganradio.org en Different from, or different than? http://michiganradio.org/post/different-or-different <p></p><p>For some folks, it makes a big difference whether you say X is different <em>from </em>Y or X is different <em>than </em>Y.</p><p>This week on <em>That's What They Say</em>, host Rina Miller and University of Michigan English Professor Anne Curzan look at the confusion surrounding the use of "different from" and "different than."</p><p>According to Curzan, both forms are correct and it's just a matter of preference.</p><p>"Some people think it should be 'different from' because it is a question of exclusion, it's not a question of degree, so if things are different, you're excluding everything else," says Curzan. "Speakers have been using 'different from' and 'different than' since the 17th century. And in British English, speakers have also used 'different to', so we've got 3 different propositions happening there."</p><p>Curzan explains that with a noun, many speakers opt to use either one. For example, one might say a psychologist's view will be 'different than' an economist or a psychologist's view will be 'different from' an economist. In these cases the use of either form is correct.</p><p>What about the next phrase? Which one is right? 'Someone went missing' or 'someone is missing.'"&nbsp;Curzan says it's another case of British English entering into American English.</p><p>Which form do you prefer to use? Different from or different than? Let us know by leaving a comment below!</p><p><em>Omar Saadeh -&nbsp;Michigan Radio Newsroom</em></p><p> Sun, 20 Jul 2014 12:55:00 +0000 Rina Miller & Anne Curzan 18431 at http://michiganradio.org Different from, or different than? Various pronunciations of common words http://michiganradio.org/post/various-pronunciations-common-words <p>You say potato and I say ... well, that depends.</p><p>On this week's edition of That's What They Say, host Rina Miller and University of Michigan English Professor Anne Curzan investigate the &nbsp;various pronunciation of commonly used words.</p> Sun, 06 Jul 2014 12:05:00 +0000 Rina Miller & Anne Curzan 18244 at http://michiganradio.org Various pronunciations of common words The difference between 'one-off' and 'one of a kind' http://michiganradio.org/post/difference-between-one-and-one-kind <p>The expression 'one off' is not a one of a kind expression.</p><p>This week on <em>That's What They Say</em>, host Rina Miller and University of Michigan English Professor Anne Curzan inquire about the concept of 'one off' and its origins.</p><p>According to Curzan, 'one off' first shows up in 1934, and it means 'made or done as only one of its kind', and it's not repeated - it's a one-off product, a one-off event. Its origins are British, but has been in use in American English since the 1980s.</p> Sun, 29 Jun 2014 12:05:00 +0000 Anne Curzan & Rina Miller 18064 at http://michiganradio.org The difference between 'one-off' and 'one of a kind' Commonly used baseball expressions in everyday talk http://michiganradio.org/post/commonly-used-baseball-expressions-everyday-talk <p>Play ball!</p><p>Even when we are not talking about baseball, we are often using the language of baseball.</p><p>On this week's edition of <em>That's What They Say</em>, host Rina Miller and University of Michigan English Professor Anne Curzan&nbsp;explore baseball terminology and the expressions that are commonly used, even though the reference may have nothing to do with baseball.</p> Sun, 22 Jun 2014 12:05:00 +0000 Anne Curzan & Rina Miller 18063 at http://michiganradio.org Commonly used baseball expressions in everyday talk Salutations and closings in the digital age http://michiganradio.org/post/salutations-and-closings-digital-age <p></p><p></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Greetings!</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">In emails and letters, we address a lot of people who are not dear to us as<br />"dear."</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">On this weekend’s edition of </span><em style="line-height: 1.5;">That’s What They Say</em><span style="line-height: 1.5;">, host </span>Rina<span style="line-height: 1.5;"> Miller talks with University of Michigan English Professor Anne </span>Curzan<span style="line-height: 1.5;"> about greetings and closings used in the age of the email.</span></p> Mon, 16 Jun 2014 13:14:11 +0000 Rina Miller & Anne Curzan 17802 at http://michiganradio.org Salutations and closings in the digital age A guide to expressions of caution and disapproval http://michiganradio.org/post/guide-expressions-caution-and-disapproval <p></p><p></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Heads Up!</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Sometimes we’re warned to watch our head, but when you think about it, that&nbsp;doesn't&nbsp;seem physically possible.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">How can you watch your head?</span></p> Sun, 08 Jun 2014 12:05:00 +0000 Rina Miller & Anne Curzan 17782 at http://michiganradio.org A guide to expressions of caution and disapproval Fashionable words falling out of style http://michiganradio.org/post/fashionable-words-falling-out-style <p></p><p></p><p>Fuddy<span style="line-height: 1.5;"> </span>duddy<span style="line-height: 1.5;">!</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">If you use the word </span>‘fuddy<span style="line-height: 1.5;"> </span>duddy’<span style="line-height: 1.5;">, young people might just think you are one.</span></p> Sun, 01 Jun 2014 12:05:00 +0000 Michigan Radio Newsroom, Anne Curzan & Rina Miller 17680 at http://michiganradio.org Fashionable words falling out of style The apostrophe: its rules and why it’s confusing http://michiganradio.org/post/apostrophe-its-rules-and-why-it-s-confusing <p></p><p></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Many writers get tripped up about when the word “its” has an apostrophe and when it does not.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">On this week’s edition of&nbsp;</span><em style="line-height: 1.5;">That’s What They Say</em><span style="line-height: 1.5;">, host </span>Rina<span style="line-height: 1.5;"> Miller and University of Michigan English Professor Anne </span>Curzan<span style="line-height: 1.5;"> discuss the oftentimes confusing placement of the apostrophe.</span></p> Sun, 18 May 2014 12:05:00 +0000 Michigan Radio Newsroom, Anne Curzan & Rina Miller 17561 at http://michiganradio.org The apostrophe: its rules and why it’s confusing Excuse me, do you speak acronym? http://michiganradio.org/post/excuse-me-do-you-speak-acronym <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">What the GIF?</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">On this week’s edition of </span><em style="line-height: 1.5;">That’s What They Say</em><span style="line-height: 1.5;">, host </span>Rina<span style="line-height: 1.5;"> Miller and University of Michigan English Professor Anne </span>Curzan<span style="line-height: 1.5;"> discuss the pronunciation of the word “GIF” and the role of technology in producing new words.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Technology has given us the new word GIF and we have to figure out how to pronounce it. According to </span>Curzan<span style="line-height: 1.5;">, there is a debate about that.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">“A ‘GIF’ is a computer file format used for the compression and storage of digital video images. It’s an acronym for Graphic Interchange Format, which goes back to 1987,” Curzan says.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Upon further investigation by </span>Curzan<span style="line-height: 1.5;"> into the word GIF, she found that the original creator of the word elaborated on the proper pronunciation of GIF.</span></p><p> Sun, 11 May 2014 12:05:00 +0000 Michigan Radio Newsroom 17532 at http://michiganradio.org Excuse me, do you speak acronym? Are you a one- or a two-spacer? http://michiganradio.org/post/are-you-one-or-two-spacer <p></p><p>If you learned to type on a typewriter, you probably learned to put two spaces after a period.</p><p>On this week’s edition of <em>That’s What They Say</em>, host Rina Miller and University of Michigan English Professor Anne Curzan discuss the online debate raging about the number of spaces to place at the end of a sentence.</p> Sun, 04 May 2014 12:05:00 +0000 Michigan Radio Newsroom 17419 at http://michiganradio.org Are you a one- or a two-spacer? Where did these “effing” euphemisms come from? http://michiganradio.org/post/where-did-these-effing-euphemisms-come <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;&nbsp;</span>&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>We have found many ways to say curse words without actually saying them.</p><p>On this week’s edition of <em>That’s What They Say</em>, host Rina Miller and University of Michigan English Professor <a href="http://www-personal.umich.edu/~acurzan/">Anne Curzan</a> discuss euphemisms for taboo words.</p><p>The presence of euphemisms shows how impactful words can be. Curzan describes, "Words are enormously powerful and they can do a lot of damage, which is why with some of them, we find ways to get around actually saying them."</p><p>One of the first English-language euphemisms for a taboo word was "criminy," which showed up in 1681. Speakers used this word to avoid saying "Christ."</p><p>The origins of "gee," as in "gee willikers" or "gee whiz," are less clear. Some linguists believe these euphemisms came from "gee willikens" as a substitute for "Jerusalem," which was a common exclamation of surprise in the 19<sup>th</sup> century.</p><p> Sun, 27 Apr 2014 12:05:00 +0000 Michigan Radio Newsroom 17251 at http://michiganradio.org Where did these “effing” euphemisms come from? Why a "spendthrift" isn't thrifty http://michiganradio.org/post/why-spendthrift-isnt-thrifty <p>Spendthrifts are more spendy than thrifty, so the word spendthrift doesn’t seem to make much sense.</p><p>This week on <em>That’s What They Say, </em>host Rina Miller and University of Michigan English Professor <a href="http://www-personal.umich.edu/~acurzan/">Anne Curzan</a> discuss the seemingly oxymoronic word spendthrift.</p><p>While <em>thrifty </em>refers to being economical with money, <em>spendthrift </em>means the exact opposite—someone who spends money irresponsibly. Curzan explores the etymology of <em>thrifty </em>to get to the bottom of <em>spendthrift. </em></p> Fri, 25 Apr 2014 14:30:00 +0000 Michigan Radio Newsroom 17253 at http://michiganradio.org Why a "spendthrift" isn't thrifty Old vocabulary “segueing” into new vocabulary http://michiganradio.org/post/old-vocabulary-segueing-new-vocabulary <p></p><p>Segues are unrelated to segments, although the two words sound similar and are both about parts.</p><p>On this week’s edition of <em>That’s What They Sa</em>y, host Rina Miller and University of Michigan English Professor <a href="http://www-personal.umich.edu/~acurzan/">Anne Curzan </a>look into the etymology of <em>segue</em>.</p><p>Curzan first explored the origins of the word&nbsp;<em>segment</em>. In the late 16<sup>th</sup> century, <em>segment</em> comes into English from Latin, meaning “a piece that’s cut or broken off” or “a part of a circle.” Centuries later, <em>segment </em>also becomes a verb, meaning, “to divide into segments.”</p><p>The term segue, however, is completely unrelated to the term&nbsp;<em>segment</em>. Rather than Latin, <em>segue</em> finds its way into English through Italian as a musical term.</p><p>“Segue first shows up in English in 1740,” Curzan describes. “But for almost 200 years, it’s used primarily as an Italian term, to refer to proceeding from one movement to another in a musical piece without a break.” &nbsp;</p><p> Sun, 13 Apr 2014 12:05:00 +0000 Michigan Radio Newsroom 17161 at http://michiganradio.org Old vocabulary “segueing” into new vocabulary The vocabulary of yoopers, trolls and fudgies http://michiganradio.org/post/vocabulary-yoopers-trolls-and-fudgies <p></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;&nbsp;</span>&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>If you know where the "yoopers" and the "trolls" live, there’s a very good chance that you’re from Michigan.</p><p>On this week’s edition of&nbsp;<em>That’s What They Say,&nbsp;</em>host Rina Miller and University of Michigan English Professor <a href="http://www-personal.umich.edu/~acurzan/">Anne Curzan</a> discuss some vocabulary that is unique to the state of Michigan.</p><p>Since its recent addition to the Merriam Webster Collegiate Dictionary, <em>yooper</em>, a term referring to people from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, has gotten a lot of attention. However,&nbsp;there are plenty of other fun Michigan words that are not making headlines.</p><p>While <em>yooper </em>refers to residents of the Upper Peninsula, those that live south of the Mackinac Bridge may be lightheartedly referred to as <em>trolls </em>since they are “under the bridge.”</p><p> Sun, 30 Mar 2014 12:05:00 +0000 Michigan Radio Newsroom 17017 at http://michiganradio.org The vocabulary of yoopers, trolls and fudgies When proverbial phrases aren’t from proverbs http://michiganradio.org/post/when-proverbial-phrases-aren-t-proverbs <p></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">There are not enough proverbs in the world for everything that is proverbial.</span></p><p>On this week’s edition of <em>That’s What They Say, </em>host Rina Miller and University of Michigan Professor of English <a href="http://www-personal.umich.edu/~acurzan/">Anne Curzan</a>&nbsp;examine the overuse of the word <em>proverbial</em>.</p><p>The term <em>proverbial </em>first appears in the English language in 1475. At this time, a proverbial saying is a proverb itself. However, by the late 16<sup>th</sup> century, <em>proverbial </em>is used to describe sayings that are well-known, or merely similar to proverbs.</p><p>Nowadays, this usage continues. Curzan looked in the <a href="http://corpus.byu.edu/coca/">Corpus of Contemporary American English</a>&nbsp;to find some examples.</p><p> Sun, 23 Mar 2014 12:05:00 +0000 Michigan Radio Newsroom 16894 at http://michiganradio.org When proverbial phrases aren’t from proverbs You’re 'in-' for some confusion with prefixes http://michiganradio.org/post/you-re-some-confusion-prefixes <p>If something is inflammable, it is no longer entirely clear whether we can set it on fire, or we can’t.</p><p>On this week’s edition of <em>That’s What They Say</em>, host Rina Miller and University of Michigan English Professor <a href="http://www-personal.umich.edu/~acurzan/">Anne Curzan</a> take on the prefix “in-.”</p><p>There are two types of “in-” prefixes, and although they sound the same, they have different meanings. The first “in-” means “in or into,” like the examples <em>income</em> and <em>inland</em>. The second “in-” means “not,” as in the words <em>inedible </em>or <em>incomprehensible. </em></p><p>The term <em>inflammable</em> uses the “in or into” meaning of the prefix. Consequently, something that is <em>inflammable </em>can be put into flame.</p><p>However, the prefix has caused some confusion.</p><p> Sun, 16 Mar 2014 13:05:00 +0000 Rina Miller & Anne Curzan 16821 at http://michiganradio.org You’re 'in-' for some confusion with prefixes The audaciousness of tricky word endings http://michiganradio.org/post/audaciousness-tricky-word-endings <p>If a "preventive" measure is the same thing as a "preventative" measure, it seems hard to justify having both words.</p><p>This week on <em>That’s What They Say</em>, host Rina Miller and University of Michigan English Professor <a href="http://www-personal.umich.edu/~acurzan/">Anne Curzan</a> discuss words with multiple endings.</p><p>In this case of <em>preventive</em> and <em>preventative</em>, <em>preventive</em> is used more often. &nbsp;So is the shorter ending always more common?</p><p>“If we look at the ‘ive’ ending as in <em>preventive,</em> versus the ‘ative’ ending as in <em>preventative</em>, it’s not always the case that the shorter one wins,” Curzan argues. &nbsp;</p><p>When looking at the terms <em>exploitative</em> and <em>exploitive</em>, Curzan found that the “ative” ending is four times more common than the “ive” ending. &nbsp;Nevertheless, both of these terms are in dictionaries, making either usage correct. Sun, 02 Mar 2014 14:05:00 +0000 Michigan Radio Newsroom 16616 at http://michiganradio.org The audaciousness of tricky word endings None of our English grammar rules ‘is’ hard… or ‘are’ they? http://michiganradio.org/post/none-our-english-grammar-rules-hard-or-are-they <p></p><p dir="ltr" style="line-height:1.5909091342579236;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;"><span id="docs-internal-guid-0e2108c5-2230-9210-36cd-5b08a4af2dd4"><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Georgia; background-color: transparent; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">It seems like it should be straightforward to figure out if the subject of your sentence is singular or plural, but sometimes it’s just not.</span></span></p><p></p><p><span style="background-color: transparent; font-size: 15px; font-family: Georgia; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">On this week’s edition of That’s What They Say, University of Michigan English Professor </span><a href="http://www-personal.umich.edu/~acurzan/" style="line-height: 1.5909091342579236;"><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Georgia; background-color: transparent; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Anne Curzan</span></a><span style="background-color: transparent; font-size: 15px; font-family: Georgia; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;"> joins Weekend Edition Host Rina Miller to discuss subject-verb agreement issues. </span></p><p><span style="background-color: transparent; font-size: 15px; font-family: Georgia; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">If the subject of a sentence is </span><span style="background-color: transparent; font-size: 15px; font-family: Georgia; font-style: italic; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;"><em>you</em> or someone you know</span><span style="background-color: transparent; font-size: 15px; font-family: Georgia; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">, the corresponding verb is sometimes singular and sometimes plural. Which is correct?</span></p><p><span style="background-color: transparent; font-size: 15px; font-family: Georgia; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">The appropriate verb may depend on the sentence’s meaning. If the subject implies either you </span><span style="background-color: transparent; font-size: 15px; font-family: Georgia; font-style: italic; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">or</span><span style="background-color: transparent; font-size: 15px; font-family: Georgia; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;"> someone you know, but </span><span style="background-color: transparent; font-size: 15px; font-family: Georgia; font-style: italic; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">not </span><span style="background-color: transparent; font-size: 15px; font-family: Georgia; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">both, the verb should be singular. If the subject may refer to both you </span><span style="background-color: transparent; font-size: 15px; font-family: Georgia; font-style: italic; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">and</span><span style="background-color: transparent; font-size: 15px; font-family: Georgia; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;"> someone you know, a plural verb is acceptable. </span><img height="11px;" src="https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/M6e7fNF7WzAMXthHw9K2ec15__wzR7c9QNg5nw4mwBwtPJ-Y0vUfwrzhwKrPoGaHgBQRv0xahiaU7fNf4Hekqt8vJA7c42A94HhE8CuBx2co8GYN9gx8xRmpLA" style="line-height: 1.5909091342579236; border: 0px solid transparent;" width="624px;" /></p><p><span style="background-color: transparent; font-family: Georgia; font-size: 15px; white-space: pre-wrap; line-height: 1.5909091342579236;">“It gets a little more complicated if one of those nouns is singular and one of them is plural,” </span>Curzan<span style="background-color: transparent; font-family: Georgia; font-size: 15px; white-space: pre-wrap; line-height: 1.5909091342579236;"> warns. “Then you employ the proximity rule.”</span></p><p> Sun, 23 Feb 2014 13:05:00 +0000 Michigan Radio Newsroom 16398 at http://michiganradio.org None of our English grammar rules ‘is’ hard… or ‘are’ they? Eggcorns: When wrong becomes right http://michiganradio.org/post/eggcorns-when-wrong-becomes-right <p></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">The expression&nbsp;</span><em style="line-height: 1.5;">for all intents and purposes</em><span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;has become, for some folks, an expression about purposes that are <em>intensive</em>.</span></p><p>On this week’s edition of&nbsp;<em>That’s What They Say,&nbsp;</em>University of Michigan English Professor <a href="http://www-personal.umich.edu/~acurzan/">Anne Curzan</a>&nbsp;and Host Rina Miller discuss eggcorns, or new expressions developed when the original sayings are misheard or misinterpreted.</p><p>Linguists at the <a href="http://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/">Language Log</a> coined the term eggcorn to describe these modified phrases in 2003.</p><p>“The term <em>eggcorn</em> comes from the reshaping of the word <em>acorn</em>,” Curzan explains. “When people hear&nbsp;<em>acorn</em>, some people reinterpret it as&nbsp;<em>eggcorn</em>&nbsp;because it’s kind of shaped like an egg and it has a seed.”</p><p> Sun, 16 Feb 2014 13:05:00 +0000 Michigan Radio Newsroom 16390 at http://michiganradio.org Eggcorns: When wrong becomes right Fun words for 2014 Winter Olympics http://michiganradio.org/post/fun-words-2014-winter-olympics <div><p>The acronym YOLO has gotten a new lease on life with the "YOLO flip."</p><p>This week on&nbsp;<em>That’s What They Say</em>, Host Rina Miller and University of Michigan English Professor <a href="http://www-personal.umich.edu/~acurzan/">Anne Curzan</a>&nbsp;reveal words to know for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p></div><p>YOLO, an acronym that means “you only live once,” was popularized in 2011. Now the acronym has taken on a new meaning with the YOLO flip, a snowboarding term for the “cab double cork 1440.”</p><p>Swiss snowboarder&nbsp;Iouri&nbsp;Podladtchikov, also known as I-Pod, named the move after landing it at the 2013 X-Games.</p><p> Sun, 09 Feb 2014 13:05:00 +0000 Michigan Radio Newsroom 16318 at http://michiganradio.org Fun words for 2014 Winter Olympics