The world’s a smorgasbord for English

Originally posted on Grammar Monkeys on Aug. 30, 2011. “English doesn’t borrow from other languages. English follows other languages down dark alleys, knocks them over and goes through their pockets for loose grammar.” The origin of this quote is uncertain, but its accuracy is not in doubt: As languages go, English takes what it needs…

Portmanteaus: Word mashups

Originally posted on Grammar Monkeys on Jan. 19, 2011. This cake is choctacular! “A Lick and a Promise” is a mockumentary about stamp collecting. We’re doing a webinar on knot-tying. These three sentences contain what linguists call “portmanteau words” or “portmanteaus,” which are basically word mashups: Take two existing words that you want to combine…