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Back to the Bushisms industry?

That's what David Donnell wondered about this article: Jack Shafer, "Donald Trump Talks Like a Third-Grader", Politico 8/13/2015: Donald Trump isn’t a simpleton, he just talks like one. If you were to market Donald Trump’s vocabulary as a toy, it would resemble a small box of Lincoln Logs. Trump resists multisyllabic words and complex, writerly […]

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From Bushisms to la langue François

Remember the Bushisms industry? Something similar, mutatis mutandis, seems to be springing up in France. Stéphane Ratti, "De la langue française à la langue François", Le Figaro 2/14/2015: Pourquoi François Hollande s'acharne-t-il à massacrer ainsi la langue française dans toutes ses interventions? Plusieurs analystes se sont à juste titre posé la question après avoir, avec […]

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Bushisms fewer than expected?

We've spent a lot of electrons attacking the Bushisms industry — but we've never tried to make the argument that John Hinderaker put forward a couple of days ago, apparently in earnest ("The importance of being careful", 11/9/2008): In this regard, President Bush is an excellent model; Obama should take a lesson from his example. […]

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Namibia, Nambia, whatever

It's hard to keep all those African countries straight, as President Trump demonstrated in a speech to African leaders at the U.N.: Your browser does not support the audio element. Your browser does not support the audio element. Mr. Trump continues to create jobs in broadcast comedy, even for workers normally employed in other industries:

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More political text analytics

I spent a few minutes this morning getting transcripts for all 12 Republican and all 9 Democratic debates, and over the next few days I'll do some additional Breakfast Experiments™ on the results. One trivial thing is a complete type-token plot, from texts constructed by concatenating all the transcript pieces attributed to each remaining candidate […]

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Comparative diglossia

In the comments on "From Bushisms to la langue François", there was some discussion of whether French is more diglossic than English — that is, whether the differences between (formal) writing and (informal) speech are greater in French than in English. As I mentioned, it's not clear how and what to count — informal words and expressions, […]

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Repetition disfluency

Modern mass media expose us to a lot of political speech, and therefore to a lot of journalistic commentary on politicians' individual speaking styles. Regular readers know that I don't generally have a lot of sympathy for attempts to tag Politician X with his or her allegedly characteristic X-isms, whether it's the collections of Bushisms […]

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Recommended reading

Fev at headsup: the blog on "I"-wash. Seriously — how long did you figure it would take for the "narcissist" theme to surface in (ahem) some commentary on the recent events in Pakistan? […]

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Here we go again

Jacob Weisberg, who turned the Bushisms industry into a nice source of income for six years or so, must be even more excited than Rupert Murdoch about the possibility that Sarah Palin will make a serious run for president in 2012.  Weisberg's Palinisms feature at Slate has already notched 71 little items, and the first […]

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Surcame?

On January 4, Cornel West was asked on MSNBC to evaluate the state of the country and President Obama's performance. On January 5 and 6, Rush Limbaugh carried on at some length about a speech error in Prof. West's answer. On January 7, Ann Althouse joined the conversation. My modest contribution today is to describe […]

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Political X-isms

Comedians and cartoonists continue to have fun with Sarah Palin's use of refudiate, and her Shakespeare-citing defense — here's Jeff Danziger's editorial cartoon for 7/20/1010:

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Language guru runs with the journalistic pack

[Update 6/20/2010 — The linked CNN story has been extensively modified, for the better. The headline is now "Language mavens exchange words over Obama's Oval Office speech," and the article now highlights Ron Yaros along with Payack, and incorporates some information from this post. Fev at headsuptheblog has some before-and-after analysis.] It's amazing what a […]

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A gerund too far?

James Taranto starts out his latest Best of the Web column with some clever wordplay, based on the status of English as a semi-negative-concord language ("He Hasn't Accomplished Nothing", 12/1/2009): Slate's Jacob Weisberg doesn't think Barack Obama has accomplished nothing, and Weisberg ain't usin' no bad grammar neither. Weisberg disputes the "conventional wisdom about Obama"–to […]

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