Saturday, March 19, 2016

Someone is wrong on the Internet

And by someone I don't mean just anyone, but @EdwardTufte.

Verbs = what things DO, not what they're named.Languages have too many nouns, too few verbs. So why do style guides say cut back on adverbs?

ET is, of course, a god, but...

a god, it would seem, unfamiliar with the fabulous verbs of Greek, Arabic, Hebrew, Japanese, Turkish, Russian and Hungarian.  (I don't suggest that this is a comprehensive list.)  ET! ET! ET! What words have passed the barrier of your, erm, fingers?

Also, I take exception to the claim that a language can have too many nouns.  Czech, I think (but memory may deceive) has a word for the space under a bed.  This is a Rachel Whiteread of a noun; we could, in fact, do with more.


Mithridates said...

Bizarrely, I have been blocked from his Twitter account. WHAT THE HELL? I barely even tweet. I need to invent a new noun for the place in the universe into which one is hurled after learning that one has been blocked by Edward Tufte. Christ. What could I have done?????

Helen DeWitt said...

Now I will probably find I have joined you there.

I suppose it's POSSIBLE that someone hacked into your Twitter account and used it to troll Edward Tufte, but it seems wildly improbable.

Helen DeWitt said...

Mind you, Twitter has a way of making one say What have I DONE? A perfectly innocuous retweet goes out in the world, and the number of followers promptly goes down. Why? Are these people who turn to Twitter for flame wars? Who rashly followed @helendewitt only to discover how drearily blameless it is? No doubt people grow disenchanted with a blog, too, but the blogger is not alerted to deserters every time s/he ventures on a post.