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A Historic vs. An Historic

A Historic vs. An Historic | (Italian) Language | Scoop.it
Some points of English usage stir strong feelings. Placing the indefinite article “an” in front of the words historical or historic is one of these. Here are

Via Charles Tiayon
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Charles Tiayon's curator insight, September 11, 2014 1:52 AM

Some points of English usage stir strong feelings. Placing the indefinite article “an” in front of the words historical orhistoric is one of these. Here are some comments prompted by a post I wrote on this topic several years ago:

When people use “an historical” on NPR, it’s because [they’re] snooty.

Only a Cockney or an hidiot [would say] “an historic.”

[People who defend “an historic”] are pseudo-intellectual, American linguistic “posers.”

For certain Americans, it’s all about self-consciously pompous affectation!

I would never ever use “an” in front of any word with an aspirate H at the beginning. That just isn’t what it’s for, and it sounds pretentious.

The simple facts about the use of “an historical” and “an historic” are these:

1. Style guides like The Chicago Manual of StyleThe AP Stylebook, and The Penguin Writer’s Manual regard the following as correct in modern usage:
“a historical event”
“a historic event.”

2. Many speakers still say and write “an historical”–and they do so with no intention of sounding affected, pompous, or pretentious.


Pronunciation changes from generation to generation, but never in one fell swoop. Pockets of older forms continue to exist even after the majority of speakers have made the switch and authorities have recorded the new rules.

The Google Ngram Viewer provides an interesting look at the progress of “an historic” vs “a historic.” In 1800, “a historic” barely shows. It begins its rise in the 1820s. In 1869, “a historic” is neck and neck with “an historic.” The two travel along fairly close together until the First World War when “an historic” pulls ahead and dominates until 1938. After that, “a historic” becomes the clear winner, although “an historic” and “an historical” remain in use. Here are two recent examples of the use of “an historical” in the context of educated English:

Primary sources enable the researcher to get as close as possible to the truth of what actually happened during an historical event or time period. (Note on the New York University library site.)

The Making of Southern Europe: An Historical Overview (title of a recent publication of the London School of Economics)

Clearly, modern usage prefers “a historic” and “a historical,” as well as a before other “h words” that readers asked about: “a hotel,” “a horrible accident,” and “a horrific statistic.”

The word herb (succulent plant used for seasoning) is pronounced both with and without an aspirated h. “A herb” is modern British pronunciation, although British author Edith Nesbit (1858-1924) wrote “an herb” in one of her novels. Many Americans–although by no means all–say “an erb” and write “an herb.”

Unquestionably, accepted current practice is to use the indefinite article a in front of all but a very few words that begin with the letter h.

The most common exceptions are:

an heir to the throne
an honorable man
an honest man
an hour or two

Speakers who say “an historic” are not necessarily being “pretentious or snooty.” It could be that they learned the usage from family members and teachers educated in earlier generations.

Follow the style guide of your choice. Save your linguistic wrath for things like, “Me and my brother graduated from Georgetown.”

Sameed Ahmad's curator insight, September 11, 2014 11:42 AM

Good idea!
http://www.real-origami.blogspot.com

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Bad Grammar Are Bad for Branding - Adweek

Bad Grammar Are Bad for Branding - Adweek | (Italian) Language | Scoop.it
Adweek
Bad Grammar Are Bad for Branding
Adweek
Just in case you haven't checked in a while, the English language continues a steady slide into the ditch—and it's not just texting that's to blame, it's marketing.
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In 'Language,' love and finding the right words - Chicago Tribune

In 'Language,' love and finding the right words - Chicago Tribune | (Italian) Language | Scoop.it
In 'Language,' love and finding the right words Chicago Tribune So here's a thought. Imagine if you were to leave your boyfriend, girlfriend, lover or spouse tonight, an entire language would die as you walked out the door.
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5 Surprising Ways Your Language Affects How You Think | Cracked ...

5 Surprising Ways Your Language Affects How You Think | Cracked ... | (Italian) Language | Scoop.it
You might be surprised about the extent that your brain is wired differently depending on whether you think thoughts in Japanese, English, or Swahili.
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The Most Impossible Word to Translate in Kafka’s The Metamorphosis

The Most Impossible Word to Translate in Kafka’s The Metamorphosis | (Italian) Language | Scoop.it
Franz Kafka has been dead for nearly 90 years, which I suppose has given him ample time to get very good at haunting people.

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Charles Tiayon's curator insight, January 7, 2014 6:42 PM

Franz Kafka has been dead for nearly 90 years, which I suppose has given him ample time to get very good at haunting people. Such as, for example, Susan Bernofsky, author of a fastidious new translation of The Metamorphosis, and Jay Cantor, whose provocative story collection Forgiving the Angel dedicates itself to the gaunt specter of modernism. The books express their authors’ continuing fascination with Kafka from nominally opposite sides of the literary spectrum. Bernofsky aims to bring Kafka’s most beloved work into English once more, this time in a manner both fiercely loyal to his German and unapologetically of our place and time; Cantor splices together memoir and correspondence from those in Kafka’s orbit to create a new take on fan fiction, one both nuanced and literarily sophisticated.

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Drop these ugly Anglicisms ASAP, urge French language police - The Guardian

Drop these ugly Anglicisms ASAP, urge French language police - The Guardian | (Italian) Language | Scoop.it
The Guardian Drop these ugly Anglicisms ASAP, urge French language police The Guardian "This abbreviation of as soon as possible, which is far from transparent, seems to accumulate most of the defects of a language that hides its contempt and...
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10 Bizarre Facts about Animal Language

10 Bizarre Facts about Animal Language | (Italian) Language | Scoop.it
Cats do not meow at each other and only meow at human beings. They do use other means of communication and sounds with fellow cats. This includes hissing, body language etc. But meowing is reserved only for their human masters.
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Italian Art Center to Open in Manhattan in February - New York Times (blog)

Italian Art Center to Open in Manhattan in February - New York Times (blog) | (Italian) Language | Scoop.it
New York Times (blog)
Italian Art Center to Open in Manhattan in February
New York Times (blog)
A new foundation to promote Italian modern and contemporary art plans to open its doors to the public in SoHo in February.
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Language skills deficit costs the UK £48bn a year - The Guardian

Language skills deficit costs the UK £48bn a year - The Guardian | (Italian) Language | Scoop.it
The Guardian Language skills deficit costs the UK £48bn a year The Guardian Deficient language skills and the assumption that "everyone speaks English" are costing the UK economy around £48bn a year, or 3.5% of GDP, according to research by...
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15 Old-Timey Slang Words We Should Bring Back Immediately

15 Old-Timey Slang Words We Should Bring Back Immediately | (Italian) Language | Scoop.it
Trust me, these slang words from the 20th century are pretty jake.
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Bilingualism may delay dementia - IOL Lifestyle | IOL.co.za

Bilingualism may delay dementia - IOL Lifestyle | IOL.co.za | (Italian) Language | Scoop.it
London - Speaking a second language may delay dementia by up to five years – more than powerful drugs, researchers say. A study suggests being bilingual exercises the mind, so it has greater reserves when disease takes hold. But there are no additional advantages to speaking any more than two languages, according to the study in the journal Neurology. It was carried out by researchers from the University of Edinburgh and Nizam’s Institute of Medical Sciences in Hyderabad, India.
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Why translators love Twitter - Web Translations

Why translators love Twitter - Web Translations | (Italian) Language | Scoop.it
Freelance translation is often a solitary vocation; due to its requirement for intense periods of concentration, it lends itself best to an isolated work environment.
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Huh Means the Same Thing in Every Language

Huh Means the Same Thing in Every Language | (Italian) Language | Scoop.it
How the dynamics of human conversation gave shape to a word that knows no boundaries. ('Huh?
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11 words that are much older than you think

11 words that are much older than you think | (Italian) Language | Scoop.it
David Shariatmadari: Buzzwords: The 'recency illusion' makes us believe words and phrases we've just noticed are new.
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Texting is creating new language - The Southern

Texting is creating new language - The Southern | (Italian) Language | Scoop.it
Texting is creating new language The Southern A new language unique to cell-phone users has cropped up over the last decade.
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10 Facebook-Coined Terms That Changed the English Language

10 Facebook-Coined Terms That Changed the English Language | (Italian) Language | Scoop.it
Breaking down the terms Facebook has added to our everyday vocabulary.

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For middle managers, the power is in translation

For middle managers, the power is in translation | (Italian) Language | Scoop.it
More middle managers are realizing is that their positions are powerful ones. The middle vantage point allows them to understand more about what’s going on in the organization than those at the top or bottom.
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The Americans are destroying the English language – or are they?

The Americans are destroying the English language – or are they? | (Italian) Language | Scoop.it

In 1995 Prince Charles caused a ruckus when he lamented the unchecked spread of American English – and the effect of American usage is one that’s perennially lamented. But is it true?


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10 Effective Tips To Write Professional Email That Works

10 Effective Tips To Write Professional Email That Works | (Italian) Language | Scoop.it
Sending Emails has been a part of everyone’s professional life. Here are certain tips to help you write effective professional Emails the next time.
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Should We Be Borrowing Words from Different Cultures?

Should We Be Borrowing Words from Different Cultures? | (Italian) Language | Scoop.it
Language has evolved along with time and we have been increasingly incorporating new terms and definitions to our vocabulary. Furthermore, in a world so highly
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Mandela Memorial Interpreter Admitted To Psychiatric Hospital | SA Breaking News

Mandela Memorial Interpreter Admitted To Psychiatric Hospital | SA Breaking News | (Italian) Language | Scoop.it
The fake sign language interpreter, Thamsanqa Jantjie, has been admitted to the Sterkfontein Psychiatric Hospital, reported The Star on Thursday.
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How the Internet is killing the world's languages - Washington Post (blog)

How the Internet is killing the world's languages - Washington Post (blog) | (Italian) Language | Scoop.it
Washington Post (blog) How the Internet is killing the world's languages Washington Post (blog) Less than five percent of current world languages are in use online, according to a recent study by prominent linguist András Kornai -- and the Internet...
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Language is in our biology

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If you want to master languages, you should pick your parents with care, new research from Norway shows. A good working memory is perhaps the brain's most important system when it comes to learning a new language.
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William Weaver, acclaimed translator, dies at 90

William Weaver, one of the world's most honored and widely read translators who helped introduce English-language readers to the works of Umberto Eco, Italo Calvino and many other Italian writers, has died.
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Why Do Qualified Sign Language Interpreters Get Less Work? | Street Leverage

Why Do Qualified Sign Language Interpreters Get Less Work? | Street Leverage | (Italian) Language | Scoop.it
Kendra Keller suggests the by-pass model of practice created by the frenetic demand for sign language interpreters leaves the most qualified of practitioners out of work.

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Charles Tiayon's curator insight, November 13, 2013 1:01 AM

In a recent conversation with Tom Holcomb about certified vs. qualified sign language interpreters, he said something that surprised me. He shared that approximately 90% of the interpreters referred to work with him outside of his professional faculty position and public presentations, were not certified. From inside my bubble of privilege and pursuit of my own credentials and qualifications, this was shocking.

I took a minute and then asked, “What type of appointments?” Tom replied, “Trips to the doctor, consultations about house and home, travel, and school meetings.” Thinking to myself that perhaps I’d been mistaken about the value of certification to Tom and the referral services that sent the interpreters I asked how these appointments had gone.  He said, “I was just glad someone showed up…he presumed that most good interpreters were already busy with other assignments.”

Bypassing Traditional Routes of Entry

We all have experiences where certification does not always equal qualified or ensure quality work.  Tom said that the overall quality of the interpreters was “so-so.”   I suggested to Tom that there were qualified, certified interpreters who were not being referred. To which he responded, “if good interpreters are being passed over and consequently I’m forced to settle for less…I may have a different attitude about what to expect.” The realities we spoke of surprised us both.

Do consumers of our service really expect less?  I think they do.

I believe we can attribute the current state of affairs to many factors—all of which are tied to how we have chosen to meet the demand for the service we provide. As we know the demand for interpreters has skyrocketed. In response, a supply chain was created that has shifted the influx and approval for readiness of sign language interpreters out of the hands of the deaf community, as expressed in Molly Wilson’s vlog “Bypass” (Bypass, Molly Wilson). We have created a detour, a diversion and it is having a powerful impact on all of us. This bypass has excluded necessary and important voices regarding the quality of interpreting services.

- See more at: http://www.streetleverage.com/2013/11/why-do-qualified-sign-language-interpreters-get-less-work/#sthash.JJXfomoe.dpuf