language

It just looks better that way

In Old English the past tense of “can” did not have an “l” in it, but “should” and “would” (as past tenses of “shall” and “will”) did. The “l” was stuck into “could” in the 15th century on analogy with the other two.

From Arika Okrent, in a MentalFloss piece about the weird history of some spellings. The piece has other examples of spelling changes to conform words to some aesthetic or another, even when those changes were inconsistent with the history and etymology of the word. And here’s a reminder to myself about the author’s book on invented languages.

On disfluencies

Your Speech Is Packed With Misunderstood, Unconscious Messages, by Julie Sedivy: Since disfluencies show that a speaker is thinking carefully about what she is about to say, they provide useful information to listeners, cueing them to focus attention on upcoming content that’s likely to be meaty. […]   Experiments with ums or uhs spliced in or […] » about 300 words

The Flickr Is A Series Of Tubes

It’s hard to be angry with Flickr about unexpected downtime when they post funny things like this. For my part, this is more than just an excuse to link to DJ Ted Stevens’ Internet Song (yeah, “the internet is a series of tubes”), it’s an excuse to point out how Flickr apparently knows how to […] » about 100 words

Inclusion or Exclusion By Language

…The time for pedantic purism is past; if we wish to communicate with the larger audience, we must use language they understand. We do not have the luxury of defining our words, their definitions are thrust upon us by usage. I was struck by how much that sounds like something I might have said about […] » about 300 words

Context, Language, Systems

“Bagged products” is little better than “cookery.” I’m gonna bet that no customer has ever asked the sales people for “bagged products,” that nobody’s ever checked the yellow pages for “bagged products,” and without context, nobody would come close to answering a question on what the heck “bagged products” are all about. But we do […] » about 300 words

Speaking My Language

| I loved <a href="http://www.brandingblog.com/2004/12/monday_morning_.html">this quote</a> from Dave Young <a href="http://maisonbisson.com/blog/post/10914/">when I first found it</a>, and I love it more now: <blockquote>Talk to the customer in the language of the customer about what matters to the customer. Bad advertising is about you, your company, your product or your service. Good advertising is about the customer, and how your product or service will change their world.</blockquote> Read that again, but replace the relevant bits with “user” or “patron” and “your library” or “your databases.” The point of all this in a post from Jessamyn about <a href="http://www.librarian.net/stax/1679" title="understanding what users understand">understanding what users understand</a>. » about 300 words

The Language Of Your Website

Lynne Puckett on the Web4Lib list pointed me to Web Pages That Suck and highlighted this quote from the site:

Nobody cares about you or your site. Really. What visitors care about is getting their problems solved. Most people visit a web site to solve one or more of the following three problems.

  • They want/need information
  • They want/need to make a purchase / donation.
  • They want/need to be entertained.

Too many organizations believe that a web site is about opening a new marketing channel or getting donations or to promote a brand. No. It’s about solving your customers’ problems. Have I said that phrase enough?

Then, while Googling for something else I ran across a post in Branding Blog

If you’ve heard me speak publicly, you’ve heard me say, “Talk to the customer in the language of the customer about what matters to the customer. Bad advertising is about you, your company, your product or your service. Good advertising is about the customer, and how your product or service will change their world.” Do you know the language of your customers?

Connected, no?