February 06, 2007

Language Anger Management

Do you find yourself shouting back to the radio when speakers say "less" when every educated and reasonable citizen knows full well that the right word is "fewer?" Does it drive you to distraction when an older adult tries to use teenage slang? Are you sick and tired of misuses of passives? If these and other language issues make you furious, you may need some help with your anger. You can probably benefit from the Language Log on-line seminars in language anger management.


Because of the complexity of the content, attendance in these sessions may have to be limited. So make your reservation early. Just send in lots of money and do the required readings. At this special price we offer an individualized training program containing useful suggestions to help you avoid blowing your stack every time you come face to face with some common language pressure points, such as:

1. The infuriating issues of determiner constraints, especially those with "less" instead of "fewer"

This problem leads thousands of readers to write angry letters to  editors and to rant about it  in their blogs. You can learn to control your anger about this problem once  the dimensions of the matter are clearly explained by our wise Language Log staff.

* Includes breathing techniques  along with group exercises

facilitator: Prof. Pullum


2.  Using and misusing the teenage register

If your children make you steamed when they spit in your face after they hear you say "cool" or "like" to them, you may need to get with it and learn to stifle your anger.

* Fieldwork using comic strips and round table discussions

facilitator: Prof. Liberman


3. Anger produced by the passive voice

If you are rankled and riled by passives, your nerves will be soothed by this session. You will learn that the passive is not a tense after all and benefit will be received from enlightened discussions about what the concept of voice might mean.

* Includes voice lessons and group activity (and a public burning of your copy of Strunk and White)

facilitator: Prof. Zwicky


4. Sensibly responding to Eskimo snow-word anger

If you are one of the multitudes who use this snowclone, you run the risk of angering those who know better, leading directly to your own serious, defensive and obviously uninformed angry outbursts. Nobody wins when everyone is mad. This is an issue for which the professor's noted snow-removal techniques will be a valuable addition to your speaking and writing skills.

* Helpline support provided if necessary

facilitator: Prof. Zimmer


5. Apology rage

(We regret to have to report that this session is closed to politicians and television actors)

If your own apologies fall flat or if you fume at the ill-formed and badly framed apologies of other people, this session will help you overcome your ineptness at saying how sorry you really are and, at the same time, reduce your anger when someone apologizes to you in a colossally stupid fashion. Either way, you'll learn what goes wrong with apologies and, once you understand this your life will be measurably anger-free.

* Includes live demonstrations

facilitators: Prof. Backovic, Prof. Pullum, Prof. Zimmer


6. Unbridled furor over the way acceptable usage is determined

Many people feel strongly that correct usage should be decided only by those who really know how language ought to be used. If you hate the way dictionaries and usage guides tell you what is okay or not, this session will lead you step by step through the way usage is actually determined. Whether you like it or not, it should help you achieve a calmer and satisfied life.

* Includes virtual fieldtrips through various stratas of society. Notepad required.

facilitators: Prof. Nunberg, Prof. Thomason


7. How to get over feeling dissed by a stripped cleft sluice

If Escher-like sentences with stuff that seems to be left out after wh- words drive you batty, this session will help calm your nerves. It's pretty advanced level material, however, and it may not be suitable for all audiences.

* Contains step by step analysis with slides and occasional role-playing

facilitator: Prof. Beaver


8. Recovering from fear and loathing about unnecessary scientific terminology

(warning: obscure linguistic terminology will not be dealt with in this session)

Do you seethe when you read obscure terms in treatises about chemistry, medicine, and biology? Does your own physician talk to you in lofty and unrecognizable terms? This session is intended to soothe your spirits and help you understand that all may not be lost after all.

* Incudes meditation techniques and complex graphics

facilitator: Prof. Harley


9. Ridding yourself of anger over exasperating inferences

Learn to control your anger when people use inferences instead of specificity and explicitness. You know what that's like. Special attention will be given to courtroom language, where this problem takes on special significance.

* Includes a brief introduction to elementary mind-reading

facilitator: Prof. Shuy


10. Wrath over amelioratives and pejoratives

Not everyone will want to attend this session. Politicians from both parties may find it a bit uncomfortable. It courageously deals with doublespeak items such as "food insecurity," "pro-life," and "detainees" in the far-too-often futile search for lexical reality. Once the true meanings are revealed, however, your anger may (or perhaps may not) subside.

* Dictionary and thesaurus required

facilitator: Prof. Poser


11. Anger over omitted commas in speech

(Sorry. This session is closed to presidential candidates)

This tricky topic is led by a renowned phonetician who will guide you in how to use proper pauses before clauses that otherwise will surely get you in trouble.

* Includes training in pacing, breathing exercises, and you might expect lots of charts, graphs, and statistical analyses.

facilitator: Prof. Liberman


12. Sidestepping the taboo term syndrome, especially the F word, N word, C word, and K word.

Anger over taboo terms works both ways. Unbridled wrath can occur both for users and readers when taboos are avoided. This session leads you through the thicket of taboo usage.

* May contain explicit language and graphic illustrations

facilitator: Prof. Pullum


These are only a few of the language anger issues that can infuriate readers these days. But it's a start. Language Log is here to serve.

Posted by Roger Shuy at February 6, 2007 06:53 PM