Tag Archives: language

Need to Find a Safe Point

Interesting vocab mixup with the 7YO last night: He agreed to stop a game at “the first save point” and get ready for bed. When he didn’t, he said he hadn’t gotten to a “safe point” yet.

It turned out he didn’t understand what a save point was, because all the games he’s played up until now either don’t save progress at all, or save continuously.

I “Liked” Twitter Favorites

It shouldn’t make any difference that Twitter renamed Favorites★ as Likes♥. It’s a coat of paint. But labels do matter. Just like “friend” and “follower”, “like” and “favorite” (and hearts and stars) conjure up different expectations.

Twitter says, “You might like a lot of things, but not everything can be your favorite.” Paradoxically, I find “likes” to be more specific. The star-and-favorite model comes out of Internet Explorer*, and modern browsers still use stars for bookmarks. This made “favorite” seem a little more versatile, anything from a stamp of approval to a simple check-back-for-later.

“Like,” on the other hand….

After years of requests for a “dislike” button, Facebook finally admitted that “like” isn’t sufficient to respond to everything, and will be expanding to multiple reaction buttons. I know Twitter keeps trying to be more like Facebook, but c’mon — even Facebook knows people don’t want to “like” sad news.

*Microsoft didn’t want to call their bookmarks “bookmarks.” Nobody wanted to use the same terminology as anyone else back then. They tried to call links “shortcuts” too.

Toddler Vocabulary: Riddle Me This

When my son was younger, I longed for the day when he’d be able to talk, just so it wouldn’t be a guessing game every time he wanted something. Now that he can tell us whether he’s hungry, thirsty, wants to play ball or take a bath, wants something specific to eat, etc., it’s a lot easier to respond (even if it’s to tell him that no, he can’t have any pie because he refused to eat dinner).

Most of the time.

There are still a lot of things he understands but can’t say, so he tries to get the idea across some other way. Instead of 20 questions, it becomes a riddle game.

As an example: Last night he kept saying “pee.” This variously means “piece” (either as an observation or a request), “please” (though he usually signs that still), or, well, pee. After ruling out the obvious, we couldn’t figure out what he was trying to ask for or comment on until I realized he was always saying it while pointing at, looking at, or touching my desk, where I had set a roll of tape that I’d let him play with pieces of the other day…and made the connection with the other random comment he’d been pulling out every few minutes: pointing to a half-healed scrape on his foot from last week and saying “Ow.”

He wanted a new band-aid for the scrape: A piece of something like the tape on my desk for the owie on his foot.

I’m Weary of This: Seven Things that Just Bug Me

Randy Cassingham of This Is True has been driving a weekly Twitter event he calls Pet Peeve Wednesday, with the hashtag #PPW*. Some items I’ve posted about things that Just Bug Me(tm). I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised that they fall into two categories, tech and language.

Tech Annoyances

  • Mobile websites that change the URL so you can’t reshare the page on Twitter without sending desktop users to the mobile site. Or worse: the ones that redirect you from a full article to the front of their mobile site, so you have to hunt around for the article that someone was trying to share with you.
  • New password forms should always spell out the password policy before the user tries to pick something it doesn’t like.
  • If you have to cite a bogus law to claim that your email is not spam (or worse, that recipients can’t callit spam), it’s spam.

Language Annoyances

  • “Weary” means you’re tired of something, not concerned about it. You’re thinking of “wary” or maybe “leery.”
  • If you’re going to reference “Wherefore art thou Romeo?”, remember: she’s asking why, not where. (Think of it this way: The answer to “wherefore?” is “therefore,” and you know what “therefore” means.) It’s a lead-in to the “What’s in a name?” speech.
  • What do people think an “intensive purpose” is, anyway? The real phrase, “for all intents and purposes,” at least makes sense.
  • The word is “foolproof,” as in even a fool can’t mess it up, not “full proof.” (As opposed to what, half-proof?)

*There’s a hashtag collision with both “Pet Peeve Wednesday” and “Prove People Wrong” using the same tag.