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July 18, 2011


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Marc Leavitt

Having more than a score of years as an editor, I can swear to the need for short words in headlines, as in "Man bites dog."

Virtual Linguist

Yes, Marc. Very memorable! Thanks.

Julie A. Maahs

I believe that "average English word is five letters" does not refer to words in the dictionary, but to words in context. That is, in a piece of text the average word length is about five letters. That averages in all the "is's" and "the's."

Virtual Linguist

Thanks, Julie. Yes, of course; that makes sense. And, of course, that is of more relevance to Twitter and tweets.

Blog Rehab

I think the "noughties" could also be summed up with text talk, unfortunately. Maybe ikr or omg.

Virtual Linguist

Yes, text talk is very appropriate. Thanks for reading and for your comment.


I caught this programme too - and thought it was excellent.
Was it Boswell who wrote: "I am sorry to write such a long letter, I didn't have time to write a shorter one"?

Virtual Linguist

Thanks, Sue. I've just googled that quote. It's attributed to several people going back centuries, but mostly to Mark Twain.

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