Billy K. Baker on Language


The Legendary Lad

By The Publisher | March 23, 2020 |

by Billy K. Baker, local columnist —  “Can so,” said he. “Can not,” sneered they. “Can too!” said he, and with that … he leapt into legend! His two chums stood a-gape, stood aghast. What had they done?! They had teased; they had taunted; they had urged; they had goaded; they had dared; they had…

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Billy K. Baker — The Shaggy Dog Story

By The Publisher | February 18, 2020 |

Here’s a story a friend told me many, many years ago: He had a name no one used anymore—we’ll call him Joe—and was escorted by specters named Life and Death who served mankind’s ultimate archenemy, Time: a nemesis that watched attentively, dispassionately as Life pondered divorcing Joe while Death planned abduction. Joe, unaware his life-fluid…

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On Language – Let Me Make an Enuncement

By Editor | January 30, 2020 |

By Billy K. Baker —  You won’t find “enuncement,” in my favorite dictionary, and Microsoft Word vigorously complains when I use it. Yet, somehow the word seems to fit what I have in mind. Maybe I’ve just invented a new word. Probably not, but if future scholars see fit to use it, I won’t exact…

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Billy K. Baker — On Bad Puns

By The Publisher | January 22, 2020 |

I’ve heard puns are the lowest form of humor; yet they are my favorites … which says something dreadful about me, I guess. In case you care, my second favorites are “backwords”—words that when spelled backwards yield another recognized word. Take, for instance, the name of the anti-acid product, “TUMS,” or the beer, “STROH’S,” or…

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Billy K. Baker — On Words and Up Words

By Editor | January 15, 2020 |

First, an apology: As I assay this essay, I see it being serious, not humorous. Its waggish title, therefore, is misleading … but I enjoyed the pun. Second, a confession: I’m no expert regarding words; so don’t expect scholarly “eptitude.” Fortunately, my singular lack of notoriety means there’s no chance I’ll corrupt the youth of…

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Billy K. Baker — On the Up and Up

By Editor | January 8, 2020 |

Listen up, people, and I’ll give you a heads up. This treatise discusses the importance of “up” in our language. So, perk up your ears … Grammarians, lexicographers, statisticians, and other crazy people claim that the English articles “a,” “an,” and “the” are our most commonly used words. Hah! I claim those aren’t even words,…

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The Truth about English Language Words

By The Publisher | December 31, 2019 |

Another glance into the peculiarities of our language — from Billy K. Baker Where did the words in the English language come from? Linguists and etymologists cite a hypothetical Proto-Indo-European language lightly sprinkled with Semitic tongues and laced with elderly Norse, French, Latin, Greek, and Brooklynese. What nonsense! The English lexicon was first created by…

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Billy K. Baker — On Grammar Rules and Rulers

By The Publisher | December 10, 2019 |

The next piece continues my glance into the peculiarities of our language. You probably learned grammar from a strict teacher like the prune-faced spinster, Miss Meanbottom. You remember her, the one who enforced grammar rules with a stout ruler. I can still hear Meanbottom instructing my class: “Every sentence must have a subject and a…

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Silence Please – Billy K. Baker on Language

By Editor | November 21, 2019 |

The following is a continuation of an earlier article titled, “It’s a Wonder.” English is certainly a rich language. Why so? Because we English-men toss letters away like so much confetti. It seems every other word has a silent E. Okay; that’s an exaggeration, but consider the title words of this topic. I do concede…

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Old-Timers Had It Easy

By The Publisher | November 19, 2019 |

by Billy K. Baker — Lots of people take it for granted that mountain men, pioneers, settlers, cowboys, and such folks led a hard life. I’m here to tell you that is romantic fiction. Take the Donner Party, for instance. Sure they ran into a bit of snow. But they didn’t have their ears pop…

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