Archive for Uncategorized

Wednesday, November 22nd, 2017

I Literally Can’t Even: The Figurative Use of the Word Literally

Jordana Lalonde

Picture this: A family of four sits at a restaurant. The daughter pours over the menu and pauses at the words “yam fries”, scanning for the option to add a delicious dipping sauce. She sees no such condiments and announces, “I’m literally jumping off a bridge if this restaurant doesn’t have garlic aioli.” Her mom retorts, “literally? You’re literally going to kill yourself over aioli?” Her dad chuckles and continues reading the menu, adding, “you mean figuratively.” Her brother nods in agreement. The waitress walks up during the conversation and jokes about the “big grammar lesson going on at the dinner table!”

That girl is me. And on the inside, she is ready to jump atop the table and scream to the world that the word literally has went through a semantic change and correcting people on its usage does not mean you have a better understanding of the English language but rather a weaker one! That those who correct the figurative use of literally are ignoring the simple fact– literally does not mean “literally” anymore.

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Wednesday, August 23rd, 2017

Welcome to HELUS

This is a blog for a History of the English Language course at the University of Saskatchewan. There will be two main types of posts: (1) student posts on various topics related to the course; and (2) short posts by Yin Liu, the instructor of the course, in a series that you might like to think of as the History-of-English-Mythbusters: that is, discussions of common misconceptions about the history of the English language. I hope that there will be lots of good student posts, and the Mythbusters posts are mostly to fill in the gaps so that something happens in this blog. Also check out the Writing Tips section, which will also be updated frequently.

Enjoy reading. Please feel free to comment (politely and appropriately, of course).