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Human Parts
A publication about humanity from Medium: yours, mine, and ours.

English

In Human Parts. More on Medium.

Express Yourself

Redundant letters and inconsistent spelling. How does anyone get anything done with this?

Sometimes, I have this wild idea about updating English — taking it apart, tidying it up, and making it all a bit more consistent. Do we, for example, really need C, K, and Q? Three variants of the same sound, like remnants from an earlier draft that should be edited out. “Tick” and “duck” contain C and K, as if we had to invite both in case one felt left out.

Languages emerge organically as ideas from other cultures are grafted onto existing structures. We owe much of our alphabet to the Romans who took it from the Etruscans in…


Past Is Prologue

How ‘How are you?’ (and other meaningless phrases) came to dominate conversations everywhere

Paper cut out of mouth with speech motif graphics.
Paper cut out of mouth with speech motif graphics.

“You see someone that you know and they ask you how are you, and you just have to say that you’re fine when you’re not really fine, but you just can’t get into it because they would never understand,” as Katy Perry once said in an interview that will likely haunt her for the rest of her life.

In fairness to Perry, she weaves a tale that most of us can probably identify with. Say you’re suffering from insomnia, your credit card got declined at the coffee shop this morning, and now your significant other has just sent an ominous…

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