Thursday, March 22, 2007

BlOGGING ABOUT ABUSE OF THE lOWERCASE l AND ABUSE OF lITERAllY

Letter from Here tends to stray all over the map. I can't help myself. But I really admire blogs like lowercase L that are able to maintain a tight focus on a specific mission. (H/t to another language blog, The "Blog" of "Unnecessary" Quotation Marks.) According to Emily Brady in the NYT, William Levin is a man with a mission.
Two summers ago, a computer consultant and cartoonist named William Levin was strolling down Seventh Avenue in Park Slope when the window of Jackrabbit Sports caught his eye. Above a display of shoes was a sign advertising marathon and triathlon training programs. An individual with an untrained eye might not have given the sign a second glance. But to Mr. Levin, the chubby capital letters contained a serious flaw.

“It looked like triathion,” said Mr. Levin, who spends a lot of time worrying about the mixing of lowercase L’s with uppercase letters, a state of affairs that in his opinion makes the L’s look like I’s.

Mr. Levin, a boyish-looking 35-year-old, has noticed these misplaced lower-case L’s since childhood, but for some reason spotting the sign at Jackrabbit Sports represented a turning point. In Mr. Levin’s words, “It inspired me to begin the mission.”
Whether posting about a SPERM SAMPlE involved in the Anna Nicole Smith litigation or just a sign in a Bergenfield, NJ grocery advertising BARTlET PEARS, Levin and his readers are on the case, trying to expose and stamp out this nefarious practice. His blogroll links to some other language blogs, including another tightly focused blog that deals with a serious issue that also involves the letter "L," or at least a word that begins with it.

The blog is Literally, A Web Log, which documents the abuse of the word "literally," which is threatening to literally change the meaning of the word. Sentences like this drive you nuts? This is the place for you.
“I was really excited that I went ahead to play Hobart because I was really rusty, and I can see the rust shedding from my game literally.
Other recent examples include someone who "literally tries to jump out of her skin" and a note about the Puget Sound area, where it was "literally raining cats."

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