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What's a Verb That Rhymes with 'Wow'? Searching for Words with Words API (wordsapi.com)
26 points by impostervt on Jan 14, 2015 | hide | past | favorite | 15 comments

I can't access the home page www.wordsapi.com; there seems to be an infinite redirect loop between http and https protocols; does anyone else have this problem?

I get this in Firefox (I'm at work):

An error occurred during a connection to www.wordsapi.com.

The server rejected the handshake because the client downgraded to a lower TLS version than the server supports.

(Error code: ssl_error_inappropriate_fallback_alert)

That's strange, I'm not seeing it. What version of FF are you using? I'm using cloudflare to force a redirection from http to https.

Interesting sidenote: People seem to disagree whether it's Adrenocortico-tropic or -trophic, with -tropic being the more common (200k vs 500k results).

This is really awesome. Programmatically find word pronunciations, definitions, synonyms. Very, very cool. Bookmarked.

That longest words list should've included pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis.

No one can actually pronounce that word.


Easy peasy.




Also, any noun can be verbed in English. Note that "cow" is a noun. Hence I give you, "cow", the verb. (Some interpretation required, semantics not included.)

to cow: to frighten with threats, violence, etc.; intimidate; overawe.

see: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/cowed

Good thing that pronouns aren't nouns. I can't figure out if it would be "I Ied" or "I ied" when I use "I" as a verb in the past tense.

Though "God" is a noun, so is it "God Godded" or "God godded"? Oddly, I see those as having two different meanings, so it must be "God Godded".

And is "Bull Run" conjugated in the past as "Bull Runned" or "Bull Ran"?

This language, she is not so easy.

English doesn't have an explicitly defined grammar or vocabulary. If you want conjugations, you have to look at the word's introduction to the language and subsequent usage.

If you are the word's introduction, then it's really up to you. ...to pick something that other people will naturally agree with. Good luck with that.

Other than a few synthetic languages, that true of every other language, so I don't understand why you are singling out English.

Well, I guess there are a few language academies which try to define a language, but those are post hoc. If you accept that, then I can declare myself the explicit definer of English language, no?

I can say that the past tense of "to God" is "to Gods", but English has a general rule that the "d"/"ed" form usually forms the past, while "s" is used for third person singular present tense. (There are exceptions, of course.)

I could say that in Swedish "att Gud" is conjugated in the present as "att Gudo", but Swedish has a pretty strong rule that present tense verbs ends with an -r. The exception being the modals and archaic forms like "äro" in the song "Vi äro, musikanter".

Tossing the 'explicitly defined grammar' aside, which is the realm of the prescriptivists, we're still left with the meaning of rule used by the descriptivists. What are those rules? In terms you use, what are the rules which describe what "other people will naturally agree with."

In case you couldn't tell, I'm a descriptivist, in the Language-Log-fanboi sort of way. Quoting from http://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=3985 :

> Bloom finishes with some more invective against "these do-as-you-please linguists" who pretend that "utopia is at hand, that everyone is a revolutionary, that linguistic anarchy will set you free." I would love to meet one of these anarcho-linguists, since they sound like a lot of fun, but I'm afraid that they only live in the imagination of folks like Bloom and Acocella, following the path of their distinguished forebear in descriptivist strawmanism, David Foster Wallace.

> Actual linguists and lexicographers who answer to the "descriptivist" label tend to be quite concerned with precisely those matters Bloom claims that they neglect. Is a particular linguistic form considered to be erroneous? If so, what motivates the ascription of error? Would the person who produced the form in question recognize it as an error and chalk it up to a slip of the tongue or pen? Or is a linguistic variant disparaged because it is associated with a stigmatized dialect, and if so, how does the relationship between the "standard" and "non-standard" forms reflect broader social dynamics over time? And finally, which registers of a language are appropriate for which social situations, and how do speakers and writers navigate changes of register in their daily lives?

See also http://itre.cis.upenn.edu/~myl/languagelog/archives/001843.h... .

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