Centuries ago, the word “stickler” meant the judge of a duel who made sure all the rules were obeyed. To author Lynne Truss, those were the good old days. At least people listened to that kind of stickler. Truss’ new book “Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation” has become an unexpected best seller.
Sometimes language lovers sound as if they’re on a safari. They talk about observing words in their natural habitat and studying their behavior in herds. With the first release of the American National Corpus, an annotated body of over 10 million words, linguists can hunt like never before.