Related newsgroups

by Mark Israel
     [This is a fast-access FAQ excerpt.]
There are other newsgroups that also discuss the English
language.  bit.listserv.words-l (which is a redistribution of a
BITNET mailing list -- not all machines on Usenet carry these) is
also billed as being for "English language discussion", but its
participants engage in a lot more socializing and general chitchat
than we do.
   There is a mailing list for copy-editors.  To subscribe, send
e-mail with the text "SUBSCRIBE COPYEDITING-L Your Name" to .
   sci.lang is where most of the professional linguists hang out.
Discussions tend to be about linguistic methodology (rather than
about *particular* words and phrases), and prescription is severely
frowned upon there.  Newbies post many things there that would
better be posted here.
   alt.flame.spelling (which fewer sites carry than carry
alt.usage.english) is the place to criticize other people's
spelling.  We try to avoid doing that here (although some of us do
get provoked if you spell language terms wrong.  It's "consensus",
not "concensus"; "diphthong", not "dipthong"; "grammar", not
"grammer"; "guttural", not "gutteral"; and "pronunciation", not
   alt.usage.english.neologism is described as being for
"meaningless words coined by psychotics".  Fewer sites carry it,
and it gets little traffic; the people who do post to it are
generally not negative about neologisms.
   rec.puzzles is a better place than here to ask questions like
"What English words end in '-gry' or '-endous'?", "What words
contain 'vv'?", "What words have 'e' pronounced as /I/?", "What Pig
Latin words are also words?", or "How do you punctuate 'John where
Bill had had had had had had had had had had had the approval of the
teacher' or 'That that is is that that is not is not that that is
not is not that that is is that it it is' to get comprehensible
text?"  But, before you post such a question there, make sure it's
not answered in the rec.puzzles archive, available at [...]
     [The rec.puzzles archive is now at <>.]
The "-gry" answer is now also to be found below in this FAQ.
   Wordplay for its own sake (anagrams, palindromes, etc.) belongs
in alt.anagrams.  There are also long lists of such things in the
rec.puzzles archive.  "The Word Gamer's Paradise" at
<> may also be of interest. is a newsgroup devoted to the
teaching of English (especially as a second language). is devoted to software for assisting
language instruction.
   misc.writing is devoted to writing, and especially to the
concerns of people trying to establish themselves as professional
   alt.quotations is the place to ask about origins of quotations
(although there is no firm dividing line between those and phrase
origins, which belong here).  You can access the 1901 edition of
Bartlett's Familiar Quotations at:
     [That URL will still get you to Project Bartleby, but it does so 
     by transferring to a new URL.  The direct URL to Project Bartleby is now 
     <>, and the URL for Bartlett's Familiar 
     Quotations is <>.]
   Language features peculiar to the U.K. get discussed in
soc.culture.british as well as here.  Before posting to either
newsgroup on this subject, you should look at Jeremy Smith's
British-American dictionary, available on the WWW at:
     [See ucle_announcement.html to read about
     a new related newsgroup, uk.culture.language.english.]
     [The newsgroup alt.english.usage has similar content to that of 
     alt.usage.english.  Its posting volume has grown to about ten 
     or fifteen percent of the AUE volume.]
   If you have a (language-related or other) peeve that you want
to mention but don't particularly want to justify, you can try
alt.peeves.  ("What is your pet peeve?" is *not* a frequently asked
question in alt.usage.english, although we frequently get
unsolicited answers to it.  If you're new to this group, chances are
excellent that your particular pet peeve is something that has
already been discussed to death by the regulars.)
   If you're interested in the peculiarities of language as used by
computer users, get the Jargon File, by anonymous ftp from ( under pub/gnu, or on the WWW:
     [The Jargon File with frames is at;
     a version without frames is at
     A web page that carries the masthead "Cool Jargon of the Day", 
     is at <>.  It features a different
     selection from the Jargon File each day.  
     There are links to other Jargon File resources at
     Of particular interest is "UMEC's Jargon Server" at
     <>.  It allows you to 
     type in an item and search directly for its definition.  At
     the time of this writing (2007-May-10), it is using version 
     4.2.0 of the Jargon File.  The version at 
     is currently 4.4.7.] 
(also available in paperback form as The New Hacker's Dictionary,
ed. Eric S. Raymond, 3rd edition, MIT Press, 1996, ISBN
0-262-68092-0).  Words you encounter on the Net that you can't find
in general English dictionaries ("automagic", "bogon", "emoticon",
"mudding", the prefix "Ob-" as in "ObAUE", "prepend") you may well
find in the Jargon File.  You can discuss hacker language further in
the newsgroup alt.folklore.computers, or in the moderated newsgroup
comp.society.folklore .
   Two newsgroups that don't deal with the English language but
that people often need directing to are:  sci.classics (now
preferably humanities.classics), for questions about Latin and
ancient Greek; and comp.fonts, for questions about typography.