Lef- or lieu-tenant?

I was watching the 2005 version of Pride and Prejudice this weekend because I fear the heat of summer is not far off and I wanted to get one last dose of hot tea and drizzle. But then I was distracted by the British accents. Particularly the pronunciation of “lieutenant” as “lef”-tenant. Where did that come from? I know the British do weird things to r’s, but that “f”? Where

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“Singular” they?

“Singular they” was the American Dialect Society’s pick for word of the year for 2015. I’ve been a big proponent of singular they ever since I realized it was a systematic thing I do. “Singular” they is not really grammatically singular, but it’s used to refer to a semantically singular person. Most people use this in conversation and don’t even notice. It’s used in sentences like “When I teach someone

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