Welcome to this week’s Language Blog Roundup, in which we bring you the highlights from our favorite language blogs and the latest in word news and culture.
In case you didn’t know, it’s election season. Robert Lane Greene at Johnson took a look at the intricacies of political speechmaking. At Lingua Franca, Ben Yagoda discussed the media’s reluctance to call a lie a lie while William Germano deliberated on Eastwooding and talking to empty chairs. At Language Log, Mark Liberman tallied Chris Christie’s first person pronouns, and Victor Mair translated Jon Huntsman’s Mandarin statement about Mitt Romney.
Also at Language Log, Mark Liberman posted about sign language and weapons, and Victor Mair considered tattoos as communication and creeping romanization in Chinese. Meanwhile, Johnson discussed the Hinglish Project.
Ben Zimmer seized the day with YOLO and told us how the proof got in the pudding. Stan Carey clarified why people misspell just deserts. At Macmillan Dictionary blog, he dialogued on dialects, and Orin Hargraves was reminded of past participles and irregular verbs. At Lingua Franca, Ben Yagoda dropped some f-bombs and other euphemisms; Geoffrey Pullum bemoaned more zombie rules; and Lucy Ferriss connected with the etymology of wifi.
In words of the week, Erin McKean noted benihana, a scooter trick; glamping, glamorous camping; and alexithymia, “difficulty identifying feelings.” Fritinancy’s selections included zombee, “a honey bee that has been parasitized by the ‘zombie fly,’” and smasual, “a portmanteau of ‘smart casual,’ a British description of a style of dress in which ‘smart’ means ‘stylish.’” Fritinancy also snacked on some chips – or is it crisps? – and the Awl served up some writer food from A to Z.
The Virtual Linguist mused on the origin of blue moon. Sesquiotica noodled on canoodle, floated supernatant, and shed some light on triboluminescence. Dialect Blog explored the aristocratic American accent, the speech of old L.A., and -ow reduction; assured us that Canada has regional dialects; and wondered if Cockney rhyming slang is Irish.
Superlinguo recognized Tesla’s linguistic contributions, Brainpickings gave a nod to words invented by David Foster Wallace’s mom, and Flavorwire displayed some adorable school photos of famous authors.
We were creeped out by this list of literature’s creepiest devils. We immediately began using this list of 10 stinging British insults, and chuckled over these dirty etymologies and these 19th century synonyms for sex. We learned about the lives of punctuation marks, a brief history of the shortening of neighborhood, and what the Muppets’ Swedish chef is actually saying. We loved this ode to the list and agreed that these are 19 perfect moments in subtitle history (epic thrash metal!).
That’s it for this week! Until next time, trying some Eastwooding. After all, YOLO.