This Week’s Language Blog Roundup

by Angela Tung on September 16, 2011

It’s that time again folks! Every Friday we bring you the highlights from our favorite language blogs, and the latest in word news and culture.

It was Fashion Week in New York City this week, and Barnes & Noble Review had several fashion book recommendations, while Entertainment Weekly showed us a dress made of crime novel covers. In addition, Lynneguist talked shoes; the Virtual Linguist examined hauling, in which on YouTube “young people (almost always young women) describe and show their ‘haul’, or latest purchases”; while Fritinancy’s word of the week was ruche, which comes from the French word for beehive, and cringe of the week was Earth shoes.

In ad words, Fritinancy pondered Maker’s-er and pom versus pompis. Robert Lane Greene at Johnson discussed language speed, while at the Macmillan Dictionary Blog, Stan Carey chronicled cyber- words, and Michael Rundell questioned preserving words that are obsolete.

Grammar Girl dissected the Pittsburghese needs washed, to which Ben Zimmer at Language Log gave his two cents. Also at Language Log Mark Liberman considered the apparent dog-carrying requirements on escalators and moving walkways in England, while Victor Mair tallied up the hurt feelings of the Chinese people.

Dialect Blog “sawr and conquered” the intrusive R, discussed more about non-rhotic and rhotic accents, shared some ambivalence about portraying a classic Russian character with a British accent; and questioned the supposed distinction between American Blue State and Red State accents.

Allan Metcalf at Lingua Franca gave us a lesson on lessen. Word Spy spotted paperphilia, “a deep appreciation for the aesthetic qualities of paper; a preference for reading items printed on paper rather than displayed on a screen”; smishing, “an attempt to fool a person into submitting personal, financial, or password data by sending a text message with a link to a scammer-controlled website”; and the butler lie, “a lie used to politely avoid or end an email, instant messaging, or telephone conversation” (eg, “’sorry, phone died last night”).  Superlingo lauded fomo and werdge, two awesome words they didn’t know.

The Virtual Linguist called out oi, mush!, Cockney slang for “an aggressive way of calling out to someone — like ‘hey, you!’’; gave us a taste of licorice allsorts; shined a light on the glittering generalities of propaganda language; and pointed out the jam that President Obama is apparently giving us today. Fully (sic) also got into the grammar and language of politics, while Freakonomics watched political party word patterns.

In author news, a one-sentence letter from JD Salinger may be worth $50,000 (or “$2,083.33 a word”), and the Society of Authors is holding a weekly tweetathon for the next several weeks to save the short story.

At The Atlantic Will Shortz told us how he edits The New York Times‘ crossword puzzles, while the World’s Strongest Librarian told us how languages are invented. The Huffington Post showed us America’s smallest library, while Gawker profiled an online newspaper they liked (yes, Gawker liked something!). Lifehacker passed on the International Classification of Diseases (“I’ve been W6132XA!”), and Discovery Magazine flew by with the news that hummingbirds sing with their tails.

Brain Pickings covered a brief history of robots and how they fall on the intelligence/creepiness/cuddly matrix (Thomas Edison’s talking doll seems more creepy than cuddly to us), and the Vancouver Sun showed us some weird and dumb signs from around the world.

Meanwhile, a German liquor manufacturer successfully patented trademarked ficken, the German word for the mother of all four-letter words, while some headlines got a similar four-letter, and hilarious, treatment. Finally, don’t forget to fill out your bracket for War of the Words.

That’s it from here. Oi, mush, we’ll see you next week!

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