This Week’s Language Blog Roundup

by Angela Tung on October 21, 2011

Welcome again to another Language Blog Roundup, in which we bring you the highlights from our favorite language blog and the latest in word news and culture.

Some famous authors occupied Wall Street, including Neil Gaiman, Margaret Atwood, Alice Walker, Russell Banks, Donna Tartt, and Naomi Wolf (The Beauty Myth, Misconceptions) who was arrested. Lemony Snicket offered 13 OWS observations, and Ben Zimmer told us about the words behind the movement.

At Language Log, Ben Zimmer debunked the “Eskimo words for snow” myth; and Julie Sedivy was lukewarm about warm soda. Mark Liberman compared data on snuck versus sneaked, and delved into the Dire, Ne pas dire (“Say, Don’t Say”) feature of the Académie française website.

The Virtual Linguist took a look at another list of banned words in John Rentoul’s The Banned List: A Manifesto Against Jargon and Cliché. Erin McKean explored some totes presh clipped words, and spotted this week in words preboggin, hagparazzi, bushmeat, and more. Mental Floss gave is 14 more wonderful words with no English equivalent. Check out the first 15.

At Macmillan Dictionary blog, Stan Carey carried off some thieves’ cant, or old jargon of the underworld, while Dan Clayton told us about street slang. The Atlantic reported on some new job slang (we definitely have a touch of hurry sickness); BBC America rounded up five mild American English words that the British may find rude; and Clay Interactive showed us the Periodic Table of Swearing (NSFW of course).

Jan Freeman advocated for advocated for, while Fritinancy’s word of the week was failover, “the capability of switching to a redundant or standby computer server,” something 35 million Blackberry customers experienced last week. Sesquiotica visited the word hussy. The Dialect Blog explored foreign accents, and “why some L2 (second language) speakers have such ‘strong’ accents, while others sound nearly like natives.” K International told us about the Irish translation of Angela’s Ashes.

In author news, Lauren Myracle spoke with Vanity Fair about the National Book Award debacle (“What’s this Shine/Chime business?”), while Colson Whitehead spoke with The Atlantic about zombies and his new book, Zone One. In language news, the British Library was criticized for including an Amazon link in its catalog, while Discover Magazine told us that language may have left us a fossil record, “not in buried bones, but in our DNA.” Meanwhile, at the World Scrabble Championship, a player demanded a strip search when the letter G went missing.

The New York Times’ word of the weekend was kvetchigarchy, “rule by spoiled brats.” iO9 listed 10 science fiction words you might have thought came from real science. The Daily gave us the history of the word cakewalk, which has origins in American slaves’ mocking their owners, and PWxyz informed us of the worst word in English (that’s nice).

Vintage & Anchor gave us the 10 oldest books known to man, while film director Spike Jonze brought book covers to life. Flavorwire put together this literary mixtape for Game of Thrones character, Tyrion Lannister, and Six Revisions presented this visual guide to the ampersand.

That’s it from here. Till next week, kthxbai!

Cat October 21, 2011 at 11:12 am

Interesting article. I particularly liked the links to the snow article and strip search Scrabble article.

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