This Week’s Language Blog Roundup

by Angela Tung on December 30, 2011

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.

We start off with lots of word-of-the-year news. According to the Marist Poll, whatever is still the most annoying word; Lake Superior State University said these 12 words should be banned from the English language; and the U.S. News and World Report reminded us of 10 words we learned this year. Lynneguist cited kettling as the U.K. to U.S. word of the year, while in the opposite direction across the pond, it’s FTW, “for the win.”

At Johnson, Robert Lane Greene, while “not particularly a Word of the Year person,” still recommends “this fascinating discussion about wordness.” At the Philadelphia Inquirer, Amy Rosenberg rounded up the “non-occupy” words of the year while in his new column at the Boston Globe, Ben Zimmer talked about what words we talked about this year. At Macmillan Dictionary blog, Stan Carey gave his two cents about the words of the year, while Michael Rundell reviewed a year of language blogging.

In other word news, Lynneguist took a look at the difference between zee and zed. Fritinancy examined some bad names, some wrong names, and in words of the week, office plankton, “low-level office clerks; drones,” and anticipointment, which we hope you didn’t feel over the holidays. At the Boston Globe, Erin McKean discussed the suffix -mas (as in Christmas), and in words of the week, spotted Tebowing, lifestylization, workampers, and exoplanets. Word Spy caught arrival city, “a slum, shantytown, neighborhood, or other urban area that serves as an initial destination for a large population of rural migrants or foreign immigrants.”

At Language Log, Mark Liberman delved into hashtags, while Geoff Pullum considered the Scottish word, wee. Victor Mair was warned by some spotty translation about the green onion jaws of death and a meat patty that might explode the stomach, and was surprised by an English-only enclave in China. He also wondered if North Korean leader, Kim Jong Il, died or passed away while at the Visual Thesaurus, Ben Zimmer discussed the lexicon of dying.

The Virtual Linguist cooked someone’s goose, spoke loudly about the Lombard Reflex, and learned about homophenes, “words which look alike on the lips but have a different meaning, like mark, park and bark, or white, right and quite.” The Dialect Blog discussed the accent of contrarian Christopher Hitchens, who passed away earlier this month; the difference between Leeds and Manchester accents; pop versus soda; the Chicago accent; and drunken speech.

We wondered what if we occupied language. We learned about the literary history of word processing and a few tricks to win at Scrabble. We were glad to hear that Yiddish is making a comeback at colleges, and were amazed that this tiny Charlotte Bronte manuscript was sold to a Paris museum for £690,850. We enjoyed these beautiful libraries and bookstores from around the world, and loved these renditions of a grown up Calvin and Hobbes fighting an evil Winnie the Pooh (we never trusted that silly old bear). Finally, we were reminded that David Foster Wallace knew a lot more words than we do.

That’s it for this week! Here’s to a happy and healthy New Year.

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