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 The New York Times, Philip Corbett noted words The Times’ writers love too much; Constance Hale remembered loving the sound of a sentence; and Erin McKean wrote about “madeupical” words. The New Yorker invited readers to make up their own words, while at The New York Review of Books, Zadie Smith expounded on the essentialness of a local library and bookshop.
In American politics, a third spelling error arose in Mitt Romney’s campaign (if you’re keeping count, that’s Amercia, sneak-peak, and offical). Ben Zimmer discussed the new, overly friendly political speech and the controversy over the definition of marriage. Geoff Pullum and the Virtual Linguist both wrote about the death of the Queen’s English Society. Meanwhile, the language wars continued with a post from Arrant Pedantry on what descriptivism is and isn’t and from Mark “Descriptive Destroyer” Liberman.
At the Language Log, Mark discussed pronounceable snack ingredients, the case of “vinyls,” and e-publishing string replacement gone wrong. Ben Zimmer also posted on unfortunate search and replace results, namely Nookd for kindled and deDeputys for devices. Barbara Partee considered the negative event, and Victor Mair had some cheese bacon mushroom face.
At Lingua Franca, Allan Metcalf considered not; Geoff Pullum explored the however myth; and Ben Yagoda rounded up some comma comments, broke down the anatomy of a catchphrase, and examined the phrase, yeah, no. At Macmillan Dictionary blog, Orin Hargraves got granular, Robert Lane Greene talked go, and Stan Carey considered commas and at Sentence First taught us how to stop confusing pore and pour. Meanwhile, Motivated Grammar compared “than I” and than me” and the Grammar Monkeys told us about style and grammar, and why lots of things aren’t “wrong.”
In the week in words, Erin McKean spotted desquamation, a condition in which “all your skin falls off”; chinoise, a type of sieve for cooking; gaokao, China’s “grueling college entrance exam”; and miche, a type of bread. Fritinancy noted blazerati, “officials of amateur sports associations who are identified by their colored blazers”; and prochronism, “a chronological error in which an event or usage is dated earlier than its actual occurrence.”
Fritinancy also described how General Tso’s chicken got its name, while we learned that in Paris “there is currently no greater praise for cuisine than ‘très Brooklyn,’ a term that signifies a particularly cool combination of informality, creativity and quality.”
Sesquiotica was entertained by gecko, get-go, and get; got into some frenzy words; and corroborated on a corroboree. Lynneguist compared the American and British ways of introducing oneself. The Virtual Linguist traced the origins of jubilee and nemesia and nemesis, and rounded up some bun phrases. The Dialect Blog dropped some Hs, measured -ness, and discussed the profane conversion of dick.
We loved these Star Wars alphabet prints and these of London in the 1850s, and were terrified by these French children’s books. And we still can’t get enough of anachronisms in Mad Men and Downton Abbey.
That’s it for this week! Yeah, no, really.