This Week’s Language Blog Roundup: dialect maps, geek vs nerd, cronuts

by Angela Tung on June 14, 2013

Homemade cronuts with lemon glaze and French pastry cream filling by @dellis220. He read about them Friday, made some Saturday. Not quite Dominique Ansel, but it's a start. #diy

Homemade cronuts

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 language news, Russian’s most isolated dialect was found in Alaska. Phonemica, an open-archive, ethnographic project, is on a quest to preserve China’s languages. A study shows a link between altitude and the way language is spoken. Pit talk, a miner dialect in East Midlands, England, is in danger of disappearing.

We learned why regional accents return when you’re drinking and, via some wonderful dialect maps, that everyone else in the U.S. talks funny but us. Meanwhile, Grammarphobia shed some light on why people say yeah, no; the Week discussed derp; and a dog learned grammar.

Ben Zimmer told us how the word emo got political. Robert Lane Greene explored why there’s so little Chinese in English. Arika Okrent rounded up 12 old words fossilized in idioms.

At Lingua Franca, Anne Curzan shared the silent but deadly origins of the word fizzle; Lucy Ferriss talked about silent letters; and Ben Yagoda blogged a blog about blog blogs and wittily discussed the wordplay of Arrested Development and the catchphrases of TV’s funniest show.

At the Macmillan Dictionary blog, Michael Rundell discussed prescriptivism in the Daily Telegraph; Ana Maria Menezes told the story behind the word box; and Stan Carey collided with common sense and usage. On his own blog, Stan dangled some modifiers. The Dialect Blog explored what rhymes tell us about changing English and the phrase, causing a row.

In words of the week, Word Spy spotted superdiversity, “extreme diversity, particularly with respect to the ethnic and racial mix of a population.” Fritinancy noted prankvertising, “an extreme form of guerrilla marketing that involves unsuspecting people,” and so explored the word so.

Erin McKean’s selections included Texican, a kind of Texan-Mexican food; omnichannel, “a term that is meant to signify a seamless integration of brick and mortar stores with online and mobile commerce”; and gunslinger, a quarterback who tries “to make any throw, no matter how unlikely, whatever the consequences.”

In honor of the French word for French kiss, galocher, finally entering the French dictionary, Nerve listed 10 more ways to describe kissing while The Week gave us 10 more mots merveilleux that have recently been added. Mental Floss let us know of six dictionary mysteries we can help solve. Meanwhile, we can say goodbye to the German language’s longest word.

Slackpropagation nerdily – or geekily? – showed us the difference between a geek and a nerd. Novelist Sherman Alexie asserted that “grammar cops are rarely good writers” and that “imagination always disobeys.”

In book news, in the light of the NSA scandal, sales of George Orwell’s 1984 have increased. Jen Doll has a great rundown of summer Young Adult reading.

And speaking of summer reading, the latest book of our own Erin McKean has just come out. Check out The Hundred Dresses: The Most Iconic Styles of Our Time, which of course is full of cool dress names like The Wench, The Austen, The Siren, and The Biohazard.

In more book stuff, we loved this list of the 25 most challenging books; these 11 weird books; and this ranking of all 185 Choose Your Own Adventure titles. We also found these book paintings and artful book stacks very cool.

We chuckled at these movie titles with bad grammar and would like to see all of these movies starring books.

In music and language, we learned that learning Finnish may be a good idea for heavy metal musicians; that the music business has its own grammar guide; and there are hiphop artists in Quebec who dare to use English.

We loved these literary-themed restaurants, and that this chef named his newest dish after 2013 Scripps National Bee winner, Arvind Mahankali. We’re not sure, however, how to feel about cronuts.

That’s it for this week!

[Photo: CC BY 2.0 by Arnold Gatilao]

lynneguist June 14, 2013 at 7:09 am

I love these posts, but I would have thought that lexicographers would know better than to write ‘the French dictionary’. ;)

Angela Tung June 14, 2013 at 7:24 am

Thanks Lynne! Indeed, ‘the French dictionary’ isn’t very accurate but I’m guessing ‘le Petit Robert, a popular French dictionary’ doesn’t fit as well in headlines. :) (We explained it a little better in our last roundup: http://blog.wordnik.com/this-weeks-language-blog-roundup-spelling-bee-swearing-french-kiss)

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