This Week’s Language Blog Roundup: cracker, Ћ, giant Mr. Darcy


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 words in the news, the British government overruled traditional definitions and are allowing “the words for the spouses to be used interchangeably for people of either gender in some contexts.” Kathleen Parker at The Washington Post gave a few reasons why cracker will never compare with the N-word, and Code Switch at NPR delved into the secret history of cracker.

The Smithsonian wondered if musicians can save the Welsh language. In Shanghai, ancient inscriptions, “believed to be 1,400 years older than the most ancient written Chinese language,” have been discovered. The New York Times explored a possible connection between baby babble and birdsong.

Slate claimed that profanity is changing for the better. Meanwhile, the word shitstorm entered Germany’s standard dictionary. The long-awaited new edition of Hobson-Jobson, a glossary of Anglo-Indian words, is now available.

Australian restaurateur Paul Mathis proposed the Ћ, a shortening of the. The Atlantic questioned if we really need it, and Tom Chivers of The Telegraph recounted other attempts at making the English language better. Meanwhile, we learned about the origin of a much-used symbol, the pilcrow.

Robert Lane Greene interviewed American teenage hyperpolyglot, Timothy Doner, who speaks 20 languages. Ben Zimmer kicked off his new column at the Wall Street Journal, Word on the Street, with a look at the prefix cyber.

At Lingua Franca, Anne Curzan gave a polite defense of no problem; William Germano examined the taxonomy of greeting cards; and Allan Metcalf pulled into reduplication station. He joined Arika Okrent who considered five meanings of argle-bargle and the phonetic pitfalls of the shm reduplication. Arika also qualified the old rule, “i before e except after c.”

At the Macmillan Dictionary blog, Laine Redpath Cole told the story behind South African, and Stan Carey told explained the minutiae of Latin plurals.

James Harbeck showed how foreign words have influenced political and military words in English. Neal Whitman uncovered the spatula’s linguistic origins. Kory Stamper shared some amusing editorial correspondence and parsed dictionary lookups.

In words of the week, Fritinancy picked soucriant, “a vampire witch who sheds her skin at night and turns into a fireball,” and mixonymics, “the creative naming of cocktails.” Word Spy spotted stealthwear, “clothing designed to prevent the wearer from being tracked, recognized, or photographed,” and hate-watch, “to watch a TV show, movie, or actor that one vigorously dislikes.”

Lynneguist told us what ordering a hot dog in the UK might get you, and spoke with the Chicago Manual of Style about why she started her blog, some surprising differences between American and British English, and words that are untranslatable.

The Dialect Blog explored the ever-shifting dialects of the television show, Orphan Black. The OxfordWords Blog had fun with Sein-language, or lexicon from Seinfeld, and The Week rounded up 10 SyFy movies just as ridiculous as the upcoming Sharknado.

Ted Scheinman of The Paris Review was lucky enough to attend the Jane Austen Summer Program. If you’re in London, check out the frightening cool giant statue of Mr. Darcy in Serpentine Lake of Hyde Park, and if you’re on Google Maps, go explore Harry Potter’s Diagon Alley.

The OxfordWords Blog toasted some whisky words. Jonathan Green, aka Mr. Slang, shared a wonderful timeline of slang terms for drunk. NPR explained how “boozy talk” can differ between men and women. And look out, cronut, here comes the frissant, part fritter, part croissant. Also keep your eye out for sonkers, grunts, slumps, and crumbles.

This we also learned some Yiddish words, 11 obscure regional phrases for “it’s really hot,” and 12 colorful American slang words that start with Z. We got a lesson in the international language of corruption and the art of ghosting, otherwise known as the French leave or the Irish goodbye.

And on that note. . . .

[Photo: “Cracker,” CC BY 2.0 by Tony Alter]

This Week’s Language Blog Roundup: passings, weird spelling, cocktail names

cocktail for spring

cocktail for spring

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 were saddened by the passing of journalist Michael Hastings and science fiction author Richard Matheson, whose novels include I Am Legend, Hell House, and The Shrinking Man. We will also miss Devo drummer Alan Myers, and actor James Gandolfini (read Sopranos creator David Chase’s moving eulogy).

In language news, a study showed grammar may be hidden in toddler babble, and Japan’s national broadcaster is being sued by a viewer “for ‘mental distress’ caused by an excessive use of words borrowed from English.” Meanwhile, Idibon rounded up the world’s weirdest languages.

At the Boston Globe, Ben Zimmer taught us some mobspeak, and at Visual Thesaurus focused on courtroom words, including Justice Antonin Scalia’s argle-bargle. Meanwhile, Slate created a handy glossary of Scalia-isms.

At Language Log, Geoff Pullum discussed the long-awaited split infinitive at The Economist. At OxfordWords blog, Simon Thomas rounded up five words that are older than we thought; at The Week, James Harbeck looked into four very old words for very new things; and at Macmillan Dictionary blog, Stan Carey offered some fossil words of yore.

Also at Macmillan, Gill Francis advised us to stop asking silly questions about grammar, and Michael Rundell taught us about bagel and other tennis lingo; and on his own blog, Stan hunted for the origins of tantivy, and explored the difference between envy and jealousy.

Arika Okrent told us about four subtle changes to the English language, and a tiny island where men have their own language. Kory Stamper explained why dictionaries need to change with the times. At Lingua Franca, Anne Curzan looked into whether a sight for sore eyes is a good or bad thing.

At World Wide Words, Michael Quinion shed light on why restaurateur doesn’t have an n while restaurant does, which explains why we have such trouble spelling it. But it looks like we’re not the only ones who are bad at spelling, and who can blame us since English spelling is so bizarre and people should relax about it anyway.

In words of the week, Fritinancy selected chapulling, “a term used by Turkey’s anti-government activists to describe their peaceful demonstrations,” and syzygy, “a straight-line configuration of three celestial bodies in a gravitational system.”

Erin McKean’s choices included dataveillance, “the ability to surveil people through their data trail”; mumblecore, a type of film that features “improvising nonprofessional actors and have low budgets (and low production values)”; and jaripeo, the Mexican rodeo.

Word Spy spotted zenware, “software designed to enhance focus by removing or blocking a computer’s visual distractions, and threenager, “a three-year-old who displays the moodiness and attitude of a teenager.”

The Dialect Blog nominated Singapore English – or Singlish – as the dialect of the 21st century, and took a look at Anglicized Spanish. Lynneguist had her own take on American and Brits pronouncing words from Spanish.

In grammar, Grammar Girl gave some great tips on how to avoid the comma splice, and Mark Allen compared since and because. In punctuation news, we learned what some people are doing about “apostrophe catastrophes,” as well as some tips about how to use hyphens correctly.

In naming, Slate related the history behind Kemosabe; Salon grouped bizarre celebrity baby names into eight categories; and The Guardian offered a celebrity baby name generator. Early Modern England shared some medieval pet names and The Morning News told us how cocktails get named.

We loved these alternative libraries in New York, these artifacts from the New York Public Library’s children’s books exhibition, and these photos of discarded books. We enjoyed this map showing the original meaning of place names in North America, this Venn diagram of bro-ness, and this LEGO glossary.

This week we also learned how eight famous writers chose their pen names, 12 other famous writers’ take on rejection, that Jane Austen may replace Charles Darwin on the 10 pound note, and that James Joyce’s Finnegan’s Wake has taken off in China. We love Bloomsday – or is that Blumesday? – but also wondered why Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway doesn’t get her own day.

That’s it for this week!

[Photo: CC BY 2.0 by Rob Ireton]

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

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]

This Week’s Language Blog Roundup: spelling bee, swearing, French kiss

bees wallpaper

Yesterday was all about the Scripps National Spelling Bee. Congratulations to 13-year old Arvind Mahankali of Bayside Hills, New York. Arvind won the 86th Scripps National Spelling Bee by correctly spelling knaidel, “a type of dumpling eaten by Jews during Passover.”

Knaidel is Yiddish in origin by way of German, and after misspelling German words two years in a row, Arvind proclaimed that “the German curse has turned into a German blessing.”

Check out all the words from the final round of the Bee, as well as all the winning words starting from 1925.

In other bee news, Ben Zimmer discussed this year’s change to the rules that required competitors to know the definitions of the words they were spelling. Mashable rounded up 10 spelling bee words we’d definitely mess up, Mental Floss reminded us of 13 words that knocked out Scripps Bee finalists, and we confessed to common words we still can’t spell.

At the Macmillan Dictionary blog, Gill Francis discussed dangling modifiers and Simon Williams told the story behind the phrase, as rare as hen’s teeth.

At Lingua Franca, Anne Curzan looked at more importantly; Allan Metcalf redefined the dictionary; Ben Yagoda played the the card and suggested smart as an early contender for the word of the year. Lucy Ferriss thought getting rid of the apostrophe might be a good idea, and Matthew J.X. Malady at Slate agreed.

Inventor of the GIF, Steve Wilhite, told us the proper way to pronounce the acronym, while Stan Carey assured as we can pronounce it however we like, and also gave a reactive defense of the word, proactive.

James Harbeck relayed the delights and frustration of off-road grammar; dissected the linguistics behind seven annoying teenage sounds; and clarified some preposition confusion. Kory Stamper explained how pop culture words become official.

The Dialect Blog examined the pronunciation of Manhattan; the differing pronunciations of the letter t in butter and button; and the word goombye.

In words of the week, Fritinancy noted HOHO, which stand for hop-on hop-off and “describes a type of sightseeing bus that allows passengers to disembark whenever they reach a stop that interests them, then re-board when it’s convenient”; and tick-tock, “journalism jargon for a story that recounts events in chronological order, as if accompanied by the soundtrack of a ticking clock.”

The Word Spy spotted smartphone face, “a drooping jawline and saggy jowls caused by neck muscles that have been shortened from constantly looking down at a smartphone or similar device,” while Erin McKean brought to our attention, fondleslab, another word for the iPhone, iPad, or similar device, as opposed to grandpa box, a desktop computer.

Erin’s weekly word choices also included magicicadas, periodical cicadas; nixtamalization, “dried corn treated with lye or lime,” and bodag, a special Roma bread.

The Altantic took a look at a new book, Holy Sh*t: A Brief History of Swearing, focusing on how Romans swore, while Salon excerpted the book.  Meanwhile, Medium recounted the history of fuck yeah on Tumblr.

McSweeney’s gave us some updates to the new Newspeak dictionary, while several words were added to Le Petit Robert, a popular French dictionary, including bombasse, “a noun used to describe a curvy female”; chelou, “slang for someone or something of dubious character”; and galoche, the French kiss. Well, it’s about time.

That’s it for this week!

[Photo: CC BY 2.0 by Jelene Morris]

This Week’s Language Blog Roundup: The Great Gatsby, really old words, Dothraki

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.

great gatsby

Great Gatsby

With the premiere of the latest movie version of The Great Gatsby, the 1920s were on a lot of minds this week. The OxfordWords blog discussed the language of jazz; Ben Zimmer explained how baloney got phony; and Katy Steinmetz at Time told us why F. Scott Fitzgerald is all over the dictionary.

Author Haruki Murakami discussed translating The Great Gatsby into Japanese. Flavorwire rounded up some beautiful Great Gatsby covers, and we at Wordnik discussed the language of the 1920s beyond bee’s knees and other well-known slang.

In language news, the Washington Post announced that linguists have identified 15,000-year-old “ultraconserved’ words. Not so fast, said both Sally Thomason at Language Log and Robert Lane Greene at The Economist. Thomason explained that “word sets that have similar meanings and also sound similar after 15,000 years are unlikely to share those similar sounds as the result of inheritance from a common ancestor,” while Greene questioned the “clever statistical analysis” of the study.

In other language controversies, participants in the Scripps National Spelling Bee are now required to know the definitions of the words they’ll be spelling. Ben Zimmer took a deeper look at this rule change. Disney tried to trademark the phrase Dia de los Muertos, Day of the Dead, then decided not to, thank goodness. We also found out that we’ve been lied to all these years about the QWERTY keyboard.

In dictionary news, we were happy to learn that DARE, the Dictionary of American Regional English, has gotten a financial reprieve through a $100,000 anonymous donation and a $30,000 gift from the American Dialect Society.

At Lingua Franca, Geoff Pullum wondered why we’re still waiting for natural language processing; Lucy Ferriss discussed the possible death of LOL; Allan Metcalf visited the zoo of language pet peeves; and Ben Yagoda delved into a specific peeve, the misuse of literally.

The Atlantic had their own wordy annoyance, the overuse of definitely; The Sydney Morning Herald is “being driven mad by extraneous ‘’whats’”; and a word snob at The New York Times confessed to words both loved and hated.

At Macmillan Dictionary blog, Luke Vyner told the story behind the phrase, eye of the tiger, and Stan Carey explored LOL slash grammar. At Merriam-Webster’s blog, Emily Brewster also looked at slash as punctuation turned slang. Arika Okrent discussed some other symbols that have turned into words.

Fritinancy’s weekly words included slow TV, “television dramas whose gradual, deliberate pacing and literary structure. . . demand patience and engagement on the part of the viewer,” and, because it’s Underwear Week over at Fritinancy’s, cheekini, a style of women’s underwear with “a raised cut in the rear that covers some but not all of the buttock cheeks.”

Erin McKean’s words of the week included zhongshan, the Mao suit; uptalk, “pronouncing statements as if they were questions”; and papalo, “cilantro on steroids.” Word Spy spotted feature nail, “a fingernail with an applied color, pattern, or shape that is different from the other nails”; get-off-my-lawn, “cantankerous and old-fashioned”; and Facebook facelift, “cosmetic surgery designed to improve how a person looks in photos posted to social networking sites.”

Fully (sic) made the case for chook lit, “chick lit for the older woman,” as chook is slang for an older woman. Oz Worders explored the word shaggledick, an “affectionate term used to greet someone who is quite familiar but whose name you’ve forgotten.”

Our own words of the week included ploddledygook, promposal (also a contender for worst word of the week), and our favorite, Rikering, which must be seen to be believed.

At The Week, James Harbeck found other languages with spelling worse than that of English, and on his own blog cleared up the difference between any more and anymore. Arrant Pedantry gave the reasons the reason why is correct. Kory Stamper considered not-so-tidy parts of speech. The New Yorker explained their love of double consonants.

In library news, the Digital Public Library of America is offering 38,000 historical maps to explore, and the New York Public Library’s remodeled Donnell Library Center was unveiled this week, as well as designs for their new 53rd Street branch.

This week we learned the Isaac Newton invented a language, and how to invent a conlang, or constructed language, like Dothraki in Game of Thrones. We found out everything we need to know about Dothraki, including that we’ve been pronouncing khaleesi wrong this whole time. But so has the Game of Thrones cast with their variety of accents. On that note, we learned how to fake an accent and get away with it.

The Dialect Blog examined the poshification of David Beckham’s accent. All Voices taught us some Yorkshire. WBEZ explored the Chicago accent, Chicago “blaccent,” and differences between various African-American accents. At Johnson, Robert Lane Greene took a look at Charles Ramsey and black dialect.

We loved this piece on poets’ second jobs and this one on New York cabbie poets. You have until July 1st to submit your haiku to Mars.

In naming, we learned why NPR reporters have such great names, and a bunch of names so awful that New Zealand had to ban them. We found out that Franz Kafka was a great procrastinator; that Harper Lee is suing her literary agent for rights to To Kill a Mockingbird; and that CIA agents use pseudonyms when they review spy novels.

We loved this guide to summer movies based on books and these weird things people have said in bookstores. Finally, we weren’t sure whether to love or hate this glossary of hipster hallmarks.

That’s it for this week!

[Photo: CC BY 2.0 by Chris Drumm]

This Week’s Language Blog Roundup: Boston, Shakespeare, ‘slash’ as slang



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.

Ben Zimmer took a look at a surreal week in Boston; Lucy Ferriss examined the phrase, first responder; and Jen Doll discussed the words we use when we talk about terrorists. Republicans are watching their language in debates about undocumented immigrants, and teens in Baltimore have created their own gender neutral pronoun.

In language news, the National Digital Public Library was launched; the holy grail of rare books could fetch $30 million; and a Charlotte Bronte poem manuscript went for 90,000 pounds. John Simpson, the retiring chief editor of the Oxford English Dictionary, spoke with Time about his career.

In Rwanda, roadside typists fear losing their jobs to the increasing accessibility of computers, and in Vietnam, schools experiment with teaching children of ethnic minorities in their mother tongues.

Earlier this week was Talk Like Shakespeare Day, and Mental Floss celebrated with 20 words we owe to Bard while we rounded up a short dictionary of Shakespearean insults.

At Johnson, Robert Lane Greene, inspired by Ben Yagoda’s post on the historical present, discussed tenses in jokes of different languages. At Lingua Franca, Allan Metcalf time traveled through the English language, and Anne Curzan considered the slash (not Slash) as slang.

At Language Log, Ben Zimmer dissected the anatomy of the spambot, and Mark Liberman explained the difference between Chechnya and the Czech Republic. At Macmillan Dictionary blog, Michael Rundell delved into DNA as metaphor; Miles Craven and Karen Richardson told the stories of the words stroke and dandelion; and Stan Carey gave us some inspiring etymology.

James Harbeck looked into where English got all those words other languages borrowed, and analyzed nine famous quotes that are technically grammatically incorrect. Arika Okrent rounded up the pig Latins of 11 other languages as well as nine pretentious Latin and Greek plurals.

Some BuzzFeed bunnies helped us remember 10 word mix-ups to avoid; Tom Chatfield listed the 10 best words the internet has given us; and Brain Pickings gave us some astronaut lingo. The Dialect Blog dialogued on race and “voice quality” and the Cork accent.

Fritinancy’s words of the week were swatting, “calling 9-1-1 and faking an emergency that draws a response from law enforcement,” and Zajonc effect, “the tendency of people, after repeated exposure to an unfamiliar thing, to reverse their initial feelings of dislike or distaste and like the thing more over time.”

Erin McKean’s verbacious choices included white money, “money that is legitimately earned, and fully reported for tax purposes”; lob, a long bob; and smart pig, a robotic device which detects flaws in oil pipelines. Word Spy noted nanofacture, “to manufacture something at the molecular level using nanotechnology,” and organ recital, “a long-winded recitation of one’s ailments.”

This week we also learned that illuminated manuscripts had no shortage of fart jokes and how difficult it can be to name a band. We loved this roundup of Great Gatsby covers, and are excited about the movie version of Judy Blume’s Tiger Eyes. We would like an adult-sized version of this TARDIS tent please. Finally, we forgive Stephen Fried for inventing the word fashionista 20 years ago, but just barely.

That’s it for this week!

[Picture: “Slash,” CC BY 2.0 by Rodrigo Amorim]

This Week’s Language Blog Roundup: passings, Philly accent, Quidditching

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.

A Room With a View, from Drafthouse

We were saddened by the passing of Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, the screenwriter behind A Room With a View, Howard’s End, and and many others, as well as that of legendary film critic Roger Ebert. Check out Visual Thesaurus’s ode to Ebert’s lexicon and 10 movies he really hated.

This week also saw the passing of independent publisher Peter Workman; actress and Mouseketeer, Annette Funicello; and Britain’s first woman prime minister, Margaret Thatcher. Read about Thatcher’s linguistic legacy.

In the business of language, last week Rosetta Stone bought online language learning community, Livemocha, for $8.5 million; Nook debuted Nook Press, a self-publishing platform; and Waterstones founder is planning on launching a “Spotify for books.”

In language news, the Associated Press dropped the term, illegal immigrant, from its lexicon, and what may be the largest proofreading project ever began with 100,000 volunteers proofreading the 25,000 books of Project Gutenberg.

The New York Times kicked off National Poetry Month with Times Haiku, “Serendipitous Poetry from The New York Times.” Also at The Times, Henry Hitchings complained those irritating verbs as nouns.

At Johnson, Robert Lane Greene wrote about NPR’s new blog on race, Code Switch, and code-switching itself, “the instant and frequent switching between two distinct languages.”

At Lingua Franca, William Germano looked at epistolary closes; Anne Curzan considered on the other hand; and Ben Yagoda wondered what does that even mean? Meanwhile, Geoff Pullum discussed his disdain for George Orwell’s famous essay, “Politics and the English Language.”

At Language Log, Mark Liberman’s crash blossom of the week was nozzle thought gun, while Ben Zimmer made a plea for DARE, the Dictionary of American Regional English, which “ is experiencing a serious financial crisis.” Consider making a donation.

Ben was also busy over at The Atlantic talking about his media (over)consumption habits and some bad driving lingo at The Boston Globe. At Macmillan Dictionary blog, Liz Potter told us the story behind the word Persian and Stan Carey rounded up some thoughts on whom.

On his own blog Stan admired “some superb entropy” in the language of spam. Megan Garber, inspired by Stan’s collection of synonyms for the exclamation point, added some of her own.

Fritinancy had fun with the stock phrase, not your close relative’s X, and in words of the week, picked cucoloris, “a screen with oddly shaped holes cut through it, placed before a light source to throw diverse shadows on an otherwise uniform surface,” and Poisson D’Avril, “a person who is taken in by an April Fools’ Day prank.”

Erin McKean’s words of the week included hippodrama, “plays in which horses took center stage)”; ogooglebar, Swedish for “ungoogleable”; mongo, “sanitation slang for treasure salvaged from trash”; and baranek, Easter lambs in the Polish tradition that are “hand-carved in butter or formed in brilliant white sugar wearing tiny bows.”

The Word Spy spotted de-extinction, “the artificial recreation of a previously extinct species”; work-life overload, “an excessive burden caused by the combined responsibilities of a person’s work and personal life”; and amygdala hijack, “an immediate, overwhelming, and usually inappropriate emotional response to a perceived threat or emergency.”

We learned about how the Philly accent is changing. The Dialect Blog explored northeastern Pennsylvania’s “un-northeastern” accent; dived versus dove in American dialects; and Downton Abbey and the death of drama school accent enforcement.

The Virtual Linguist told us about frimponged, “to tackle very aggressively,” and other football terms; Mr. Slang – aka Jonathan Green – explored synonyms and slang for death and dying; and James Harbeck explained how foreign languages mutate English words.

We learned why people hate certain words and why tech neologisms make people angry. We agree that these are business cliches that everyone should love to hate, but it might be fun to use biz speak instead of lorem ipsum. Plus did you know these nine things about swear words?

We found out why there are different names for the same country, why so many urban train stations are called Penn Station, and the art of naming a dog. We’ve always wondered why dogs rule literature and cats run the web, and now we know.

We loved this piece in McSweeney’s about commas and love, and this article in The New Yorker about words that shouldn’t last but do. We also loved this Game of Thrones bestiary and these fun facts about the Dothraki language. We laughed at these creative TV edits of naughty movie lines and enjoyed these weird and wonderful Shakespeare adaptations.

We want to participate in this Japanese Quidditching meme but not some of these international memes (please don’t put pantyhose on your dog).

That’s it for this week!

[Photo: “A Room With a View,” Drafthouse]