Language Blog Roundup: Grimm linguist, youse, kerfuffle

Brothers Grimm

Brothers Grimm

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, NPR discussed what makes something a “new” language. France gained their own word for binge drinking. In Quebec, a teen who was told by the government that the name of his company, Wellarc, was “too English,” took his complaints to YouTube. Flavorwire told us why they think the new black is an especially irritating cliche.

We learned that one of the Brothers Grimm was a pioneering linguist, what words Bing and Google ban from their autocomplete suggestions, and that while Twitter is available in 33 languages, its universal language is the emoji. This week we also found out how to teach language to dogs and how to learn English through aerobics.

Inspired by Google’s Chromecast, Megan Graber provided seven theories behind the origin of the word dongle. Ben Zimmer gave us the history of the word drone. Robert Lane Greene delved into when the phrase chink in one’s armour might be offensive, while New York Magazine explored female insults.

Jan Freeman considered various spellings of youse while Arika Okrent clarified the different spellings of the surname Weiner. Arika also revealed 12 onomatopoeias from around the world and the grammar rules behind three commonly disparaged dialects.

The Dialect Blog blogged on regionally “corrupted” names, the language of the “The Troubles,” and the accents of the “princesses” of Long Island.

Victor Mair spelled out Chinese spelling bees and character amnesia. James Harbeck rounded up a brief history of royal baby names while at Lingua Franca, Ben Yagoda offered his own take on royal baby words. Anne Curzan had fun with kerfuffle and Constance Hale looked at parataxis.

Fritinancy compared smiles and pouts, and for words of the week, chose chindōgu, a Japanese term for “the art of the ‘unuseless’ idea,” and DPO, direct public offering. World Wide Words explored the origin of wonk.

Word Spy spotted the Matilda effect, “the systematic under-recognition of the contributions of women to science,” named for 19th century American suffragist Matilda J. Gage; phubbing, “snubbing another person by using your smartphone instead of interacting with that person”; and fauxductivity, “pretending to work hard; busyness that consists of trivial or unproductive activities.”

We want to attend this ComicCon for Jane Austen fans, to stay at these hotels with libraries, and to begin using these Asian words with no English equivalent. These creative uses of sentence diagramming make us want to diagram sentences.

We love this list 25 websites for literature lovers, this comparison of Walt Whitman and Breaking Bad’s Walter White, and these band names based on television shows. Finally, we were really creeped out by these two-sentence horror stories.

That’s it for this week!

[Photo: CC BY 2.0 by Lucas]