It’s time again for our weekly Language Blog Roundup, in which we bring you the highlights from our favorite blogs and the latest in word news.
At The Huffington Post, Robert Lane Greene discussed some grammar pet peeves, offering a “taxonomy of language mistakes and non-mistakes,” such as Rules Everyone Knows, Standard But Tricky, and our favorite, as coined by Arnold Zwicky,zombie rules, a “long list of peeves on the part of single individuals that somehow made it into grammar books and teaching materials” (zombie rules attack! better checkmy CDC manual).
Mr. Zwicky, meanwhile, mused on the origins of chow-chow, and discussed the marmaxi (as opposed to the martini), the French idiom chaud lapin, and just in time for Memorial Day weekend, nude – but not naked – beaches. He has also assembled an extensive list of language blogs and resources. Check it out.
Slate argued against the em dash, while the bloggers at Language Log wondered what “even” even means; explored the rejection of the power semantic; pondered the U.S. North Midland dialect (“You want punched out?”); and were boggled by faux Chinese characters.
Stan Carey took a look at another invented language in his post on J.R.R. Tolkien and conlangs, or constructed languages; K International suggested a link between Elvish and Welsh (le hannon! you’re welcome); and BBC News reported on robots that have developed their own language (Skynet anyone?).
In the land of more made-up words, someone on, of all things, the TV show “Cougar Town” coined one – gagbysmal, which we can only guess means “abysmal to the point of gagging,” while Hal McCoy at the Springfield News-Sun remembered another one, embarrassivity.
Arr! The Dialect Blog posed a theory on the origins of an almost-made-up language, the pirate accent, while Word Spy pointed out another recent meme, planking (don’t try this at home, kiddies) as well as, on a more serious note, brain waste, “Immigrants who were skilled professionals in their home countries but have been forced to take unskilled jobs in their new country.”
The Virtual Linguist investigated Scotland Yard’s code name for President Obama, chalaque, “crafty or cunning, especially someone who is too clever for their own good — like Smart Alec in English, I suppose” (however, it turned out that the much reported “Smart Alec” is not President Obama’s code name across the pond after all); as well as British Prime Minister David Cameron’s tumbleweed moment when a joke he cracked at the American president’s expense “was met with stony silence.”
Finally, The New York Times compared the writing styles of U.S. Supreme Court justices, and announced the Ulysses Meets Twitter 2011 project, an experiment from “Stephen from Baltimore,” in which volunteers are invited to tweet the mammoth novel in 140-character snippets on Bloomsday, June 16.
That’s it for this week. Remember, if you have a tip or would like your language blog to be included in our weekly roundup, let us know in the comments, via email (feedback AT wordnik DOT com), or on Twitter. Till then, namárië!