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.
Johnson took a look at the faux-pology of the week, Rush Limbaugh’s “I sincerely apologize to Ms. Fluke for the insulting word choices,” while Ben Zimmer mused on the meh generation, and some meh occurrences over the years. At Language Log, Mark Liberman explored the phrase, no less X, and Geoff Pullum told us the difference between passive and passive-aggressive, and about something Sofa King stupid.
At Lingua Franca, Allan Metcalf discussed the birth of the teenager, and Lucy Ferriss offered some quaint train language and decoding of train toots. At Macmillan Dictionary blog, Stan Carey culled a hotchpotch of reduplication, and on his own blog, posted about the normality of conversation in Twitter. Jan Freeman unraveled a mind-buggering mystery; Arnold Zwicky was on the garmmra (not grammar) watch; Arrant Pedantry rolled the dice; and Grammarphobia flushed out some bathroom language.
For Leap Day, Fritinancy’s word of the week was intercalary, “inserted into the calendar to make the calendar year correspond to the solar year,” while Word Spy spotted leapling, “a person born on February 29.” Leap Day also marked Wordnik’s first birthday. Here’s our cake!
Fritinancy also discussed cicerone, “an expert beer server, the equivalent of a wine sommelier,” and the origin of dibs. Word Spy noticed Marchuary, “a January or February with March-like weather,” and 100-foot diet, “a diet that consists mostly or exclusively of food grown in one’s garden.”
In the week in words, Erin McKean caught Fasching, a “colorful folk festival in Germany”; noodlers, “hand fisherman”; the czech, a type of bad liquor; and kangas, “rectangles of cloth often printed with proverbs, slogans or riddles.” Erin also discussed fleeting fashions and long-lived words (hopefully mantyhose will be fleeting), and Peter Elbow’s new book, Vernacular Eloquence.
The Dialect Blog expounded on the American off-glide and dictionaries and pronunciation. The Virtual Linguist considered the verb, to welch; the origin of daffodil; and the phrase, tickety-boo, “in good or satisfactory order.” Sesquiotica examined quirt; bannock, “a griddle-baked soda bread”; and mulligatawny, a kind of soup.
This week we learned about the QWERTY effect, which gradually attaches “more positive meanings to words with more letters located on the right side of the layout” of a keyboard; sound effects in comic books (KRONCH!); and why Robert Sherman wrote the song, Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.
We cracked up over this joke about the Oxford English Dictionary and amazeballs, and the hot new meme, legbombing. We loved this list of eight kinds of drunkenness; Mark Twain’s enormous list of all the foods he missed while in Europe (“Fresh American fruits of all sorts, including strawberries which are not to be doled out as if they were jewelry, but in a more liberal way”); J. R. R. Tolkien’s response to a German publisher asking for proof of his Aryan descent; and George Orwell’s six rules for writers (number five: “Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent”). However, as Cracked reminded us, there are some foreign words for which there is no English equivalent (grief bacon, anyone?).
Finally, we were saddened by the passing of Jan Berenstein, the co-creator of the Berenstein Bears.
That’s it for this week. It’s been amazeballs.
I prefer the recent coinage (Nov. 8, 2011 Linda Holmes at NPR) “onomatapology” for a speech event which is meant to sound like an apology but isn’t.