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 taboo news, Geoff Nunberg discussed private parts in public places while Peter Sokolowski explained why we curse. The Wall Street Journal reported on grammar gaffes in the office, and John McIntyre responded (“a farrago of shibboleths and cultural prejudices”). At Johnson, Robert Lane Greene told us about kitchen Russian and baby Danish; commented on commas; and tested a Chinese language learner. Meanwhile, The Economist noticed an anachronism on Chinese television.
At the Language Log, Victor Mair examined PRC taikonauts and the transcription of China in Chinese characters. Mark Liberman pickled a mistranslation at great expense and compared versus and verses. Geoff Pullum noticed some blithering idiocy on the subjunctive; Julie Sedivy discussed some fracking words and the hubbub around bilingual greetings in Montreal; and Ben Zimmer decrypted some Reuters-ese.
At Lingua Franca, Ben Yagoda admitted he was wrong about the cause of a certain comma trend; Carol Saller investigated trucker lingo; and Lucy Ferriss discussed jeepers words and took an infinitives trip to splitsville. At Macmillan Dictionary blog, Orin Hargraves ran from hot to cold, while Stan Carey cultivated some linguistic botany, and on his own blog, mused on grammar in song lyrics and comma clusters and texting style.
Fritinancy noted pride and junk; dark money,“pools of unregulated political contributions whose sources and fundraisers are anonymous (‘dark’)”; and strass, “a hard, brilliant, lead-containing glass used in making artificial gems.” In the week in words, Erin McKean noticed Swirlogram, a type of graph; spraywork, a type of graffiti; and pachislot, “a cross between Japan’s wildly popular pachinko and Las Vegas-style slot machines.” Meanwhile, Word Spy spotted cashmob, “an event where people support a local retailer by gathering en masse to purchase the store’s products.”
Kory Stamper wrote a love letter to English; K International celebrated linguistic diversity in Australia; Slate compared woots; and ermahgerd, Superlingo began investigating another internet trend (previously, LOLcat lingo). Sesquiotica posted on ovoviviparity, funambulist, and rag-tag. The Virtual Linguist explained the origins of bully and kilt. The Dialect Blog examined a new dialect in New Zealand; Canadian and Californian vowels; the British lot; and room pronunciations.
Lynneguist told us about yog(h)urt, while from the Oxford Dictionary Blog, we learned some food idioms, and from Slate we heard about the “breastaurant” business. We really want to go to this NYPL exhibit on the history of lunch, and weren’t really surprised that wine geeks will pay more for a fancy name. Meanwhile, these drunk-texting authors have had one too many, and if they aren’t careful, may end up with a tattoo with a hidden meaning.
We learned 50 words for rain, some contemporary slang words which might be older than we thought, and about a missed connections for books. We loved these literary quotes from The Simpsons, this supercut of Sorkinisms, and we may take up the Rory Gilmore reading challenge.
Finally, we were saddened this week by the passing of writer and director, Nora Ephron. We love her writing, her movies, and these lists she made of what she would and wouldn’t miss.
That’s it for this week. Till next time, au revoir, bye!