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Doomscrolling in lockdown: the most influential words of 2020

As dictionaries present their words of the year, we pick 10 terms that defined the past 12 monthsHow do we get new words and how do old words get a fresh twist? In normal times, it’s a well-worn process, linguistic business as usual. There will be a new invention or thing to buy, such as “wifi” (1999) or an “iPod” (2001). People will pick up on trends or changes in behaviour and give them labels such as “crowdfund” (2008) or “catfish” (2012). Last year, the Guardian identified “femtech” and “can...
Tags: Books, Culture, Language, Written language


Do you see it? Right there in the middle? The monolith!

  They weren't going to tell you exactly where it was. Somewhere in the desert in Utah. But the Reddit discussion pinpoints the place, and I made my screen shot from Google Maps "street view."  Here's the article in The Guardian: "Theories abound over mystery metal monolith found in Utah/Structure compared to monolith featured in 2001: A Space Odyssey while John McCracken gallerist says object is not sculptor’s work."  The McCracken gallerist got involved because some people were sayin...
Tags: Landscape, Utah, Law, Sculpture, Language, Reddit, Google Maps, Indiana Jones, Department of Public Safety, Rosebud, McCracken, Ann Althouse, Red Rock Country, Nick Street, John McCracken, Facebook the Utah Highway Patrol


Russian phrases with numerals

Since we’ve covered the difference between один and раз, it’s only apt to enrich our vocabulary with a few numeral-heavy Russian expressions and idioms. I will give both the literal translation (sometimes for the sake of curious imagery and other times for even more curious etymological reasons), as well as the actual idiomatic meaning and usage of each expression below. В оди́н го́лос (lit. in one voice) meaning “in unison”. This is mostly employed to talk about people who unequivocally agree o...
Tags: Culture, Language, Linguistics, Idioms, Russian Language, Vocabulary, Tom Dick, Russian Vocabulary, Thematic Vocabulary, useful Russian phrases, Russian idioms, Numbers and counting, Russian numbers, learning Russian is fun, popular Russian phrases, Mali Aroesti


Oxford English Dictionary Needed 16 'Words of the Year' to Describe 2020

Traditionally speaking, the team that publishes the Oxford English Dictionary picks a “word of the year”—a word or expression that has attracted significant interest over the course of the past 12 months. It’s a way to capture the mood or lasting impact that a particular year has had on us all; for example, 2019's…Read more...
Tags: Language, Words, Lifehacks


Lost for words? Introducing Oxford’s “Words of an Unprecedented Year”

Bushfires. A global pandemic. Lockdown. Economic recession. Racial injustice. International protests. A pivotal election. For over a decade, we have selected a word or expression that captures the ethos, mood or preoccupations of the last 12 months, driven by data showing the ways in which words have been used. But this year, how could we pick a word, or even a shortlist, to summarize the ways in which we’ve been continually knocked off our axis?Instead, today we released a comprehensive report ...
Tags: Books, Featured, Australia, Singapore, US, Language, Oxford, Linguistics, Word Of The Year, North America, Black Lives Matter, Western Europe, Editor's Picks, West Africa Southeast Asia, Dictionaries & Lexicography, Kate Wild


Phrasebook to help 19th-century English tourists converse with Welsh uncovered

Welsh Interpreter includes ‘You are giddy because you look down’ (Y’r ydych wedi pendroni o rhan i chwi edrych i lawr) In the 19th century the wilds of Wales began to draw the intrepid traveller but there were sometimes communication breakdowns between visitors and Welsh-speaking locals.A 182-year-old phrasebook, compiled to make it easier for English tourists to speak with what the volume, uncomfortably, calls the Welsh “peasantry”, has emerged from archives in Cardiff. Continue reading...
Tags: Wales, UK News, Language, Linguistics, Cardiff Continue


"Morris lived for many years with her gravestone standing in the corner of her library, the ne plus ultra of memento moris."

"She was an inveterate traveler but also prized her house in the Welsh village of Llanystumdwy; she wrote often about its snuggly, hyggelig qualities. Death for her may be something akin to merely being in, to borrow the words of the novelist Joshua Cohen, a bed with a lid. 'I am attracted to decline, to the melancholy spectacle of things that get old and die,' Morris told Leo Lerman in a Paris Review interview. She also joked that when she departed, the headlines would read, 'Sex Change Author ...
Tags: Travel, Death, Writing, Law, Wales, Aging, Looks, Transgender, Canada, Language, William Shakespeare, Lincoln, John, Times, Jan Morris, James


Strewth, bloody, rooted: is there a quintessentially Australian swear word?

In this book extract, Amanda Laugesen says it’s hard to argue that Australians swear more than others, but we do our best, and we try to be inventive in the processLinguist Geoffrey Hughes writes that “people swear by what is most potent to them”. What is considered to be “most potent” changes across time, although taboo has often focused on the religious (hell), the sexual (fuck), and the excretory (shit). More recently racial, sexist and other discriminatory epithets have become our most taboo...
Tags: Books, Society, Australia news, Language, History books, Geoffrey Hughes, Amanda Laugesen


The 12-foot-tall Chamberlin Rock — in the news these days as racist — is featured as a climbing destination at Mountain Project.

It's one of the "the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area" — "UW Madison Campus Bouldering" (click to enlarge and clarify): The route is marked:   There's "Chamberlin Rock East Arete": Sit start and work your way up the arete using holds on both sides of the corner. Top out. In my opinion this is the best problem on this rock.In the comments there: Found some more routes on this little boulder. Hang below the plaque and climb and top out at top left corner. If...
Tags: Law, Wikipedia, Sports, University, Conversation, Canada, Language, Geology, Wisconsin, Native Americans, Landscapes, WSJ, Cemeteries, University Of Wisconsin, Don, Abraham Lincoln


Tone of Voice in Chinese Sentences

Understanding and conveying the proper tone of voice in a Chinese sentence isn’t easy. Some languages (Japanese comes to mind) allow you to “codify” levels of politeness or formality directly into the verbs themselves. Or there are super formulaic sentence patterns for certain levels of politeness. Even in English it’s somewhat formulaic (“Please,” “Can you…?”, “Could you…?”), but less so in Chinese. I remember talking to an AllSet Learning client years ago about this very issue years ago. Sh...
Tags: Language, Grammar, Linguistics, Voice, AllSet Learning, Pragmatics


Adult language-learning changes how the brain’s hemispheres function

Language processing has long been thought to occur primarily in the left hemisphere of the brain.A new study used fMRI on groups of adults to examine how the brain's left and right hemispheres contribute to learning a new language.The results showed that, as the participants progressed, they began to use more of their right hemisphere, but only for some aspects of language processing. Learning a new language as an adult changes how the brain's hemispheres contribute to language processing, acco...
Tags: Learning, Neuroscience, Brain, Language, Innovation, Mind, Broca, Steve Kaufmann, Wernicke


Есть – To Eat Or To Have

– Пить есть?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          – Пить есть, есть нет. Есть пить – To eat a drink? Not really. This funny play on words was popular in the USSR. “Есть” [jes’t’] are two distinct, not connected etymologically, homonymous verbs in Russian. Before the orthographic reform o...
Tags: Russia, Language, Linguistics, Ussr, EST, Russian for beginners, Russian Verbs, Yat, Verbs and their grammar, Russian homonymous verbs, Есть Eat, Есть Eat Have, Есть Have, Есть Is, Miroslav Vajdic


"[T]here is a lot of demand for me to address the situation at Vox in detail or to assimilate my personal story into a larger narrative about 'wokeness' or the culture wars."

"Personally I’m not a huge fan of navel-gazing. So I’ll just say that my personal interest in reclaiming my status as an independent, blog-like voice transcends any particular issues with any particular publication. I wanted to do this, not go find a different job, and I thank those of you who’ve joined me on this journey." Matt Yglesias has a thing called "What's wrong with the media" at Slow Boring, his new place. Are you a fan of navel-gazing?  Navel-gazing or omphaloskepsis is the conte...
Tags: Law, Journalism, Metaphor, Meditation, Language, Nyt, Vox, Hinduism, Matt Yglesias, Yglesias, Greek Orthodox Church, Ann Althouse, Body Parts, Microaggression, Mount Athos Greece, J G Minningen


'Hello work' or job centre? language experts spell trouble for Japan's mangled English

Group of language experts is taking local governments and organisations to task for their over-reliance on machine translationEncountering mangled English is a frequent source of mirth for many residents of Japan, but for one group of language professionals, the proliferation of inappropriate words and phrases is becoming a national embarrassment.Their recently formed group, loosely translated as the association for the consideration of Japan’s English, is taking local governments and other bodi...
Tags: Japan, Asia Pacific, Language


Iso named 2020's word of the year by Australian National Dictionary Centre

Abbreviation of isolation beats out Covid-normal and bubble to the title“Iso”, the characteristically Australian slang for self-isolation, has been named the 2020 word of the year by the Australian National Dictionary Centre.The ANDC’s word of the year is given to a word or expression that has “gained prominence in the Australian social landscape”. Continue reading...
Tags: Australia news, Language, ANDC, Coronavirus


Should I use один or раз?

Ever wondered why some Russians count “one, two, three” as “оди́н, два́, три́…” while others say “ра́з, два́, три́…”? Why would there be two Russian words to say “one”? Here’s how to differentiate between the two if you’re a beginner Russian learner. “Ра́з, два́, три́” is really only used when counting orally, like when a ballroom dance instructor is counting the rhythm of the waltz or when a parent is playing hide-and-seek (пря́тки) with their kid and says “ра́з, два́, три́… Кто не спря́тался, ...
Tags: Language, Grammar, Linguistics, Russian for beginners, Numbers and counting, Russian numbers, Hồ Huy Hoàng, Manfred Richter


G-Hub High-pi

I’m pretty sure I’m the only one that actually took a close look at this sign, but there’s a lot going on here: It reads: G-Hub 欧洲啤酒节 一起来 HIGH 啤 Here’s what’s happening: G-Hub for “German Hub”? OK…Beer bubbles for the 氵 water component in 洲 and 酒 In the character 啤 , the word “BEER” replaces the mouth component 口 Sudsy tops of characters and ice cubes or cheese cubes (??) inside 酒 (I want it to be cheese cubes, but I’m pretty sure it’s supposed to be ice cubes, sadly)...
Tags: Advertising, Beer, Language, Linguistics, Puns, Characterplay, G Hub High, G Hub


"Joe is a healer, a uniter, a tested and steady hand, a person whose own experience of loss gives him a sense of purpose that will help us as a nation reclaim our own sense of purpose, and a man with a big heart who loves with abandon."

In that one crowded sentence, Kamala Harris — in her victory speech last night — stated the theme for Biden's presidency.  I see the laying-on-of-hands concept that we were talking about yesterday. Remember? The writer in The Atlantic — Franklin Foer — talked about Joe's "effort to heal... to wrap himself around others in mourning." He saw "something religious in this laying-on of hands... an act of communion." Because we are "desperate" and Joe is the "parental figure," what is required of us...
Tags: Law, Dogs, Atlantic, Language, Biden, Franklin Foer, Kamala Harris, Joe, Kamala, Foer, ACD, Ann Althouse, photos by Meade, Religion Substitutes, Biden the healer


Oxford Dictionaries amends 'sexist' definitions of the word 'woman'

Publisher labels ‘bitch’ as offensive but fails to satisfy some equality campaigners Oxford University Press has updated its dictionaries’ definitions of the word “woman” following an extensive review triggered by equality campaigners.Among the updates to Oxford Dictionaries’ definitions is the acknowledgement that a woman can be “a person’s wife, girlfriend, or female lover”, rather than only a man’s. Continue reading...
Tags: Publishing, Gender, Women, UK News, Language, Oxford Dictionaries, Inequality, Oxford University Press, Reference and languages books


Weird WaPo headline catches my eye: "Kamala Harris knows things no vice president has ever known."

I have not read this piece yet. I'm just trying to observe my understanding as it dawns on me. My first thought was: What kind of fawning bullshit is this? I was just complaining that the mainstream media hasn't subjected Kamala Harris to any serious testing, and now here's this ludicrous headline ascribing special powers of knowing to her. I see it's in the "Style" pages, which is what we have in the newspaper today instead of what used to be called the "Women's" pages. So now I'm thinking of t...
Tags: Law, Washington Post, Feminism, Language, Lewis Carroll, Kamala Harris, Menstruation, Carroll, HARRIS, Hesse, Jabberwocky, Monica Hesse, Ann Althouse, Gender Politics


Listen to 6 American regional accents as they were spoken in 1958

In this video from 1958, we hear 6 speakers of standard English from different areas of the United States: Smithfield, Virginia; Green Bay, Wisconsin; Brooklyn, New York; North Andover, Massachussets; and Dallas, Texas. Presented by linguist Henry Lee Smith Jr., From ika Grape Snack on YouTube.
Tags: Video, News, United States, Language, Brooklyn New York, Fifties, Green Bay Wisconsin, Vintage Science, Smithfield Virginia, North Andover Massachussets, Dallas Texas Presented, Henry Lee Smith


Ad or Vocab List?

I was kind of amused by how much this ad comes across as a vocab list: Here is that vocab list: 坐公交 (zuò gōngjiāo) to take public transportationNote: this usually means a public bus乘地铁 (chéng dìtiě) to ride the subwayNote: the verb 坐 is also fine骑单车 (qí dānchē) to ride a (single-gear) bicycleNote: nowadays this word often refers to a bike-sharing service买火车票 (mǎi huǒchēpiào) to buy train tickets打车 (dǎchē) to call a car (taxi or ride-sharing service)Note: because of the rise of ride...
Tags: Transportation, Advertising, Language, Shanghai, Linguistics, Taxis, Didi, Vocabulary, Mobike


Brain study finds that humans are born wired for reading letters and words

There's an area of the brain specializing in the recognition of letters and words.Neuroscientists wonder how this faculty develops since it would not be a trait associated with survival.fMRI scans reveal that this region is already connected to the brain's language centers in newborns. It's been over a century since scientists identified an area of the brain that serves as its "letterbox." The "visual word form area," or VWFA, recognizes letter and word shapes before sending them on to the brai...
Tags: Learning, Children, Neuroscience, Reading, Brain, Language, Innovation, Osu, Li, Sight, Heather Hansen, VWFA, Jin Li of Ohio State University OSU, Ohio State News, Zeynep Saygin, Saygin


How to Speak: Watch the Lecture on Effective Communication That Became an MIT Tradition for Over 40 Years

In his legendary MIT lecture “How to Speak,” professor Patrick Winston opens with a story about seeing Olympic gymnast Mary Lou Retton at a Celebrity Ski Weekend. It was immediately clear to him that he was the better skier, but not because he had more innate athletic ability than an Olympic gold medalist, but because he had more knowledge and practice. These, Winston says, are the key qualities we need to become better communicators. Inherent talent helps, he says, but “notice that the ...
Tags: Google, Education, College, Mit, Language, Cormac Mccarthy, Facebook Twitter, Mary Lou Retton, WINSTON, Patrick Winston, Durham NC Follow, Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, Winston Schools, Minnie Kasyoka Winston, Kasyoka, Kurt Vonnegut Josh Jones


Bleeders.

The term” female” is outdated and disrespectful. From now on, I demand to be referred to as a bleeder. https://t.co/7jUwBVjPNk— Titania McGrath (@TitaniaMcGrath) October 24, 2020 [Author: [email protected] (Ann Althouse)]
Tags: Law, Transgender, Language, Mcgrath, Menstruation, Ann Althouse, Titania McGrath


Liberal and conservative brains react to charged words differently

A new study shows brain activity differs between liberals and conservatives when they watch political videos. Brain activity differed between partisans when words tied to emotions, morality, or threats were used. The findings could help us understand how partisans process information, perhaps leading to new ways to bridge the divide. People are somewhat politically polarized these days. While the United States' polarization gets most of the press, increasing polarization is also causing problem...
Tags: Politics, US, Conservative, Brain, United States, Language, Innovation, Emotions, UC Berkeley, Liberals, National Academy of Sciences, Leong, Brain Scans, United Kingdom Turkey Poland Brazil India, Yuan Chang Leong


Liam goes supersonic as it rises up baby name charts around world

Moniker has spread far beyond its Irish origins – but risks suffering the same fate as KevinLiam is set to become the new Kevin, researchers predict, as the mellifluous moniker graduates from its Irish origins and rises up baby name charts around the world.Fewer Liams were born in the Republic of Ireland last year (334) than in Germany (an estimated 3,800), Spain (962), Sweden (760), Belgium (575) and Switzerland (443). For American baby boys, the short form of Uilliam or William has been the mo...
Tags: Sweden, Germany, US, Spain, UK News, World news, Language, Republic Of Ireland, Switzerland, Belgium, Liam Gallagher, Liam Neeson, William, Baby Names, Kevin, Liam


What is “pознь”?

What if I told you there was a single word in Russian to help one convey that just because something is labeled X doesn’t mean that all things X are like the first thing X? The word in question is рознь and here’s how it works. You take a Russian noun, put it in the Nominative Case first, then repeat it in the Dative Case, and then put the word рознь. The formula is simple. Noun X (in Nominative Case) + Noun X (in Dative Case) + рознь. For example: Холодец холодцу рознь. (Not all aspic is create...
Tags: Culture, Language, Grammar, Linguistics, Russian Language, Russian Culture, Russian food, Russian for beginners, Russian life, Martin Pyško, Pixabay Imagine


How music therapy benefits the autistic brain

Music is used in many different therapies. Used in conjunction with traditional therapies, music therapy benefits us in a variety of different ways.According to a 2004 study, music intervention used with children and teens with ASD (autism spectrum disorder) can improve their social behaviors, increase focus and attention, and reduce their anxiety and improve body awareness.Various music therapy activities and tools can be used to help improve the quality of life of children with autism. Music ...
Tags: Psychology, Health, Music, Parenting, Children, Youth, Communication, Neuroscience, Play, Teaching, Mental Health, Brain, Creativity, Disability, Language, Innovation


How to change your language on the Signal messaging app for iPhone, Android, or desktop

Most versions of the Signal messaging app let you change your language within the app. EMS-FORSTER-PRODUCTIONS/Getty Images You can change the default language on Signal in the secure messaging platform's Android, iPhone, and desktop apps.  Some versions of Signal rely on a device's default settings when it comes to choosing a language, while other versions let you select a language independently from your device's settings. Visit Business Insider's Tech Reference library for more stories....
Tags: Trends, End-to-end Encryption, Language, EMS, Signal, Messaging Apps, Tech Insider, Product Card, BI-freelancer, Tech Reference, Software & Apps (Reference, Tech How To, Newsroom Affiliate How To, Smartphones (Reference, Grace Eliza Goodwin Business Insider, Chrissy Montelli