Yorkshire is a county in t'north of England. It has a distinct range of dialects; for example 'nowt' means 'nothing', 'who?' means 'what?' and 'how are you?' is asked ... differently, with further variations across the county. Yorkshire is famous for its pudding, caustic cricket commentary, rhubarb, having its own day, one of the earliest surviving film fragments, the chocolate bar, poetry, tea, and ferret legging (alternative explanation). The anthem of Yorkshire, On Ilkla Moor Baht 'at, is about hats, death and cannibalism. Like other English regions, such as Cornwall and Wessex, Yorkshire has movements towards devolution, greater autonomy and ultimately independence. But what is the essence of Yorkshire? [more inside]
The Many Ways The Media Gets Around Saying [Groin] By Kyle Wagner [FiveThirtyEight] It’s the oldest laugh in sports: Some poor schmoe takes a sports ball to the crotch, keels over and, once we’re reasonably sure no lasting damage has been done, the TV announcers deadpan some dad jokes while the camera pans around to giggling teammates. It’s as much a familiar sports yuk as other not-all-that-uncommon oddities, like a field player on the mound or the fat guy touchdown, only with funnier GIFs. At least, that’s how things work when the hit comes in a relatively low-stakes setting. But what happens when the stakes are raised? And just as important, when reporters are forced to write about sportsmen kicking each other in the nuts, what do they write? This week has provided some answers.
Bloody Hell!! People who swear have bigger vocabularies, according to researchers.
Ronnie helps the non-native speaker get the hang of swearing, talking about sex (NSFW) and related body parts (NSFW), prostitution (NSFW), drugs, getting high or just chilling. Also, piss. Jade will teach you some Multicultural London English and childish insults. Emma talks shit and more shit, and teaches you ways to describe the women and men you're attracted to. James delves into Christian Bale's notorious rant for useful expressions in a two part lesson (both NSFW). [more inside]
From plitter to drabbletail: a few writers choose the words they love. [The Guardian] [Books]
Dialect terms such as yokeymajig or whiffle-whaffle; all-time favourites like cochineal, clot or eschew; antiquated phrases such as ‘playing the giddy ox’ … leading writers on the words they cherish.[more inside]
Robert Macfarlane says we are losing the best descriptive words for our landscape. This matters, he says, "because language deficit leads to attention deficit. As we deplete our ability to denote and figure particular aspects of our places, so our competence for understanding and imagining possible relationships with non-human nature is correspondingly depleted. To quote the American farmer and essayist Wendell Berry – a man who in my experience speaks the crash-tested truth – “people exploit what they have merely concluded to be of value, but they defend what they love, and to defend what we love we need a particularising language, for we love what we particularly know.”"
Being a practical handbook of pertinent expressions, striking similes, literary, commercial, conversational, and oratorical terms, for the embellishment of speech and literature, and the improvement of the vocabulary of those persons who read, write, and speak English. (Grenville Kleiser, 1917)
Whether your object's shaped like a ship, a pine cone, a violin, or a bunch of grapes, this handy cheat sheet from Barbara Ann Kipfer's Flip Dictionary will tell you the suitable Latinate adjective. [more inside]
31 Adorable Slang Terms for Sexual Intercourse from the Last 600 Years Lexicographer Jonathon Green’s comprehensive historical dictionary of slang, Green’s Dictionary of Slang, covers hundreds of years of jargon, cant, and naughty talk. He has created a series of online timelines (here and here) where the words too impolite, indecent, or risqué for the usual history books are arranged in the order they came into fashion. (If you don’t see any words on the timelines, zoom out using the bar on the right.) We’ve already had fun with the classiest terms for naughty bits. Here are the most adorable terms for sexual intercourse from the last 600 or so years.
Literary elites love to rep Shakespeare’s vocabulary: across his entire corpus, he uses 28,829 words, suggesting he knew over 100,000 words and arguably had the largest vocabulary, ever (average people have a vocab of 5,000 words). I decided to compare this data point against the most famous artists in hip hop. I used each artist’s first 35,000 lyrics. That way, prolific artists, such as Jay-Z, could be compared to newer artists, such as Drake.
The Made Up Words Project is an on-going undertaking by illustrator Rinee Shah (who you may remember from her Seinfood poster series.) The goal is to collect and catalog the made up words that we share with family and friends.
In a move sure to delight MeFites everywhere, Ghent University in Belgium has created an online, almost arcade-game-like test of word knowledge which is almost BS-proof. Know the word? Press J. Don't? Press F. But don't lie! You will be punished.
12 Old Words that Survived by Getting Fossilized in Idioms. We generally know what the idioms we use every day mean, but do we give much thought to the individual words that make them up, or why we rarely, if ever, see some of them out of that context? Maybe they're just plain outdated. [more inside]
Please enjoy this smattering of Word of the Day sites and pages: OED (RSS), Wordsmith (RSS), Wordnik, The Free Dictionary (RSS), Merriam-Webster (RSS), WordThink (RSS), Urban Dictionary (RSS), Macmillan (RSS), NY Times Learning Network Blog (RSS), Scrabble, Wordsmyth (RSS), Easy Speak (Toastmasters), Wiktionary, Wiktionary "Foreign", OLDO (RSS: Chinese, French, German, Italian, Russian, Spanish, all in OLDO), Arabic (RSS), Japanese (RSS), Nahuatl, ASL, History, Geology, Theology (RSS), and Sesame Street (not daily, unfortunately).
How to pronounce Chicago street names. How to pronounce London street names. How to pronounce Austin street names. How to pronounce New Orleans street names (and a whole lot else). How to pronounce "Spuyten Duyvil," "Kosciuszko" and "Goethals." How to pronounce "Van Nuys," "Sepulveda," "San Pedro," and "Los Angeles." [more inside]
"The internationalized art world relies on a unique language. Its purest articulation is found in the digital press release. This language has everything to do with English, but it is emphatically not English. It is largely an export of the Anglophone world and can thank the global dominance of English for its current reach. But what really matters for this language—what ultimately makes it a language—is the pointed distance from English that it has always cultivated. " - Triple Canopy magazine on why do artists' statments and press releases sound so utterly odd and confusing.
POWER VOCAB TWEET. Boost your vocabulary with these fiercely plausible words and definitions. About. [via mefi projects] [more inside]
Oxford Dictionaries' 2012 words of the year have been chosen: for the US, it's "gif" (as a verb); for the UK, "omnishambles." It contended for this crown with the likes of "YOLO," "superstorm," and "nomophobia." Previous Oxford words of the year can be found here (other notable year-end word lists such as those from Merriam-Webster, the American Dialect Society, and the Global Language Monitor, have yet to appear).
Meta: word-forming element meaning 1. "after, behind," 2. "changed, altered," 3. "higher, beyond;" from Gk.
Are you enthusiastic ("pertaining to possession by a deity," from Gk. enthousiastikos "inspired," from enthousiazein ) about Etymology? ( ethimolegia "facts of the origin and development of a word," from O.Fr. et(h)imologie (14c., Mod.Fr. étymologie), from L. etymologia, from Gk. etymologia, properly "study of the true sense (of a word)," Then why not explore ( 1580s, "to investigate, examine," a back formation from exploration, or else from M.Fr. explorer (16c.), from L. explorare ) the vast resources (1610s, "means of supplying a want or deficiency," from Fr. resourse) of the ONLINE ETYMOLOGY DICTIONARY [more inside]
From the mid 40s to the mid 50s Coronet Instructional Films were always ready to provide social guidance for teenagers on subjects as diverse as dating, popularity, preparing for being drafted, and shyness, as well as to children on following the law, the value of quietness in school, and appreciating our parents. They also provided education on topics such as the connection between attitudes and health, what kind of people live in America, how to keep a job, supervising women workers, the nature of capitalism, and the plantation System in Southern life. Inside is an annotated collection of all 86 of the complete Coronet films in the Prelinger Archives as well as a few more. Its not like you had work to do or anything right? [more inside]
Ten insulting words you should know. And a good deal of words you may wish you didn't. (SFW unless mild swear words count).
In the late Sixties and early Seventies several experiments were begun to test whether or not a non-human primate could construct a sentence. Several species were involved in these various experiments including the chimpanzees Washoe and Nim, a gorilla named Koko, and later in the Eighties work began with a bonobo named Kanzi. While great progress was made in teaching these primates a vocabulary, it would be difficult to see any of these experiments as a success. And all of these projects raised important questions about the ethics of such experiments. [more inside]
"It is of such stiff stuff that the upper lip of the British phonetician should be fashioned, giving short shrift to chauvinism."
Howjsay.com is a unique online speaking dictionary that offers clear pronunciations of English words, phrases, slang terms, technical terms, brand names, proper names, profanity, and many foreign words, including common variations and alternatives. Astoundingly, the sound files are not computer-generated -- every single one of the site's 138,152 entries are enunciated in the dignified tones of British academic and polyglot Tim Bowyer, who has steadily expanded its glossary over the years using logs of unsuccessful searches and direct user suggestions. The site is part of Bowyer's Fonetiks.org family of language sites, and is also available as a browser extension and as a mobile app for iPhone/iPod and Blackberry.
A flat disc made of ceramic or china on which is placed a small pile of legumes in a hearty tomato sauce
Knoword is a game where it's good to be loquacious.
The 50 words that generate the most click-throughs to the dictionary from the New York Times. The Nieman Journalism Lab reveals the words that sent NYT readers running to the Merriam-Webster. Key fact: Maureen Dowd is overly fond of the word "louche." If the post is TL;DR for you, here's the list in Wordle.
International House of Logorrhea, at The Phrontistry, a free online dictionary of weird and unusual words to help enhance your vocabulary. Generous language resources, 2 and 3 letter Scrabble words l The Compass DeRose Guide to Emotion Words l all kinds of glossaries for color terms, wisdom, love and attraction, scientific instruments, manias and obsessions, feeding and eating, carriages and chariots, dance styles and all kinds of fun word stuff. [more inside]
Play Trivia to Help Save Abandoned Animals. Free Rice set the standard for on-line charity games and Free Poverty soon followed by donating water. Now you can play for free kibble to be donated to either Rocket Dog Rescue or The Urban Cat Project.
EclipseCrossword is a powerful windows tool for automatically creating crossword puzzles. You can create multiple puzzles from the same word list; print the puzzles in assorted formats; or export interactive puzzles for web pages. [more inside]
The wonderful wordsmith, Anu Garg, at Wordsmith.org has posted five words this week: "To barrack"."Bidentate"."Meeken". "Palinode". "Obambulate". Definitions inside. [more inside]
Use everyone's logic and vocabulary skills to figure out what the secret word is.
Wikiwords is a collaborative project to create a dictionary of all terms in all languages.
The American Dialect Society has announced the 2005 word of the year. Sadly, muffin top, crotchfruit, Cruizasy (PDF file), and the obviously wonderful popesquatting were big old losers.
Merrian-Webster open dictionary "Have you spotted a new word or a new sense for an old word that hasn't made it into the dictionary yet? Well, here's your chance to add your discovery (and its definition) to Merriam-Webster's Open Dictionary"
If listening to sound of different languages is something you may be interested in, visit the multimedia language project website hosted by the Martin Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg. It features the sound files of a small blurb from Saint-Exupéry's The Little Prince read outloud in a 100 different languages. The blurbs are also textually transcribed. [See more inside]
JoeMyGod implores his queer peers: What's the Gayest Thing You've Ever Done? • ''That is SO gay! I've been thinking about that expression a lot lately. What does it mean? Is it a playground epithet that is simply in vogue with the grown-ups? Or is it a sign that gay culture is so integrated into the pop culture that even the hets now see the evidence of homo-style in their everyday lives, and make jokes about it?" A followup to the original post, Part II: Flaming Son of "Gay, Gayer, Gayest"
Collins Word Exchange "At Collins we pride ourselves on reflecting current language, used by real English speakers across the world." Collins have launched a public forum designed for (amongst other things) discussing 'new' words and the legitamacy of their inclusion in official dictionaries. Chav is probably on its way, but I'm no intellectual snob, but bounce-backability? Even I'd balk at that one.
And, just remember kids, flip-flopper is not valid for use in scrabble
And, just remember kids, flip-flopper is not valid for use in scrabble
Deconstructing Dude A linguist from the University of Pittsburgh has published a scholarly paper deconstructing and deciphering the word "dude," contending it is much more than a catchall for lazy, inarticulate surfers, slackers and teenagers. An admitted dude-user during his college years, Scott Kiesling said the four-letter word has many uses, all of which express closeness between men in a safely heterosexual manner. How about you? Do you do the dude? If so, does that mean you're white [PDF]?
More on arithmetic in the Amazon The 10/15 issue of Science has the official publication of Peter Gordon's work on numerical cognition among the Pirahã, and a companion article by Pierre Pica et al. on similar research among another Amazonian tribe, the Mundurukú. What with the U.S. election and the discovery of H. Floresiensis, this is not getting nearly as a much play as the pre-publication back in August of Peter Gordon's work. Brian Butterworth has an piece in the Guardian about both articles, and I've put some links, quotes and diagrams here. Compared to the reports on the Pirahã, the Mundurukú people, language, and experiments are all somewhat different, although the conclusions are broadly similar.
The Internet's Most Accurate English-to-English Dictionary This internet service will translate any English word, phrase or passage into English, or vice versa. Your original grammar, style, and spelling are left intact!
Native Languages of the Americas: Preserving and promoting American Indian languages.
The OEDILF is an audacious project which is attempting to write a limerick for every word in the English language. 642 limericks have been completed so far. Here's an overview of the project. Is it possible? Here's what editor-in-chief Chris J. Stolin says:
Skeptics say it's inconceivable.(via languagehat.)
A new OED? Unbelievable!
But I feel secure
That if we only endure,
It's a goal that is wholly achievable!
The Encyclopedia of Cajun Culture features everything from Acadiana to Zydeco. Two of the more interesting entries I've found are the Un-Cajun Committee and the unknown to me genre of Swamp Pop
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