Daniel Soar on the militarisation of metaphor
: Spies aren’t known for their cultural sensitivity. So it was a surprise when news broke last month that IARPA, a US government agency that funds ‘high-risk/high-payoff research’ into areas of interest to the ‘intelligence community’, had put out a call for contributions to its Metaphor Program, a five-year project to discover what a foreign culture’s metaphors can reveal about its beliefs.
posted by jack_mo
on Jun 27, 2011 -
tag on Wordnik
tracks consonant-vowel patterns in words. "bleeding", "pheasant", "shoeless", "trousers" — ccvvcvcc
; "quiet", "naiad", "Sioux", "feuar" — cvvvc
; "anglophile", "attractive", "impressure", "ingressive" — vcccvccvcv
posted by Rory Marinich
on May 26, 2011 -
Halló humans on the Inter-net. My name is Iceland. I am an island, full of mountains and glaciers and hot water and sheep and many nice Icelandic people, who like to make music, and who are sometimes cold. (Maybe you have seen me on your tele-visions, or your Inter-net.) I have heard that many humans use the Inter-net to make friends, and to talk about themselves. I decided to do this, too. Iceland wants to be your friend. [more inside]
posted by carsonb
on May 19, 2011 -
is a lightweight, fast game of forming associations, which is, ahem, "based on" the BBC's Only Connect
. Hundreds of grids to play and you can submit your own, too! (The BBC site has a few dozen more
, in a fancier, louder flash app.)
posted by Wolfdog
on Sep 20, 2010 -
Climate change and the vuvuzela leave mark on Oxford Dictionary of English.
Other words and phrases introduced for the latest edition include 'toxic debt', 'staycation', 'cheesebal' and 'national treasure'. To balance them out among the 2,000 or so new items there are a few more left-field choices.
Among them are 'cheeseball', which refers to someone or something lacking taste, style or originality, and the more disturbing phenomenon of 'hikikomori', the Japanese word for the acute social withdrawal that occurs in some teenage boys.
posted by Fizz
on Aug 19, 2010 -
When Alan Cooper was in the second grade, his teacher introduced him to "homonyms," those words, like "caret" and "carrot" that are pronounced the same, but are spelled differently, and that have different meanings. The concept intrigued him, and over the years he has maintained an ever-growing list. Alan Cooper's Homonyms
. [more inside]
posted by netbros
on Feb 20, 2010 -
The New Oxford American Dictionary Word of the Year is.... UNFRIEND.
That's right, the negation of the verbification of 'friend'. Well, it's not quite as cringe-worthy as some of the runners-up... Teabagger?!?
And previous winners of this honor were Hypermiling (2008)
, Locavore (2007)
, Carbon-Neutral (2006)
and Podcast (2005)
(links include each year's finalists, including frugalista, staycation, bacn, mumblecore, Islamofascism, funner, lifehack and squick). Best comment about the WotY (so far)? "an unreliable yet fascinating barometer of tech"
. But, at risk of over-editorializing, these look more like candidates for the Banished Words List
. Clearly better is the recent list of "A Word a Year, 1906-2006"
from Oxford's website (if only for the invaluable perspective of time).
posted by oneswellfoop
on Nov 17, 2009 -
"four-letter words have a special status in the english language and culture. counting in at over 1650 words,...this small project is an attempt to give a spacial overview of the entirety of this part of english language heritage, as well as to explore and visualize relations between all those words."
posted by hortense
on Jun 4, 2009 -
Why would an evolutionary biologist study words? It turns out there is an astonishing parallel
between the evolution of words in a lexicon and the evolution of genes in an organism. The word two
, for example, has been around much longer than most, and will likely be with us for millennia, whereas the comparatively rare and recent word dirty
has undergone many mutations, and will probably be extinct in a few hundred years. Professor Mark Pagel
, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Reading, UK, tells us why on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's program As It Happens
. Pull slider to 16:00 to start the seven minute interview
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium
on Mar 7, 2009 -
Save the Words. Do lost words still have meaning?
st because society has neglected them doesn't make them any less of a word. How do you get lost words back in the dictionary?
s scanning publications and other communication for words not curre
ntly housed in the dictionar
y, all yo
u need do is use your adopted words as often as possible. G
* - government by an old woman or women
. [more inside]
posted by Tufa
on Jan 29, 2009 -
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
, 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]
posted by nickyskye
on Jan 11, 2009 -
is a collection of 3210 words that are troublesome to readers and writers. Words are grouped according to the way they are most often confused or misused.
posted by blue_beetle
on Aug 11, 2008 -