CONTRIBUTOR : Dennis Baron

Dennis Baron is professor of English and linguistics at the University of Illinois and writes regularly on linguistic issues at The Web of Language. He is the author of A Better Pencil: Readers, Writers, and the Digital Revolution. You can follow him on Twitter @DrGrammar.
1 2 3 Displaying 1-7 of 19 Articles
A law firm that specializes in defending whistleblowers has started a petition on Change.org to persuade dictionaries and thesauruses to ditch their derogatory synonyms for whistleblower in favor of positive terms. Continue reading...
Click here to read more articles from Behind the Dictionary.
In the spirit of New Year's resolutions like quit smoking, lose weight, exercise more, each January brings new calls to ban words, the linguistic equivalent of losing weight. But while New Year's resolutions are self-imposed — I decide that an hour on the elliptical watching Sherlock would be better than an hour on the couch with Sherlock and a bowl of chips — word bans tend to be imposed by someone else. Continue reading...
TOPICS: Language, Usage, Words
Click here to read more articles from Word Count.
It's that time of year when everyone is making their case for the Word of the Year. For Dennis Baron, English professor at the University of Illinois and author of the blog The Web of Language, the word of 2013 is none other than marriage. Continue reading...
TOPICS: Language, Politics, Words
Click here to read more articles from Word Count.
Judges, like the rest of us, turn to dictionaries when they're not sure about the meaning of a word. Or they turn to dictionaries when they're sure about a word's meaning, but they need some confirmation. Or they turn to a dictionary that defines a word the way they want it defined, rejecting as irrelevant, inadmissible, and immaterial any definitions they don't like. Continue reading...
Click here to read more articles from Behind the Dictionary.
Last week, lexicographer and Word Routes columnist Ben Zimmer presented his nominees for Word of the Year. Now here is the Word of the Year selection of Dennis Baron, English professor at the University of Illinois and author of the blog The Web of Language. Continue reading...
TOPICS: Language, Words
Click here to read more articles from Word Count.

Dennis Baron, English professor at the University of Illinois and author of the blog The Web of Language, writes:

The Web of Language Word of the Year for 2011 is "volatility." Volatility may not be trendy like occupy or Arab Spring, but it's the one word that characterizes the bipolar mood of 2011 in everything from politics to economics. Continue reading...
Click here to read more articles from Word Count.
The terrorist attacks on 9/11 happened ten years ago, and although everybody remembers what they were doing at that flashbulb moment, and many aspects of our lives were changed by those attacks, from traveling to shopping to going online, one thing stands out: the only significant impact that 9/11 has had on the English language is 9/11 itself. Continue reading...
TOPICS: Vocabulary, Words, Usage
Click here to read more articles from Behind the Dictionary.
1 2 3 Displaying 1-7 of 19 Articles