Gathering in Washington D.C. for its annual meeting, the American Dialect Society has made its 26th annual selection for Word of the Year. And as predicted in this space last month, the winner is a lowly pronoun: they used as a gender-neutral alternative to he and she, with special attention paid to its use as an expression of "non-binary" gender identity. Continue reading...
Greetings from Washington, D.C., where the American Dialect Society is holding its annual conference. On Thursday, in my capacity as chair of the society's New Words Committee, I presided over the nominating session for various categories in our Word of the Year selection. Winners will be selected from the different categories on Friday evening, culminating in the vote for the overall Word of the Year. Here's the list of nominees. Continue reading...
Topics: Fun Words
A few days after high school senior Katelyn "Lyn" Leech posted a list she'd created from the Broadway hit Hamilton using the Vocabulary.com list builder, her Twitter notifications went through the roof. She knew something was up, but it wasn't until she logged on that she saw what it was. Hamilton creator and star Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin_Manuel) had tweeted Lyn's list to his large following. Continue reading...
The fourth Republican debate was, in terms of content, an exploration of the future of the United States economy. Linguistically, however, it was a bit of a throwback. Several of the candidates used words and phrases that can strike the modern ear as a bit antiquated. Continue reading...
Intensive purposes? Slight of hand? Linguist Adam Cooper contemplates phrases whose meanings are in transition as we replace unfamiliar words fossilized with language that sounds more reasonable to our modern ears. Continue reading...
Maybe it's the newly chilly air, or the dwindling daylight, or the thrilling prospect of costumes and candy. Whatever the reason, each autumn brings a harvest of seasonal neologisms, word blends, and commercial coinages as colorful as the falling leaves. Continue reading...
When English-language Scrabble champ Nigel Richards, who does not speak French, won a French-language Scrabble championship, analysts rushed to analyze how much memorization that actually entailed. Ben Zimmer explains that to get a full understanding of Richards' achievement, a simple counting of words in the dictionary only gives a partial picture. Continue reading...
Topics: Fun Language
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