Two cartoons for today: a Pearls Before Swine on some visual conventions in the comics, and a Dilbert on telling stories, through images and words.
Archive for the ‘Words’ Category
Over on Language Log, Mark Liberman has repeatedly scathed writers who criticize public figures over their word use, especially 1st person singular pronouns, which they take to be a sign of self-involvement or grandiosity. Mark notes, again and again, that these writers never do actual counts, but instead report their impressions — but Mark does the stats, and again and again finds the impressions flat wrong. Now a report in which someone actually cites the counts.
Via Gregory Ward, this Salon piece of the 24th by Katie McDonough, “President Obama has used the word “gay” in official remarks 272 times since taking office: His predecessor George W. Bush said “gay” twice, once in a speech denouncing marriage equality”.
Exoplanets are planets in solar systems outside our own. So I guess it was inevitable that when it was discovered that exoplanets had moons, they would be called exomoons. I discovered this delicious word in the January 2014 issue of Scientific American (p. 40), but no doubt it’s been around for some time.
On ADS-L: on Nov 7, 2013, at 7:58 AM, Bill Mullins wrote:
Subject: Re: hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia
Pardon a direct question. Is this fear of “666″?
Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia (derived from Ancient Greek roots ἑξακόσιοι [hexakósioi, "six hundred"], ἑξήκοντα [hexékonta, "sixty"], and ἕξ [héx, "six"]; literally meaning “fear of [the number] six hundred sixty-six”) is the fear that originated from the Biblical verse Revelation 13:18, which indicates that the number 666 is the Number of the Beast, linked to Satan or the Anti-Christ.
Today’s Bizarro, with the suggestive word screwage:
It turns out that screwage is attested in at least three senses, involving differet bases screw and different uses of the derivational suffix -age.
From a friend yesterday:
Recently the word “selfie” has been showing up, referring to images taken of oneself, usually with a cell phone.
I was wondering how long it takes for a word such as this to become accepted and recognized by you authorities on words.
Two matters here: the word selfie; and acceptance and recognition by authorities on words.
A Shoebox cartoon by Brian G. (in the Chuck and Beans series) from 4/30/10:
Note that all four of the terms in this diagram — dweeb, nerd, geek, and dork — are of obscure etymology. This is a semantic domain where people are likely to just make words up.
(Another Chuck and Beans strip came by here.)
From Walt Slocombe in yesterday’s mail:
I saw (on another blog that I cannot now find again) a piece on word combinations that include a word originally in general usage that has come to be barely used except in a single combination.
(Walt recalled wend one’s way and cast aspersions.)
I suspect that there are several blogs of this sort, but one I found right away (using the two examples Walt remembered) was this one on “verbal vestigia” — about “words in English that seem to exist only in a single phrase”.
Walt then offered an example of his own:
One from modern politics, is the term “tantamount to election,” — “tantamount” in current usage is almost never encountered except in the context of political systems so dominated by one party (as in the old solid south, today’s heavily gerrymandered legislative districts, and the District of Columbia) that winning the dominant party’s primary is “tantamount to election.”
But his impression that tantamount is almost entirely restricted to tantamount to election is well off the mark.