Emoji(s) are hot news these days. In the NYT yesterday, “Look Who’s Smiley Now: MoMA Acquires Original Emoji” by Amanda Hess. And just a bit earlier, two cartoons linking emoji to hieroglyphics, one by Cameron Harvey, the other by a cartoonist I haven’t identified. And before that, an article about emoji scholars, including our local specialist, Tyler Schnoebelen.
Archive for the ‘Terminology’ Category
Caught in the NYT Book Review feature “By the Book” on Sunday (November 1st), in an interview with Gloria Steinem, three questions from the interviewer, questions with Acc whom beginning a WH, or constituent, question:
(1) Whom do you consider to be the best contemporary feminist writers?
(2) Whom do you consider the most underrated or unappreciated writers, past and present?
(3) Whom would you want to write your life story?
The WH element in all three questions is “extracted” from a position that requires an Acc —
(1′) You consider him / *he to be the best contemporary feminist writers.
(2′) You consider him / *he the most underrated or unappreciated writers, past and present.
(3′) You want him / *he to write your life story.
and so Acc whom is prescriptively correct. My own usage has who in all three of these examples; I found the interviewer’s whoms to be stiff, over-formal (even prissy), and old-fashioned — but that’s a matter of taste.
In my “Mishearings” posting yesteday, I quoted Oliver Sacks:
I carefully record these in a little red notebook labeled “PARACUSES” — aberrations in hearing, especially mishearings.
Readers on Facebook were unable to find a reference on the term paracuses and entertained the possibility that Sacks had just made it up. As it turns out, no, or at least not entirely. The beginning of understanding is that the term is plural; it’s Sacks’s learnèd plural of the Greek-derived technical term paracusis. And that we can find in dictionaries.
In the previous installment (4/4/14, here), Geoff Nunberg was looking for a good term to use for a particular class of racially coded vocabularly, for a discussion on public radio: dog whistle, euphemism, whatever. He makes the point that the purpose of this vocabulary is crucial.
On the next day, on ADS-L, from Geoff:
the figure is designed to avoid unambiguously suggesting certain social attitudes to listeners who disapprove of them (as distinct from euphemisns, which enable the speaker to avoid uttering a coextensive term that some listeners find unsavory). “Obliquity” conveys one part of this, and “conivinutation” nicely conveys the other, though neither is a word they would let you use on public radio.
Obliquity, though rare, is not unattested. But conivinutation?
Today’s Zits returns to a familiar topic on this strip and on Zippy: changes in how we communicate across a distance:
Once we wrote letters by hand; then we had the telegraph for important messages; then for quick everyday communication we had phones with dials and (later) phones with buttons; then came cellphones (making us mobile) and e-mail (combining the speed of phones with the asynchronous advantages of letters); and then texting, social media, and tweeting. Who uses which modes of communication for which purposes changes, and very different styles of using the technologies emerge.
Jeremy is so over land lines.
In the mail today, an ad for the game Morphology:
Morphology, the hilarious guessing game where CREATIVITY WINS!
Morphology is a fun, creative and challenging party board game combining simple shapes, your imagination and creativity. Using wooden sticks, glass beads and colored cubes how would you create a “butterfly”? …or “airplane”? Now try doing it with your eyes closed or using only the string! Morphology takes unique twists and turns, and has everyone laughing out loud. For ages 13 and up.
The name of the game turns on the Greek root morph- ‘form’. Morphology is a much-used term, though the different senses are very unlikely to interfere with one another in actual practice.
Another thing that came past me first thing in the morning on NPR’s Morning Edition on September 12: a KQED opinion segment by Jeremy Sherman, who was identified by the KQED announcer as “a Berkeley-based evolutionary epistemologist”. I wasn’t familiary with evolutionary epistemologist as a job title, so I checked it out.