Lexicon

Spanish Words "White" People Can't Say

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A comedic take on "white" people trying to pronounce Spanish words and their struggle in the performance of a basic Spanish lexicon—even in words that share a striking spelling resemblance to its English cognate. Some noteworthy examples appear when the participants are asked to pronounce “refrigerador” and “negar,” with some subjects showing visible apprehension to merely attempt the latter.

Words of NYTime's "Modern Love"

Modern Love is a column in the New York Times in which various people contribute personal essays and short stories about life and love. This article collected lexical data over all the Modern Love articles (it has been a column for 13 years). The author analyzed this data by words most frequently used by men and women, in order to answer the question, "What do we write about when we write about love?" [Published on 11-07-2017]

Posted by Janet Sebastian-Coleman on November 9, 2017

Tags:
Femininity;
Masculinity;
Biological Sex;
Lexicon

The Pronoun They

This article explains how we have gender pronouns in the English language. By drawing examples from how English developed, McCulloch provides information of why gender pronouns are important and are used today. #Ideology #Lexicon #Performativity #Gender non conforming #Gender binary [Published on 06-02-2014]

Posted by Jane Wallerstedt on November 9, 2017

Tags:
Ideology;
Performativity;
Gender Binary;
gender non-conforming;
Lexicon

19 Words Your Kids Use, Explained

An article from 2014 explaining several key slang words and phrases that youth were using at the time, many of which seem relevant today including “bae” and “shade.” The article further displays how language continues to evolve, as the words people use as youths can make their ways into their adult speech and thus possibly garner mass acceptance across a community of speech or practice. [Published on 10-07-2014]

Posted by Jeremy Pafford on October 7, 2017

Tags:
Indexicality;
Youth;
Communities of Practice;
Slang;
Lexicon

Subways

This meme demonstrates the use of the term "subways" to mean footlong submarine sandwiches, which are strongly associated with the restaurant chain Subway. Lexical innovation!

Posted by Gregor McGee on September 14, 2017

Tags:
Accent;
Lexicon

Dogs Are Doggos: An Internet Language Built Around Love For The Puppers

An article describing the evolution of "doggolingo" across the internet over the past few years. It does cite linguists as commenting on the trends. Comments on the lexical and onomatopoetic nature of the "lingo." [Published on 04-23-2017]

Posted by Melanie Stoddard on April 24, 2017

Tags:
Internet Language;
Slang;
Lexicon

Bazinga

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The word 'bazinga' was made popular by the character of Sheldon in The Big Bang Theory, but it is now frequently outside the show as well. For example, John Oliver recently used it in his phenomenally popular "Make Donald Drumpf Again" skit. It demonstrates the phenomenon of an essentially made-up word coming entering into popular usage, outside of its original context. Also, interesting to note is that in the clip, they start using it as a noun, once its meaning has been solidly established as an exclamation.

Posted by Willis Jenks on April 4, 2016

Tags:
Lexicon

Debate about who gets to use a word

cw: discussion of racial slur This is a CNN interview between a white commentator and a black rapper named Trinidad. They're debating about use of the n-word. I find the controversy about who gets to use certain words fascinating. I hear a power & privilege conversation most often, as well as an "in-group" vs "out-group" conversation. [Published on 03-17-2015]

Posted by Chase Doremus on March 17, 2015

Tags:
Ideology;
Power;
African American English;
Race,Ethnicity;
Stigma;
Lexicon

How Y’all, Youse and You Guys Talk

This is a quiz on the NY Times website based on the Harvard Dialect Survey. It gives you a map of which places in the US speak most similar to you. I thought of this when we were talking about conceptions of American dialects.

Posted by Gregor McGee on February 19, 2015

Tags:
American English;
Variation;
Accent;
Lexicon

At the Super Bowl of Linguistics, may the best word win

New York TImes coverage of the American Dialect Society's Word of the Year vote, in which the first ever hashtag, #blacklivesmatter, was selected as the Word of 2014. [Published on 01-16-2015]

Posted by Kara Becker on January 20, 2015

Tags:
American English;
Lexicon

Time Magazine's "Which Words Should We Ban?"

The banned word poll consists mainly of slang found in youth culture and in AAE, and while the article suggests the words in question are new and over-exposed, the lexical items in AAE have long been in use. The descriptions for the words and slang mock those who use them, heavily targeting African American youth. [Published on 11-12-2014]

Posted by Amelia Wolf on November 17, 2014

Tags:
African American English;
Youth;
Prescriptivism;
Slang;
Lexicon

Why language about race changes over time

An NPR piece on changing terms for racial and ethnic categories, but really is about how terms change over time through process of pejoration, or what Pinker calls the "euphemism treadmill." [Published on 11-10-2014]

Posted by Kara Becker on November 11, 2014

Tags:
Indexicality;
Race,Ethnicity;
Lexicon

The n-word: An Interactive Feature

An interactive piece on use of the word "nigger" in contemporary American English, with interviews from varying perspectives and on varying aspects of the term's use, including in- vs. out-group usage, reclamation, and its use in hip hop culture. [Published on 11-10-2014]

Posted by Kara Becker on November 10, 2014

Tags:
American English;
African American English;
Race,Ethnicity;
Lexicon

NPR: A quick guide to Liberian English

A short piece on lexicon used in Liberian English, with some history on the variety from John Singler. [Published on 11-10-2014]

Posted by Kara Becker on November 10, 2014

Tags:
Liberian Creole;
Lexicon

When Slang Becomes a Slur

Linguist Geoffrey Nunberg, who testified in the trademark trial over the name of the football team the Washington Redskins, argues that the term remains a slur and that the team name should be changed. [Published on 06-23-2014]

Posted by Kara Becker on June 25, 2014

Tags:
Entextualization;
American Indian;
Race,Ethnicity;
Slang;
Lexicon

Listen: How to Speak with a certain Southern Twang

Walt Wolfram discusses the Appalachian variety in North Carolina in an audio clip for North Carolina public radio, including features like [Published on 06-09-2014]

The Origins of Office Speak

An article that describes the evolution of "office speak" or business jargon, in American English, across the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. [Published on 04-24-2014]

Posted by Kara Becker on April 25, 2014

Tags:
American English;
Discourse;
Lexicon

Mapping how America Talks

The Atlantic compiled audio recordings from the Harvard Dialect Survey and the maps of Jonathan Katz from the same dataset into a video.

Posted by Kara Becker on December 10, 2013

Tags:
American English;
Accent;
Lexicon

A brief history of Dude

A 2013 article in the Atlantic on the evolving meanings of the term of address "dude," with quotes from Scott Kiesling

Posted by Kara Becker on October 24, 2013

Tags:
Youth;
Masculinity;
Slang;
Lexicon

Dialect Survey Maps

From Jonathan Katz, a statistician at NC State University, with links to a dialect quiz in both short and long-form

Posted by Kara Becker on September 21, 2013

Tags:
American English;
Lexicon

conflicting definitions of "terrorism"

Describes different definitions of "terrorism" in use by U.S. government agencies, the general U.S. public, and other places.

Posted by Beth Young on July 9, 2013

Tags:
Lexicon;
Semantics;
Politics and Policy

The 'Demubarakization' of Egypt

A NYT blog piece on the removal of the name "Mubarak" from many places and institutions after his abdication.

Posted by Meredith Tamminga on June 19, 2013

Tags:
Power;
Lexicon;
Politics and Policy

A linguist's take on the knaidel/kneydl controversy

Sociolinguist Sarah Bunin Benor weighs in on the controversy that erupted over the "correct" spelling of the word that won the 2013 Scripps National Spelling Bee -- knaidel. The spelling was disputed by some Yiddish activists and Orthodox community members who argue for "kneydl."

Posted by Kara Becker on June 18, 2013

Tags:
Jewish;
Lexicon

Buzzfeed: The Ultimate Regional Vocabulary Throwdown

A 2013 Buzzfeed list of a number of regionally distinguished lexical items, including pop and soda, sub and its variants, tennis shoes and sneakers, and more.

Posted by Kara Becker on March 20, 2013

Tags:
American English;
Lexicon

Black vs. African American

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A 2008 video on the use of the terms "black" and "African American" as terms of self-reference. I use this with the reading: Smitherman, Geneva. 1991. "What is African to me?" Language, ideology and African American. American Speech.

"No Homo" in hip hop

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A 2008 video post on the slang term "No Homo," defined as a "defense mechanism" used within hop hop culture by men wo want to confirm their heteromasculinity.

American Tongues: Lexicon

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A segment from American Tongues highlighting lexical variation in American English.

Posted on November 1, 2012

Tags:
American English;
Lexicon

Americans Are Barmy Over Britishisms

Discussion of increasing popularity of British vernacular in American English.

NPR: The Lost Gay Language of Britain's 60s

A 2003 interview with linguist Paul Baker about his book on Polari, a "secret" code used by gay men in the U.K. in the 1960s.

Posted on October 9, 2012

Tags:
Gay Mens Language;
Lexicon;
Slang

Yorkshire "dictionary" for foreign doctors

A 2010 Daily mirror article about a Yorkshire "dictionary" of contemporary slang that is currently distributed to foreign (European) doctors.

Posted on October 2, 2012

Tags:
British English;
Lexicon

New England Lexicon

A list of "words unique to New England," compiled by www.worcestermass.com.

Posted on October 2, 2012

Tags:
New England;
Lexicon

Generic Names for Soft Drinks

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Map created in 2004 showing the distribution of pop, soda, and coke in the United States.

Posted on September 13, 2012

Tags:
American English;
Lexicon

How New Words Are Added to Dictionaries

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Posted on August 26, 2012

Tags:
Prescriptivism;
Lexicon