Blog Profile / Slate: Lexicon Valley


URL :http://www.slate.com/blogs/lexicon_valley.html
Filed Under:Academics / Linguistics
Posts on Regator:760
Posts / Week:1.8
Archived Since:June 9, 2008

Blog Post Archive

Merry Thoughts, Naughty Bits: Putting the “Bone” in Wishbones

This post originally appeared on Strong Language, a sweary blog about swearing. At the Strong Language table this U.S. Thanksgiving, we’ll be having none of that euphemistic white or dark meat first served up in the polite speech of 19th-century American English. Show More Summary

It’s Out of Africa meets Pretty Woman! The Art and Science of Mixture Descriptions

Capturing the essence of a movie is tricky work, especially when you’ve only got a few minutes to pitch your idea in front of a high-powered executive. It’s Out of Africa meets Pretty Woman! Ghost meets The Manchurian Candidate! These...Show More Summary

What the Eff Is Up With the “A” in “Effing A”?

This post originally appeared on Strong Language, a sweary blog about swearing. Swearing loves the alphabet—or euphemisms for swearing do, at least. To avoid saying fuck outright, we might just drop an F-bomb, sidestep with the F-word, or register “initial” reactions with WTF. Show More Summary

This Year’s Word of the Year Isn’t Even a Word ??????

The Oxford Dictionaries “Word” of the Year 2015 has landed. It’s ?, aka face with tears of joy, already weeping with relief at its victory. (I suppose we asked for this.) Casper Grathwohl, president of Oxford Dictionaries, explains the...Show More Summary

Where Did We Get Cooties? 

This post originally appeared on Strong Language, a sweary blog about swearing. Can we get cooties from a cooter? Etymologically? No. But if you do get cooties from a cooter, there’s a good chance they’ll be crabs. Cooties was the term...Show More Summary

We Need a Better Word for Spreading Vicious Rumors. Let’s Try Calumny. 

Early in the day on Monday someone possibly related to the hacktivist group Anonymous released on Pastebin a possibly real, possibly trustworthy possible data dump possibly identifying persons of note possibly connected to the Ku Klux Klan. Note: That’s a lot of possibles. Here in North Carolina, we went a little crazy: freshman Sen. Show More Summary

“Teachers! Please Do Not Make Your Students Use Synonyms for ‘Said,’” I Blurted

My fourth-grade English teacher employed a list of words he called “D.N.U.’s,” for “do not use.” It was about a dozen words long and included get, nice, very, and thing. If he saw one in our papers he would flag it and make a tutting sound, although he didn’t always notice. Show More Summary

Rhubarb: A Tart, Theatrical Word for BS

As part of the launch of Bullshit: A Lexicon, Mark Peters is writing a BS word of the day. While researching words for bullshit—for my book Bullshit: A Lexicon—I noticed quite a few patterns. Many reduplicative words—like mumbo jumbo, fiddle-faddle, and flub dub—have a BS-type meaning. Show More Summary

The Ellipsis Can Be Powerful ... or Deeply Annoying. Here’s a Guide to Using It Well.  

“All hail the power of an ellipsis,” proclaimed a recent Guardian column, which went on to fete the punctuation mark’s mystery and economy. Two days later, the paper ran an essay on the first ellipsis to grace English theater: an “incomplete utterance” in the 1585 translation of a play by the Roman dramatist Terence. Show More Summary

Listen. So. What Are Those Words We Say Before We Say What We Mean to Say?

Right. OK. Look, let’s talk about asterismos, a rhetorical device in which a seemingly unnecessary word or phrase is used to introduce what you’re about to say. The effect goes back to the Bible: “Lo, they came upon the stable.” “Behold,...Show More Summary

Merry Thoughts, Naughty Bits: Putting the "Bone" in Wishbones

This post originally appeared on Strong Language, a sweary blog about swearing. At the Strong Language table this U.S. Thanksgiving, we’ll be having none of that euphemistic white or dark meat first served up in the polite speech of 19th-century American English. Show More Summary

It's Out of Africa meets Pretty Woman! The Art and Science of Mixture Descriptions

Capturing the essence of a movie is tricky work, especially when you’ve only got a few minutes to pitch your idea in front of a high-powered executive. It’s Out of Africa meets Pretty Woman! Ghost meets The Manchurian Candidate! These...Show More Summary

What the Eff Is Up With the "A" in "Effing A"?

This post originally appeared on Strong Language, a sweary blog about swearing. Swearing loves the alphabet—or euphemisms for swearing do, at least. To avoid saying fuck outright, we might just drop an f bomb, sidestep with the f word, or register ‘initial’ reactions with WTF. Show More Summary

Verbing Weirds Language, but in a Good Way

We often think of parts of speech as immutable properties of words, but in some cases noun-ness and verb-ness are more like hair colors: you can switch them up without altering any core meanings. Consider the noun “a blanket” and the...Show More Summary

This Year's Word of the Year Isn't Even a Word ??????

The Oxford Dictionaries “Word” of the Year 2015 has landed. It’s ?, a.k.a. Face with Tears of Joy, already weeping with relief at its victory. (I suppose we asked for this.) Casper Grathwohl, president of Oxford Dictionaries, explains...Show More Summary

Sauce or Gravy? The Secret, Fervent Debate at the Heart of the Italian American Spaghetti Dinner.

“The Italians of my parents’ generation are held together by the notion of the family,” wrote Martin Scorsese in his introduction to Italianamerican: The Scorsese Family Cookbook. “That is why the pasta sauce is so sacred to the Italian family.” See, now right away we have a problem. Show More Summary

Spotting Hidden F-Words in Films

This post originally appeared on Strong Language, a sweary blog about swearing. We’ve looked at swearing in films before, in the obvious sense where it occurs on the audio track. But sometimes films offer visual swears, a few examples of which are presented below. Show More Summary

Where Did We Get Cooties? 

This post originally appeared on Strong Language, a sweary blog about swearing. Can we get cooties from a cooter? Etymologically? No. But if you do get cooties from a cooter, there’s a good chance they’ll be crabs. Cooties was the term...Show More Summary

Truthiness: BS Gets a Colbert Bump  

As part of the launch of Bullshit: A Lexicon, Mark Peters is writing a BS word of the day. Finally, we have arrived at the Stephen Colbert of BS words—a term coined in the first episode of The Colbert Report back in 2005. My book Bullshit:...Show More Summary

We Need a Better Word for Spreading Vicious Rumors. Let’s Try Calumny. 

Early in the day on November 2 someone possibly related to the hacktivist group Anonymous released on Pastebin a possibly real, possibly trustworthy possible data dump possibly identifying persons of note possibly connected to the Ku...Show More Summary

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