background preloader

20 words that once meant something very different

20 words that once meant something very different
Words change meaning over time in ways that might surprise you. We sometimes notice words changing meaning under our noses (e.g., unique coming to mean “very unusual” rather than “one of a kind”) — and it can be disconcerting. How in the world are we all going to communicate effectively if we allow words to shift in meaning like that? The good news: History tells us that we’ll be fine. Words have been changing meaning — sometimes radically — as long as there have been words and speakers to speak them. Here is just a small sampling of words you may not have realized didn’t always mean what they mean today. Nice: This word used to mean “silly, foolish, simple.” We’re human. Watch Anne Curzan’s TED Talk to find out what makes a word “real”.

http://ideas.ted.com/20-words-that-once-meant-something-very-different/

Related:  LanguageLanguage

The World's Most Spoken Languages And Where They Are Spoken This beautifully illustrated infographic (above), designed by South China Morning Post’s graphics director Alberto Lucas Lopéz, shows the most spoken known languages in the world and where they’re spoken by the 6.3 billion people included in the study. Based on records collated from the database Ethnologue, the infographic illustrates the wide-ranging facts and figures of the world’s living languages catalogued since 1951. “There are at least 7,102 known languages alive in the world today. Twenty-three of these languages are a mother tongue for more than 50 million people.

New words — and what they say about us Maybe two years ago, my sister and I came up with what we thought was a genius term for a photo that someone snapped of themselves on their cameraphone: an “extended arm shot.” Someone else, however, came up with a term that rolled far more easily off the tongue: the “selfie.” The rest is history.

The case of the missing “u”s in American English Before you consciously became aware of your decision to read this article, your brain was already making the necessary preparations to click the link. There are a few crucial milliseconds between the moment when you’re consciously aware of a plan to act, and the moment you take action. This brief window is thought by some scientists to be the moment in time when we can exercise free will. It gives us the chance to consciously make a decision, suggesting we aren’t just slaves to our impulses.

Scottish government renames 'offender' as 'person with conviction' People released from Scottish prisons will no longer be referred to as "offenders", under Scottish government plans. The new National Strategy for Criminal Justice said they should be referred to as a "person with convictions" or "person with an offending history". The government said the change underlined the "power of language" to affect behaviour. Critics said it risked suggesting that ministers did not take crime seriously. In the government's national strategy, Justice Secretary Michael Matheson said ministers were "adopting a preventative approach, not only to reduce crime and the number of future victims of crime, but to help to create a more just, equitable, and inclusive society where people's life chances were improved." 'Shift attitudes'

The secret language of South Asia’s transgender community — Quartz In South Asia, there is a hidden language known only to the region’s hijra community. Found in Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh, the hijra are an old and marginalized group, whose members identify as men born with the souls of women. Hijras call themselves she-males and effigies, as well as kwaja sera, or the “guards of the harem,” a title that recalls their historical role serving monarchs in the region. urticator.net - Excerpts from Uncleftish Beholding For most of its being, mankind did not know what things are made of, but could only guess. With the growth of worldken, we began to learn, and today we have a beholding of stuff and work that watching bears out, both in the workstead and in daily life. The underlying kinds of stuff are the firststuffs, which link together in sundry ways to give rise to the rest.

A 3D Map Of The Brain Shows How We Understand Language <img src="<a pearltreesdevid="PTD2167" rel="nofollow" href=" class="vglnk"><span pearltreesdevid="PTD2168">http</span><span pearltreesdevid="PTD2170">://</span><span pearltreesdevid="PTD2172">pixel</span><span pearltreesdevid="PTD2174">.</span><span pearltreesdevid="PTD2176">quantserve</span><span pearltreesdevid="PTD2178">.</span><span pearltreesdevid="PTD2180">com</span><span pearltreesdevid="PTD2182">/</span><span pearltreesdevid="PTD2184">pixel</span><span pearltreesdevid="PTD2186">/</span><span pearltreesdevid="PTD2188">p</span><span pearltreesdevid="PTD2190">-</span><span pearltreesdevid="PTD2192">cafODhhaQOlCs</span><span pearltreesdevid="PTD2194">.</span><span pearltreesdevid="PTD2196">gif</span></a>" style="display:none" height="1" width="1" alt="Quantcast" /> None

7 cultural concepts we don't have in the U.S. From the end of October through the New Year and onto Valentine's Day, it's easy to forget that the holidays we celebrate are simply cultural constructs that we can choose to engage in — or not. The concepts and ideas we celebrate — like our spiritual beliefs and daily habits — are a choice, though sometimes it feels like we "have" to celebrate them, even if we don't feel like it. Culture is ours to do with as we choose, and that means that we can add, subtract, or edit celebrations or holidays as we see fit — because you and me and everyone reading this makes up our culture, and it is defined by us, for us, after all. If you want to add a new and different perspective to your life, there are plenty of other ways to recognize joy and beauty outside American traditions. Friluftsliv

Related: