The Linguistics of LOL - Britt Peterson Post Typography When two friends created the site I Can Has Cheezburger?, in 2007, to share cat photos with funny, misspelled captions, it was a way of cheering themselves up. They probably weren’t thinking about long-term sociolinguistic implications. But seven years later, the “cheezpeep” community is still active online, chattering away in lolspeak, its own distinctive variety of English. lolspeak was meant to sound like the twisted language inside a cat’s brain, and has ended up resembling a down-South baby talk with some very strange characteristics, including deliberate misspellings (teh, ennyfing), unique verb forms (gotted, can haz), and word reduplication (fastfastfast). It can be difficult to master.
War of the words: the global conflict that helped shape our language War: the mother of invention. The phrase (a tweak of the proverb “necessity is the mother of invention”) refers to military technology. But a new book demonstrates how it is also true of language. The Word at War: World War Two in 100 Phrases is by Philip Gooden and Peter Lewis, who brought us the fascinating Idiomantics – a thrill-a-page tour of international idioms. Next year marks the 70th anniversary of the end of the second world war. It changed the way we think but also, the book demonstrates, the way we speak. WMDs, RGPs, DHS: how the Iraq war transformed the English language War leaves indelible marks on our language. How could it be otherwise? Turn on the news anytime in the last 10 years and you were greeted with an alphabet soup of RPGs, UAVs, DHS and the ubiquitous (until we couldn't find them) WMDs. Open the paper, and you'd have to pick your way through the minefield of "sectarian violence", "collateral damage" and "enhanced interrogation techniques". Call your cousin or your mother and the conversation ebbs and flows with "surge" and "drawdown".
100 words that define the First World War The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) World War I timeline shows some of the ways in which the events of the First World War left their mark on the English language. For example, the wet and muddy conditions of the first winter of trench warfare were evoked in the term Flanders mud (November 1914), while trench boots and trench coats (both December 1914) were invented to cope with these conditions. By early 1915 the physical and psychological effects of trench warfare were being felt: both trench foot and shell shock are first recorded in January 1915. One linguistically important event was the involvement of Australian and New Zealand troops at Gallipoli (1915), which led to the coinage or spread of terms such as Anzac (April 1915), Aussie (1915 as a noun), and the Anzacs’ affectionate term for a British soldier, choom (June 1916). The timeline also highlights developments in military technology, such as the introduction of the tank in 1916.
Super Storm Sandy and Candy Crush Have Changed the English Language actuallythink With so much of our communication happening online, computer scientists now have more resources than ever for tracking when and how a word's meaning changes. While it's unlikely that one person can shift a meaning alone—like poor Gretchen, trying so badly to get “fetch” to happen—sometimes single events or new products can cause a word's meaning to shift.
Who, What, Why: What is thundersnow? 14 January 2015Last updated at 07:18 ET Magazine Monitor A collection of cultural artefacts Thundersnow has been reported in parts of the UK. You Won’t Believe What Word This Column Is About! What happens when a dictionary adds the word “clickbait” to its pages and publicizes the news with a bit of clickbait? Last week, Merriam-Webster said it had added 1,700 new entries to its Unabridged Dictionary. It defined “clickbait,” one of the words featured, as “something (such as a headline) designed to make readers want to click on a hyperlink, especially when the link leads to content of dubious value or interest.” And in a move that poked fun at the conventions of clickbait itself, Merriam-Webster shared a link to the announcement on Twitter with the come-on, “You won’t believe what we just added to the dictionary!” (Other additions include “emoji,” “meme” and “jegging.”)
How brand-new words are spreading across America To most people, Indian food means buttery naans from Punjab, south Indian dosas or Bengali fish curries. But there is a whole world of foods from the country’s past that is now less ubiquitous but no less delicious than these more common dishes. Over the years, the Indian diet has undergone a transformation because of changing lifestyles and the easy availability of packaged foods. The result: many dishes that were once prepared regularly at home have been forgotten, replaced by meals that are quick to the table. Quartz spoke to a few chefs and experts to give you a taste of some of India’s forgotten recipes.
English language is changing faster than ever, research reveals • How 2014 became the year of the emoji (tiny aubergine anyone?) And 'fear of missing out' - commonly abbreviated to 'FOMO' - also leaves parents scratching their heads. The study was led by the English language expert Professor John Sutherland was commissioned to mark the launch of the Samsung Galaxy S6 phone. The results point to a seismic generational gap in how we use and understand modern informal text speak while also suggesting older style abbreviations and acronyms such as TXT are now so old they are considered antiquated by the younger generation. The poll found that 86 per cent of all British parents think teenagers speak an entirely different language on social media and mobile messaging. The top 10 also featured the popular Instagram term TBT (Throw Back Thursday), used for posting old images on the social media network, alongside the phrase 'Thirsty' used to describe people who are looking for attention.
Hashtags and @ symbols affect language on Twitter Despite all the shortened words and slang seen on Twitter, it turns out that people follow many of the same communication etiquette rules on social media as they do in speech. Research from the Georgia Institute of Technology shows that when tweeters use hashtags -- a practice that can enable messages to reach more people -- they tend to be more formal and drop the use of abbreviations and emoticons. But when they use the @symbol to address smaller audiences, they're more likely to use non-standard words such as ''nah,'' ''cuz'' and ''smh.'' The study also found when people write to someone from the same city, they are even more likely to use non-standard language – often lingo that is specific to that geographical area. Jacob Eisenstein is an assistant professor in the School of Interactive Computing and leads the Computational Linguistics Laboratory.
Scouring the Web to Make New Words ‘Lookupable’ A couple of weeks ago, two of my New York Times colleagues chronicled digital culture trends that are so newish and niche-y that conventional English dictionaries don’t yet include words for either of them. In an article on Sept. 20, Stephanie Rosenbloom, a travel columnist, reviewed flight apps that try to perfect “farecasting” — that is, she explained, the art of “predicting the best date to buy a ticket” to obtain the lowest fares. That same day Jenna Wortham, a columnist for The Times Magazine, described a phenomenon she called “technomysticism,” in which Internet users embrace medieval beliefs, spells and charms. These word coinages may be too fresh — and too little used for now — to be of immediate interest to major English dictionaries. But Erin McKean, a lexicographer with an egalitarian approach to language, thinks “madeupical” words such as these deserve to be documented. Ms.
Word Evolution: 11 Words that Mean Something Different to Entrepreneurs Have you ever really thought about how terms take on new meaning over time? When I was a kid, the word "sick" actually meant sick. Today "sick" can also mean "amazing". Words and phrases evolve over time--especially in the business world.