A new edition of the Oxford Junior Dictionary was published. A sharp-eyed reader noticed that there had been a culling of words concerning nature. Under pressure, Oxford University Press revealed a list of the entries it no longer felt to be relevant to a modern-day childhood. The deletions included acorn, adder, ash, beech, bluebell, buttercup, catkin, conker, cowslip, cygnet, dandelion, fern, hazel, heather, heron, ivy, kingfisher, lark, mistletoe, nectar, newt, otter, pasture, and willow. The words introduced to the new edition included attachment, block-graph, blog, broadband, bullet-point, celebrity, chatroom, committee, cut-and-paste, MP3 player, and voice-mail.
The word “yes” is an extremely dull way to express the varied sentiments of “yes.”
It goes without saying that “culture” is a confusing word, this year or any year.
There’s a positive correlation between a student’s vocabulary size in grade 12, the likelihood that she will graduate from college, and her future level of income. The reason is clear: vocabulary size is a convenient proxy for a whole range of educational attainments and abilities—not just skill in reading, writing, listening, and speaking but also general knowledge of science, history, and the arts. If we want to reduce economic inequality in America, a good place to start is the language-arts classroom.
I never knew the word was connected with the Spartans. Awesome:
“concise, abrupt,” 1580s, probably via L. Laconicus, from Gk. Lakonikos, from Lakon “person from Lakonia,” the district around Sparta in southern Greece in ancient times, whose inhabitants were famously proud of their brevity of speech. When Philip of Macedon threatened them with, “If I enter Laconia, I will raze Sparta to the ground,” the Spartans’ reply was, “If.”
One cannot be too careful with words, they change their minds just as people do.
Wish. Try. Should. Deserve.
“City of Words” by Vito Acconci.
The word refers to the “systematic pairing of form and meaning in a language” where “a word with a phonestheme in it has other material in it that is not itself a morpheme.”
For example, the English phonestheme “gl-” occurs in a large number of words relating to light or vision, like “glitter”, “glisten”, “glow”, “gleam”, “glare”, “glint”, and so on
I love this stuff. Here’s a list of English phonesthemes.
- /st/ is stable, stalwart, staunch, steadfast, steady, stolid, stout, and sturdy
- /sk/ scuffles, skips, scuttles, scoots, scampers, scurries, and skedaddles
- /dr/ drips, dribbles, drools, dredges, drizzles, drops, droops, and drags with the dross, dregs and the dreck
A moment in a play or other work when a character makes a critical discovery. Anagnorisis originally meant recognition in its Greek context, not only of a person but also of what that person stood for.
“Humans’ tendency to describe their own behavior more charitably than the behavior of others.”
And now I know the name for this. (via)
The Forer effect (also called the Barnum Effect after P.T. Barnum’s observation that “we’ve got something for everyone”) is the observation that individuals will give high accuracy ratings to descriptions of their personality that supposedly are tailored specifically for them, but are in fact vague and general enough to apply to a wide range of people. This effect can provide a partial explanation for the widespread acceptance of some beliefs and practices, such as astrology, fortune telling, and some types of personality tests.
We’re not quite sure where “copacetic” came from.
1919, but it may have origins in 19c. Amer.Eng. Southern black speech. Origin unknown, suspects include Latin, Yiddish (cf. Heb. kol b’seder), Italian, Louisiana French (coupe-sétique), and Native American. None is considered convincing by linguists.