Showing all posts tagged: language
25 September 2023
Noctalgia is the recently minted neologism for the phenomenon of missing dark skies at night. Noctalgia is something astronomers could tell you about. Dark, light pollution free, skies are essential for their work, but they’re not so commonplace anymore. And here we have a dilemma.
The source of this light pollution is the night lighting that keeps us safe and secure. But light pollution does not only originate from the surface of the planet. The growing number of satellites in Earth orbit, of which we likewise greatly depend, is also adding to the problem for astronomers:
More recently, the explosive growth in satellite communication “constellations,” like SpaceX’s Starlink system, has put orders of magnitude more satellites into orbit than even a decade ago, with even more on the way. Those satellites don’t just spoil deep-space astronomical observations when they cross a telescope’s field of view; they also scatter and reflect sunlight from their solar arrays. The abundance of satellites is causing the overall brightness of the sky to increase all around the globe.
Maybe noctalgia can be added to the list of contender words when dictionaries next update their lexicons, if that hasn’t already happened.
20 September 2023
A study of the accents of eleven scientists, originally from different regions and countries, who spent a winter together at an Antarctic base, found they had developed a new accent of their own:
In 2019, a team from the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich studied the phonetic change in accents among 11 “winterers” recruited from the British Antarctic Survey. This included eight people born and raised in England (five in the south and three in the north), one person from the northwest US, another from Germany, and lastly an Icelandic person.
They recorded their voice at the beginning of the study, then made four more re-recordings at approximately six weekly intervals. During this time, they were working closely together, socializing with one another, and having limited contact with the outside world. Over the course of the stay, the researchers noticed significant changes in their accents.
7 September 2023
Dictionary.com has unveiled a new series of updates to its lexicon. Five hundred and sixty six new words have been added (seems a lot) along with three hundred and forty eight new definitions.
The words don’t stop coming, so we’re updating the dictionary more frequently than ever. And not just with any words: this update includes an incredibly useful concentration of terms for naming the complexities of modern life.
I haven’t looked at all five-hundred plus additions, but straight off the bat, I can tell you I like information pollution, and decision fatigue. Neologism, or terms, for the times, if ever they were.
13 January 2023
Are you ready for some word play?
-ussy, which, in this context, is actually considered a suffix — but, in this case, is still a word — has been chosen as the American Dialect Society’s (ADS) word of the year for 2022:
“The selection of the suffix -ussy highlights how creativity in new word formation has been embraced online in venues like TikTok,” Zimmer said. “The playful suffix builds off the word pussy to generate new slang terms. The process has been so productive lately on social media sites and elsewhere that it has been dubbed -ussification.”
Remember the word e-mail, before it simply became email? The e- suffix was selected as the ADS word of the year in 1998. Somehow e- felt more like a word of the year than -ussy, but then I guess that’s what someone who doesn’t use TikTok would say.
21 December 2022
To see the pace at which the English language is evolving, though I’m not sure evolving would be everyone’s verb of choice — change, or even devolution, might better fit the bill — look no further than the latest batch of words that can now be used in popular word game Scrabble.
Some five hundred words have been added to latest edition of The Official Scrabble Players Dictionary, says David Astle, writing for The Brisbane Times. Among them are adorbs, convo, dox, inspo, jedi, stan, sitch, and thingie.
Despite the fanfare, however, you may stand in oppo (another intake) to such skeezy (repulsive) additions, yelling ixnay (slang term for veto) at this whole thingie (yep, that’s in too). Pushed to shove, you may even succumb to grawlix (the sweary symbols of cartoons), yet 500 new words represent less a bleak day for English than a chance to embiggen your Scrabble ammo, amirite? And your score.
3 December 2022
Psychological manipulation of a person usually over an extended period of time that causes the victim to question the validity of their own thoughts, perception of reality, or memories and typically leads to confusion, loss of confidence and self-esteem, uncertainty of one’s emotional or mental stability, and a dependency on the perpetrator.
Merriam-Webster words of the year appear to be selected according to the number of lookups of the word in the previous twelve months. Oligarch, codify, and loamy, were also among those frequently enquired upon. But Loamy is an intriguing inclusion, because surely dirt and soil related matters wouldn’t be of much interest to a great many people. Well, you’d be surprised. Loamy found its spot in the limelight after being featured on word game Wordle earlier this year.
23 November 2022
The Australian federal election, held in May 2022, saw a record number of teal, or independent, MPs elected to the Australian Parliament. Their strong showing has variously been labelled a teal bath or teal wave, after many teal candidates unseated a significant number of sitting members, most of whom belonged to the previous Liberal-National Coalition government.
It perhaps comes as no surprise then to learn the Australian National Dictionary Centre has declared “teal” as their word of 2022:
Previously associated with a dark greenish-blue colour, or even a breed of duck, teal now has another meaning in Australian English. The word came to prominence this year during the federal election. A ‘teal wave’ of independents successfully challenged government members of parliament in a number of seats.
12 February 2022
Gender has an influence on vocabulary comprehension, and some words are more familiar to one gender than others it seems. For instance, peplum, tulle, bandeau, and taffeta are words likely to be better known to women, while milliamp, boson, parsec, and shemale (who would have thought), are generally more familiar to men.
There’s a few words on the chart put together by Yuri Vishnevsky I’ve not seen until now, but I’ve made a note of the five-letter words in case they pop-up on Wordle one day.
3 November 2021