Author Archives: brinton

Where do words like “dint”, “roughshod” and “eke” come from?

Some archaic words get preserved in idioms: https://getpocket.com/explore/item/12-old-words-that-survived-by-getting-fossilized-in-idioms?utm_source=emailsynd&utm_medium=social  

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Code-switching respects grammar and phonology

Sociolinguist Shana Poplack has found that when bilinguals borrow words or phrases from each other, they respect the grammar of the donor and donee language : https://ottawacitizen.com/news/local-news/dit-quoi

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Is Canadian English losing “eh”?

What’s happening today with the ubiquitous “eh” of Canadian English: https://www.latimes.com/world-nation/story/2020-02-20/eh-canadian-word

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Is the apostrophe on the way out?

The Apostrophe Protection Society has folded. Do we need fear the loss of the apostrophe? Would this be a bad thing? http://www.bbc.com/culture/story/20200217-have-we-murdered-the-apostrophe?ocid=ww.social.link.email

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OED removing sexist stereotypes

The OED is removing quotations exemplifying sexist stereotypes such as “nagging housewife”, “shrill female voice”, “high-maintenance girl”, and “rabid feminist”. Given the number of quotations in the OED, this is obviously a huge undertaking: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2020/mar/06/no-more-nagging-wives-how-oxford-dictionaries-is-cleaning-up-sexist-language?CMP=share_btn_link

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Acceptance of singular “they”

The Modern Language Association now accepts the use of singular “they”. Here is a link to the MLA style guide website: https://style.mla.org/using-singular-they/?utm_source=mlaoutreach&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=sourcemar20non

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Do babies cry in different languages?

It seems that prosody (of the language heard in the womb) can affect how a baby cries: https://parenting.nytimes.com/baby/wermke-prespeech-development-wurzburg

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The Staffordshire Hoard: an Old English treasure

This collection of important Old English artifacts was discovered in 2009. Scholars have spent the last decade analyzing it:

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What does “quid pro quo” really mean?

It doesn’t have exactly the meaning in which it is currently being used: https://edition.pagesuite.com/popovers/dynamic_article_popover.aspx?artguid=a1ab119b-8403-4abb-9433-52b366aa4fab&appid=1165

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Can de-gendering pronouns change people’s behavior?

In 2012, Sweden introduced the gender-neutral pronoun hen. See what happened: https://www.wired.com/story/actually-gender-neutral-pronouns-can-change-a-culture/?mbid=email_onsiteshare

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