Friday Reading for 12/26/14

My blog will be on a holiday while I am in sunny Jamaica next week, so hopefully these tidbits will tide you over.

Gretchen McCullough is my hero for expounding at length on the syntax of ‘fuck‘. The linguistics of curse words and profane language always fascinates me, and the little bit of history of the field surrounding the pseudonymous Quang Phuc Dong’s research was a delight to read.

I’ve shared the Dutch woord van het yaar, and now it’s time for the American English version. The American Dialect Society votes on the Word of the Year at the annual LSA meeting, which happens every January. Ben Zimmer has been part of the proceedings for a long time and reflects on potential words for the 2014 vote. I like “God view” myself, but we’ll see.

This might be coming a bit late for some of you, but in case you still have awkward New Year’s parties to attend, here’s a handy guide for how to explain linguistics to your friends and family this holiday season. (Note: May be good reading for non-linguists too!)

Have you seen the Dude map? This is a map generated by analysis of vocatives (or address terms) used in tweets. I think my favorite part is at the end: “It’s also worth noting that the words above are used primarily by white men. The fact that there are so few useful and innocent vocatives for women and people of color indicates biases both in our data and in the English language itself.”