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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Linguistics, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 102
1. Regretoric: the rise of the “nonapology” apology and the “apology tour”

OxfordDictionaries.com is adding the nouns apology tour and nonapology. These additions represent two related steps in the evolution of the noun apology, which first entered English in the sixteenth century, according to the Oxford English Dictionary (OED). Its earliest example is a book title: the 1533 Apologie of Syr Thomas More.

The post Regretoric: the rise of the “nonapology” apology and the “apology tour” appeared first on OUPblog.

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2. How English became English – and not Latin

English grammar has been closely bound up with that of Latin since the 16th century, when English first began to be taught in schools. Given that grammatical instruction prior to this had focused on Latin, it’s not surprising that teachers based their grammars of English on Latin. The title of John Hewes’ work of 1624 neatly encapsulates its desire to make English grammar conform to that of Latin.

The post How English became English – and not Latin appeared first on OUPblog.

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3. How do you pronounce “Pulitzer?”

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Pulitzer Prize, the annual prize in journalism and letters established by the estate of Joseph Pulitzer in 1916 and run by the Columbia School of Journalism (also established by Pulitzer’s estate). The first Pulitzer Prizes in reporting were given in 1917 to Herbert Bayard Swope of New York World for a series of articles titled “Inside the German Empire” and to the New York Tribune for its editorial on the first anniversary of the sinking of the Lusitania.

The post How do you pronounce “Pulitzer?” appeared first on OUPblog.

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4. …whether the wether will weather the weather

It so happens that I have already touched on the first and the last member of the triad whetherwetherweather in the past. By a strange coincidence, the interval between the posts dealing with them was exactly four years: they appeared on 19 April 2006 (weather) and 21 April 2010 (whether) respectively.

The post …whether the wether will weather the weather appeared first on OUPblog.

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5. A tale of two militias: finding the right label for the Oregon protests

When an armed group occupied a federal building in Oregon to protest against the US government’s land management, the media quickly seized on the word ‘militia’ to describe them. The Guardian reported the incident with the headline ‘Oregon militia threatens showdown with US agents at wildlife refuge.

The post A tale of two militias: finding the right label for the Oregon protests appeared first on OUPblog.

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6. ‘Mate’ in Australian English

Mate is one of those words that is used widely in Englishes other than Australian English, and yet has a special resonance in Australia. Although it had a very detailed entry in the first edition of the Oxford English Dictionary (the letter M was completed 1904–8), the Australian National Dictionary (AND) included mate in its first edition of 1988, thus marking it as an Australianism.

The post ‘Mate’ in Australian English appeared first on OUPblog.

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7. You’ll be a man, my son. Part 3

Obviously, I would not have embarked on such a long manhunt if I did not have my idea on the origin of the troublesome word. It will probably end up in the dustbin (also known as ash heap) of etymology, but there it will come to rest in good company.

The post You’ll be a man, my son. Part 3 appeared first on OUPblog.

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8. Season’s greetings – Episode 29 – The Oxford Comment

Say goodbye to endless stuffing: it's time to welcome our most beloved season of wreaths, wrapping paper...and confusion. The questions, as we began delving, were endless. Should we say happy holidays or season's greetings?

The post Season’s greetings – Episode 29 – The Oxford Comment appeared first on OUPblog.

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9. How to write a letter of recommendation

It’s that time of the year again. Seniors are thinking ahead about their impending futures (a job, grad school, the Peace Corps). Former students are advancing in their careers. Colleagues and co-workers are engaging in year-end reflection and considering new positions.

The post How to write a letter of recommendation appeared first on OUPblog.

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10. To whet your almost BLUNTED purpose…Part 1

Yes, you understood the title and identified its source correctly: this pseudo-Shakespearean post is meant to keep you interested in the blog “The Oxford Etymologist” and to offer some new ideas on the origin of the highlighted adjective.

The post To whet your almost BLUNTED purpose…Part 1 appeared first on OUPblog.

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11. Manspreading: how New York City’s MTA popularized a word without saying it

New York City, home of Oxford Dictionaries’ New York offices, has made numerous contributions to the English lexicon through the years, as disparate as knickerbocker and hip hop.

The post Manspreading: how New York City’s MTA popularized a word without saying it appeared first on OUPblog.

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12. From teaspoons to tea-sots: the language of tea

Tea was first imported into Britain early in the seventeenth century, becoming very popular by the 1650s. The London diarist Samuel Pepys drank his first cup in 1660, as recorded in his famous diary: "I did send for a cup of tee (a China drink) of which I had never drunk before."

The post From teaspoons to tea-sots: the language of tea appeared first on OUPblog.

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13. Etymology gleanings for December 2015

I often refer to the English etymological dictionary by Hensleigh Wedgwood, and one of our correspondents became seriously interested in this work. He wonders why the third edition is not available online. I don’t know, but I doubt that it is protected by copyright. It is even harder for me to answer the question about the changes between the second and the third edition.

The post Etymology gleanings for December 2015 appeared first on OUPblog.

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14. Gender politics of the generic “he”

There’s been a lot of talk lately about what pronouns to use for persons whose gender is unknown, complicated, or irrelevant. Options include singular they and invented, common-gender pronouns. Each has its defenders and its critics.

The post Gender politics of the generic “he” appeared first on OUPblog.

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15. Breaking down barriers

Barriers, like promises and piecrust, are made to be broken. Or broken down, rather. Translators, like teachers, are great breakers-down of barriers, though, like them, they are almost always undervalued. This autumn our minds and our media are full of images of razor-wire fences as refugees, fleeing war zones, try to cross borders legally or illegally in search of a safe haven.

The post Breaking down barriers appeared first on OUPblog.

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16. Etymology gleanings for September 2015

It so happened that I have been “gleaning” the whole month, but today I’ll probably exhaust the questions received during the last weeks. From a letter: “I have been told Norwegians would say forth and back rather that back and forth since it was logical for them to envision going away, then coming back.”

The post Etymology gleanings for September 2015 appeared first on OUPblog.

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17. Trick or treat – Episode 27 – The Oxford Comment

From baristas preparing pumpkin spiced lattes to grocery store aisles lined with bags of candy, the season has arrived for all things sweet-toothed and scary. Still, centuries after the holiday known as “Halloween” became cultural phenomenon, little is known to popular culture about its religious, artistic, and linguistic dimensions. For instance, who were the first trick or treaters? What are the origins of zombies? What makes creepy music…well, creepy?

In this month’s episode, we sat down with Katherine Connor Martin, Head of US Dictionaries for Oxford University Press, Greg Garrett, author of Entertaining Judgment: The Afterlife in Popular Imagination, Jason Bivins, author of Religion of Fear: The Politics of Horror in Conservative Evangelicalism, and Jim Buhler, co-author of Hearing the Movies: Music and Sound in Film History to broaden our understanding.

Image Credit: “Reaching for Halloween” by Will Montague. CC BY NC 2.0 via Flickr.

The post Trick or treat – Episode 27 – The Oxford Comment appeared first on OUPblog.

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18. Do East and West Germans still speak a different language?

On 12 September 1990, about ten months after the Fall of the Berlin Wall, the foreign ministers of the German Democratic Republic (GDR) and the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) met with their French, American, British, and Soviet counterparts in Moscow to sign the so-called Two-Plus-Four Treaty.

The post Do East and West Germans still speak a different language? appeared first on OUPblog.

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19. Words from books

October is an important month for book festivals—in Boston, Austin, Madison, Baton Rouge, and of course Frankfurt, Germany, which hosts the world’s oldest book festival. In honor of book festivals, I want to delve a bit into the way that the language of books expanded the English vocabulary.

The post Words from books appeared first on OUPblog.

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20. Did human grammar(s) evolve?

In order to hypothesize about the evolutionary origins of grammar, it is essential to rely on some theory or model of human grammars. Interestingly, scholars engaged in the theoretical study of grammar (syntacticians), particularly those working within the influential framework associated with linguist Noam Chomsky, have been reluctant to consider a gradualist, selection-based approach to grammar.

The post Did human grammar(s) evolve? appeared first on OUPblog.

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21. George Orwell and the origin of the term ‘cold war’

On 19 October 1945, George Orwell used the term cold war in his essay "You and the Atom Bomb," speculating on the repercussions of the atomic age which had begun two months before when the United States bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan.

The post George Orwell and the origin of the term ‘cold war’ appeared first on OUPblog.

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22. Emojis and ambiguity in the digital medium

The selection of emoji by Oxford Dictionaries as its Word of the Year recognises the huge increase in the use of these digital pictograms in electronic communication. While 2015 may have witnessed their proliferation, emoji are not new. They were originally developed in Japan in the 1990s for use by teenagers on their pagers; the word emoji derives from the Japanese e 'picture' + moji 'character, letter'.

The post Emojis and ambiguity in the digital medium appeared first on OUPblog.

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23. The meaning of “terrorism”

Anyone who saw the terror on the faces of the people fleeing the attacks in Paris last week will agree that terrorism is the right word to describe the barbaric suicide bombings and the shooting of civilians that awful Friday night. The term terrorism, though once rare, has become tragically common in the twenty-first century.

The post The meaning of “terrorism” appeared first on OUPblog.

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24. Etymology gleanings for November 2015

It is true that the etymology of homo confirms the biblical story of the creation of man, but I am not aware of any other word for “man” that is akin to the word for “earth.” Latin mas (long vowel, genitive maris; masculinus ends in two suffixes), whose traces we have in Engl. masculine and marital and whose reflex, via French, is Engl. male, referred to “male,” not to “man.”

The post Etymology gleanings for November 2015 appeared first on OUPblog.

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25. Analysing what Shakespeare has to say about gender

Humans are very good at reading from start to finish and collecting lots of information to understand the aggregated story a text tells, but they are very bad at keeping track of the details of language in use across many texts.

The post Analysing what Shakespeare has to say about gender appeared first on OUPblog.

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