Friday, December 21, 2007
So, this report in The Daily Mail (I promise I didn't buy it - I saw a woman from Chingford reading it on the train) about cosmetics companies' using pseudo-scientific jargon to bamboozle unsuspecting readers is quite a good read. According to some experts, the cosmetics firms are making up their own words to try and make their products sound more high-tech than they really are.
Elsewhere, this article about in-group medical jargon includes such gems as "doing a Hasselhof" - inflicting a bizarre and possibly alcohol-related injury to yourself - and being a Jack Bauer - a doctor still standing after 24 hours.
ENA1 - Language & Representation
ENA5 - Language Change
Thursday, December 20, 2007
Some of the other terms covered are LOLcats, teh and LQTM, all of which are interesting examples of language change processes in action (acronyms and compounds in the case of LOLcats, random fluctuation for teh and initialism for LQTM).
ENA5 - Contemporary Language Change
ENGA3 (new spec) - Language Explorations
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
The Guardian (comment piece by Peter Tatchell)
The backdown came after a day of scathing attacks by critics including Jean MacColl – the mum of Kirsty, who died in 2000 aged 41. Jean said: “It’s pathetic, absolute nonsense. Today we have a lot of gratuitous vulgarity, which I think is quite unnecessary. “But these people in the song are characters and they speak like that. It’s a great song – it’s like a play.” Enraged fans also bombarded BBC radio, television and websites – as well as The Sun.
What concerns me is not so much the use of the word "faggot" as the hypocritical condemnations of Radio 1's original decision to bleep it out. They wouldn't endorse the use of the n-word and p-word, "yid" or "spastic". For the sake of consistency, either the f-word should be disallowed too or these other bigoted words should also be permitted. It's the inconsistency that grates. Let's also remember that in Fairytale of New York the word "faggot" is being sung as an insult, alongside the words scumbag and maggot. In this abusive context, it difficult to feel comfortable about its usage. But the crunch issue is double-standards. I challenge those who defend the use of the word faggot in these lyrics to state publicly that they would also defend the right of white singers to use the n-word as a term of abuse in a song. They won't and that makes them cowardly homophobic hypocrites.
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
They've now gone back on their bleep ban and decided the full unexpurgated lyrics can be heard. Huzzah! The controversy isn't that new though - as this posting from last year shows - and the words faggot and slut have clearly got very negative connotations. But if a song that so painfully and wittily tells the story of a couple whose dreams of a new life have gone down the pan can't use a bit of rough-edged vernacular, what's the world coming to? Should we paint over the breasts on Old Masters' nudes? Should we put loin cloths over the naughty bits of ancient statues?
You can do your bit to make the world a better place by downloading the Pogues' track and preventing that zero-talented no-mark Leon from claiming the Christmas number one slot.
On a more serious level, the argument about banning words is picked up here in The Times and here in Spiked Online.
Monday, December 17, 2007
The 2007 Word of the Year (as decided by the Merriam Webster dictionary)
How the meanings of words are decided upon
Unfamiliar words and what they mean
Saturday, December 08, 2007
My favourites so far are "bluetooth high-five" and "Co-D", the definitions of which can be seen on the original post.
Post your new words here and you can win packets of Asda's Whatevers (the sweets like Lovehearts but with chavvier messages).
ENA5 - Language Change
Friday, December 07, 2007
a word used to exclude is now exclusively used by the excluded, and with it excluding its original excluders, who use the slang to now gain inclusion into the group their group wanted to be removed fromYou get a better idea of what he's on about by watching it here. And these other links are worth a look too: Julian Curry and Red Storm. Useful for: ENA1 - Language & Representation
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