Ahoy, mateys! You've received another newsletter from "A Way with Words," which, like a walk around the promenade deck, is known to relieve uncomfortable internal distress.
What do children call their grandparents? What is a "watershed"? Are Seinfeldisms still among us? Where'd we get "couch potato"? Plus: traffic robots, pulmonic ingressives, online style guides, follow-ups on snow sludge in wheel wells and creaky voicing, and more. That's all in this past weekend's episode:
In our latest minicast, an article in The New Yorker magazine about the late writer David Foster Wallace has Martha musing about Wallace’s stem-winding sentences and the word "stem-winder":
Good news! The fifth and final volume of the "Dictionary of American Regional English," covering Sl-Z, is almost finished. DARE, as it is known, is a reference work we use constantly on the show. It's one of the finest pieces of English-language lexicography, right up there with the Oxford English Dictionary, the English Dialect Dictionary, and the Century Dictionary. Read about this tremendous milestone:
A short list of regionalisms from the dictionary:
You can find out more about DARE and its entries in its free newsletter:
Bad news! We hate it when education funds are cut, but we hate it even more when they're cut from programs like literature or linguistics. It seems the linguistics program at the University of Sussex is under the knife and that's something up with which we will not put.
Read more about it here:
You can also join the Facebook group in opposition to the funding cuts (even if you're not in the U.K):
and sign a petition:
In other news:
There's a new dictionary of Chamorro, a language of Guam and the Marianas, on the way:
Jan Freeman writes about how often we misunderstand what "passive voice" means:
Mark Peters looks for words to name our "economic crisis":
That's all for this week. Mwah!
Martha Barnette and Grant Barrett