Every Monday, I share some of what I’ve been reading in the past week.
The obituary of a pioneer of creole linguistics.
Superlinguo has put together a guide for linguists on engaging with news media:
“Linguists are sometimes hesitant to engage directly with the news media, especially if they have had a not entirely positive experience in the past. It’s worth remembering that most language-related media isn’t ‘gotcha’ journalism. Journalists are not trying to set us up to find a gaffe; generally they’re looking for intelligent and informed quotes that make them look intelligent and informed by association.”
On the etymology of terms for women’s genitals.
Someone made an app that helps women write emails with fewer apologies. Linguists everywhere cringed and responded that critiquing allegedly female ways of speaking as inferior wasn’t helping anything. Writers took up the cause.
This year was the Linguistic Society of America conference, and thus the American Dialect Society’s annual Word of the Year vote. This year’s word: singular they. Following the Washington Post’s (overdue) endorsement of the term, it’s hardly surprising.