language links, ling-anth links

Language links 8/20

Every Monday, I share some of what I’ve been reading in the past week.


Merriam-Webster takes on one of my favorite words: asshat. (Plus, their words of the week from last week, including “reasonable doubt” and “tape”!)

“As an anthropologist, I recognise this latest drama as another facet of the American distrust of the brown body, as another attempt at colonial control over a continent that white Americans have convinced themselves belongs to them and them alone. I recognise that, despite our rhetoric of universal freedoms and protection of the innocent, American society has stringent definitions of to whom those values apply. ” —Holly Norton

The research community continues to debate how to use and attribute tweets in research. This tweet and the embedded thread get at some of the concerns. (Here’s the paper it’s based on — 84% of tweets quoted in research papers are identifiable through simple reverse searches.)

On (supposedly) untranslatable words: “Different language conventions are usually not exotic or unusual; it’s just that English speakers come from a position of very great privilege because their language is the default. ”

Adam Hodges takes on the semantic pejoration of allahu akbar.

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