language links, ling-anth links

Language links 10/15

Twice a month[1], I share some of what I’ve been reading in the past week.


Imagine you just cut a hole in a piece of toast and cooked an egg in the middle in a frying pan. What do you call the breakfast you made?

I did not realize there were distinctly British and American uses of exclamation marks. (I’m quite familiar with the US workplace one — I call it the “chipper exclamation mark” — but I didn’t realize it was local to the US.)

On the distinctive features of men’s speech. [CW: Brett Kavanaugh, sexual assault, etc.]

Do you identify as Black or African-American? Is English your first language? Participate in this research study to better understand language variation. (More information about the study here.)

The kids are alright: the story of Light Warlpiri.

The word assclown is “an appropriate putdown not just for a run-of-the-mill jerk, but someone who revels in the performance of being a jerk,” while “asshat is a bit milder and not so performative.”

Why do we have fingertipbut stand on tiptoes?

I’ve had many conversations over the last two years about how to refer to the US’s Republican president. (Personally, I like “the Republican president” and “the Republican administration” to remind myself and others that it’s not just one jerkwad but a whole group of them aligned together.) But I hadn’t heard voldemort as a verb, meaning the practice of avoiding using a proper name.

I have yet to read this report on press coverage of sexual assault after #metoo, but I’m looking forward to it. [CW: sexual assault.]

Yet another language writer reminds us that women are judged more harshly than men for speaking the same darn ways. (I can’t touch this topic without pointing to always-incisive Deborah Cameron.)


[1] Was every Monday.

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