Tag » language

Erin McKean

Erin McKean

Erin McKean, a lexicographer for the OED, ran a workshop on the first day about how to create new words. I attended this and learnt about how English shamelessly borrows words from other cultures, how new words are created through various Frankensteinian operations, and how new words are added to the OED. Erin is exactly the kind of person you’d like to be in charge of your language: not a literature scholar, but a true word geek, gladly embracing new words and repeatedly quoting the Simpsons (cromulent anyone?).

More importantly, I won third place in the word creation contest. “Mispronoonce” is a variation of mispronounce to be used after a particularly embarassing mispronunciation. It can only be used in the first person, as in “oh god, I mispronoonced that…”. You can read more about the contest on Erin’s blog, and here is a video of a talk she gave at Pop!Tech.

[picture by Neil Hunt]

Pop vs. Soda

Pop vs. Soda, the age old debate. I say soda, not surprising given where I’m from.

The shapes of alphabets

It seems the shapes of letters mimick the shapes of nature, which humans have evolved to recognize.

Amusing poems about the perils of English pronounciation. See also the famous spelling reform spoof (complete with historical information).

To sum up all, it seems to me
Sound and letters don’t agree.

New words for 2006. Amusing.

Are there any words that rhyme with orange?

Are there any words that rhyme with orange? Find out the answer to this and many other linguistic questions at askoxford.com.

This cool blog post investigates variations in location names across the country. It’s fascinating to find out why places are named the way they are.

Hey you guys, we are talking!

I found the following story quite amusing:

I am reminded of a great story a friend tells of some cavemen sitting around the campfire 100,000 years ago, chewing on the last bits of meat, chatting in guttural sounds. One of them says:

“Hey, you guys, we are TALKING!

“What do you mean TALKING? Are you finished that bone?

“I mean we are SPEAKING to each other! Using WORDS. Don’t you get it?

“You’ve been drinking that grape stuff again, haven’t you.”

“See we are doing it right now!”


This is from an article about the singularity on Kevin Kelly’s blog The Technium. The Technium has some interesting stuff about the evolution of technology, worth checking out if you’re into that sort of thing.