2017 Words of the Year

It's Word of the Year (WOTY) season.

The last group that weighs in on WOTY is the American Dialect Society (ADS), which has been selecting WOTYs since 1990. This vote is made by a room full of linguists, so the words chosen often have an element of linguistic interest to them. Past words have included Because X#BlackLivesMatter, and gender-neutral singular they.

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Gun Emoji Pairings (Part 2)

There's a lot to unpack when discussing the gun emoji. In Part 1 of this series, I looked at the raw counts of hits for various emoji that come before and after the gun emoji. Though that's fascinating in its own right, I knew that ultimately I wanted to filter out the most common emoji and calculate the pairings using normalized relative frequencies to further chip away at the question of what comes before and after the gun emoji. 

I also touched on three reasons why the gun emoji is so interesting to study: it's directional, it looks different across platforms, and its meaning is culturally "loaded." In this post I want to focus on the last of these reasons because it's such a complex issue.

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A Conversation About Internet Linguistics

Last week I interviewed linguist Gretchen McCulloch at the Dictionary.com offices in Oakland, California. We discussed many pop-linguistic topics, including the role of memes in our culture, the lowercasing of the term internet, and her upcoming book. I was first introduced to Gretchen's work through her Benedict Cumberbatch piece on the Toast, and in our conversation I learned that while she might possess the skills to summon Wimbledon Tennismatch, she is more excited by the linguistic variations of his name than by his acting work.

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