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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2016 Words of the Year

Publicity Stunt or Intellectual Exercise?

Every year several dictionaries name a Word of the Year (WOTY). Cynics might say this is a publicity stunt, but I think it's a fascinating intellectual exercise and I love that at the end of the year, lexicographers have an excuse to deeply reflect on words that were significant over the past 12 months. Even more than that, I love that various WOTYs give people who don't usually spend their days obsessing over words the opportunity to engage with language in a meaningful way.

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Dictionary Playlist

A while back I made a dictionary playlist. The songs are linked in some way to lexicography or linguistics. Some of the connections are tenuous—"I Put A Spell on You" is a definite stretch. One of the songs is about peevery, but it happens to have a grammatical error in the song title. It's an amazing song, at any rate.  

I periodically add to this list. If you have any suggestions for additional tracks, let me know. Hope you enjoy it!