Into the final weeks of 2015 with one final link roundup!
Lucy Kellaway,who writes about language and writing for the Financial Times,has created Guffipedia, “a repository for the worst jargon I’ve seen over the years.” All the devils are here: onboard more resource, flex-pon-sive, diverse hairdos, etc. ad nauseam. “The point of Guffipedia,” writes Kellaway, “is not just for you to admire the extent of my guff collection, but to help me curate it going forward, as they say in Guffish.” Good point of entry: the many Guffish euphemisms for you’re fired. (Hat tip: Molly Walker.)
The American Name Society is accepting nominations for Names of the Year, with the winners to be announced at the society’s annual meeting in Washington, DC, on January 8, 2016. Anyone can play; submit your nominations before January 5.
Here are my own nominations in the categories established by ANS – names “that best illustrate, through their creation and/or use during the past 12 months, important trends in the culture of the United States and Canada.” My top picks are *starred.
With 8 percent of 2015 still in the mysterious future, the first Word of the Year (WOTY) nominations have already begun. Oxford Dictionaries made history, and stirred up some controversy, by selecting an emoji – “Face with Tears of Joy” – as its, um, lexical unit of the year. (Emoji was a Fritinancy Word of the Week in January 2012.)
And at the Chronicle of Higher Education’s Lingua Franca blog, Allan Metcalf – he’s the executive secretary of the American Dialect Society – makes the case for basic: “the word this year to describe someone or something that fits a stereotype, especially the ‘basic white girl’.”
Yuccie: A Young Urban Creative, as defined and described by David Infante, “a 26-year-old writer who lives in a gentrifying neighborhood in Brooklyn,” in an article for Mashable published on June 10. Infante calls yuccies “a slice of Generation Y, borne [sic] of suburban comfort, indoctrinated with the transcendent power of education, and infected by the conviction that not only do we deserve to pursue our dreams; we should profit from them.”
“I am the yuccie,” Infante writes. “And it sounds sort of, well, yucky.”
Don’t read “How to Name a Baby” to learn how to name a baby. Read it for insights into historical baby-naming trends and to confirm your hunches (e.g., “the popular girl name Reagan is for Republicans”). Also: charts!
Given names are “one of the last social acceptable frontiers of class war.”Also: nominative determination, implicit egotism, and how the Internet has made baby naming more difficult. Part 1 of a four-part podcast series about names from Australian radio network ABC. The presenter, Tiger Webb, has an interesting name story himself. (Hat tip: Superlinguo.)
The not-so-secret jargon of doctors is full of acronyms: a flea—fucking little esoteric asshole—is an intern, an FLK is a “funny-looking kid,” and an “SFU 50 dose” is the amount of sedative it takes for 50 percent of patients to shut the fuck up.
Ever wonder what value-creating winners do all day? Here’s Business Town to enlighten you. It’s “an ongoing project attempting to explain our highly intangible, deeply disruptive, data-driven, venture-backed, gluten-free economic meritocracy to the uninitiated. With apologies to Richard Scarry.”
“The decision is made. The name won’t be changed.” – Tim Mahoney, head of marketing for Chevy, speaking to the Detroit Free Press about the Bolt electric vehicle, whose name is strikingly similar to that of the Chevy Volt plug-in hybrid. In fact, a Spanish speaker would pronounce the two names identically. (Hat tip: Jonathon Owen.)
The American Name Society is accepting nominationsfor Names of the Year, with the winners to be announced at the society’s annual meeting in Portland, Oregon, on January 9, 2015. Anyone can play; submit your nominations no later than January 7.
Here are my own nominations in the categories established by ANS.
Starbucks has hailed the return of the beverage with big signs for “PSL.” Is the abbreviation an initialism or an acronym? Are we meant to pronounce each letter or make a word from their consecutive sounds?
As an acronym, PSL would become pissl, or even pizzle, which just sounds rude. As an initialism, on the other hand, PSL feels clinical, as if it might be a medical condition.
I’m winding up #WeedWeek—a series of posts on the marketing of legal marijuana—with a look at CannaCon, a four-day cannabis convention and expo coming to Tacoma, Washington, next week.
“Nation’s Largest Cannabis Expo.”
In 2012, Washington State voters passed Initiative 502, which legalized the possession and cultivation of marijuana in small amounts; the first legal retail sales in the state began in early July 2014. As a result, Washington has become a hub of legal-cannabis—or “cannabusiness,” as it's being called—activity. Sponsors of next week’s convention include the National Cannabis Chamber of Commerce, Dope magazine, MJBA(Marijuana Business Association, “the authoritative voice of legal marijuana in America”), and Marijuana Venture (“the news source for professional marijuana growers and producers”).
Overall, the marketing is polished, sophisticated, and even witty.
National CC of C logo, with smoking eagle and cannabis leaf rampant.
Linguistically, CannaCon follows a venerable naming convention (pun intended) for fan gatherings. The original enduring X-con was Comic-Con (aka San Diego Comic-Con International), founded in 1970 and held annually ever since; the con is shorthand for convention. (According to Francesca Coppa, author of “A Brief History of Media Fandom,” part of a collection of essays on fan communities, con for convention had already been in use since at least the early 1940s.)
In 2010, the linguist Mark A. Mandel presented a paper at the American Name Society’s annual meeting on what he dubbed “Conomastics,” a blend of the con affix and onomastics, the science of naming. Mandel focused on gatherings of speculative fiction, fantasy, alternate history, and related interests, including media, music, gaming, and furry. Among the X-cons he reported on were Gaylaxicon (“gay men, lesbians, bisexuals, transgendered people and their friends”; from gay and galaxy); Smofcon (Secret Masters of Fandom Convention); MaulCon (gaming; held at a mall); Daikon (the Japanese national con, held in Osaka; dai means “big,” and a daikon is a big radish); LepreCon (Arizona science-fiction art and literature convention originally held in March on St. Patrick’s Day, more recently in April or May); SpoCon (“a full-spectrum science-fiction and fantasy convention held in Spokane, Washington”); and Millennium Philcon (the 2001 Worldcon, or World Science Fiction Convention, held at the turn of the millennium in Philadelphia; also a pun on Millennium Falcon, Han Solo’s ship in Star Wars).