Plogging: Blogging on a platform such as Facebook, Slack, or Medium, rather than on a dedicated blogging site such as the one you’re visiting (hosted by TypePad). A portmanteau of platform and blogging.
The Seattle Seahawks lost the Super Bowl to the New England Patriots. Maybe they’d have fared better under one of the other names nominated in a 1975 naming contest, including the Rainbeams, the Lumberjacks, and the Needlers. (Mental Floss)
“Check the trademark early on,” “Avoid focus groups,” and other good advice about naming from professional name developers. (Communication Arts)
“People talk about expensive meals using sex metaphors; for noodle joints and cupcake counters, they resort to drug lingo.” A visit to a London pub with linguist Dan Jurafsky, author of The Language of Food. (The New Yorker)
The Daily Brute, The London Asswipe, The Quibbler, and other fictional newspaper names. (Wikipedia)
“Be specific—but not wordy” and other tips for naming a blog. Includes a nice shoutout for Strong Language, where I publish from time to time. (The Daily Post)
Would you spend $30,000 to find “a unique name for your unborn child? A wonderful first name that sounds so good that it just had to be invented? A brand-new name with an exciting derivation and unmistakable history? “ This Swiss firm—whose own name is tough to pronounce—is banking on it. (erfolgswelle® AG)
A drugroll—um, drumroll—for the 2015 drug name awards. It’s a tough, confusing field: Zerbaxa, Zontility, Vimizin, Zykadia… (Gary Martin)
Last week North Korea’s Workers’ Party released 310 exclamatory new slogans created to mark the country’s 70th anniversary, and Western news media have been having a glorious people’s field day with them. “Even allowing that they probably come off more melodious in their original Korean,” observed NPR, “some of the commandments are so awkward that it's hard to imagine them sounding right in any language.” Some are malodorous (“Let the strong wind of fish farming blow across the country!”), while others are creepy (“Let us turn ours into a country of mushrooms by making mushroom cultivation scientific, intensive and industrialized!”) and still others could have come from an overeager U.S. marketing department (“Go beyond the cutting edge!”). Here’s the complete list on KCNA Watch, an official English-language publication of the Korean Central News Agency.
Thanks to all who voted in the 2014 Lexiophiles Top 100 Language Lovers contest! I’m pleased to announce that this blog was voted #9 in the Language Professional Blogs category—in excellent company, surrounded by distinguished translation blogs and the very popular Grammar Girl blog.
What’s in it for you? Just the deep (and cheap) satisfaction of supporting a blog and Twitter account dedicated to the profound, puzzling, quirky, mysterious, enlightening world of names, brands, and the language of commerce. Remember: I receive zero compensation for publishing all this content (or “kohn-tent,” as a Russian friend used to say). So your votes are, to me, the equivalent of winning the Powerball or being fully funded on Kickstarter or getting acqui-hiredby Yahoo. Or like discovering a treasure chest full of Bitcoin.
Vote once frequently (in each category) and vote soon: the contest ends at midnight June 9, German time.
Like Bartles & Jaymes in the famous ads from the 1980s, I thank you for your support.
I’m hoping for another top-10 appearance, but like Miss Velma Kelly in Chicago, I simply cannot do it alone*. I would be very grateful if you (and your Facebook friends, Twitter followers, colleagues, children, and in-laws) voted for me. Here’s how, in one easy step: Click on the badge and select “Fritinancy” in the alphabetical list.
Yes, it’s just that easy!
I cannot tell a lie: The stakes in this contest are low, the financial rewards nonexistent. But my professional honor, and the honor of all name developers, is at stake. Why? Because the list of nominees is packed with translators, whereas Fritinancy represents exactly half of all the naming blogs in the running. (The other nominee is my esteemed colleague The Name Inspector. He’s very good, but my selflessness extends only so far.) Let’s win this one for the namers!
And just look at that handsome set of Lexiophiles badges over in the right rail! Wouldn’t a fourth one create a pleasing symmetry? Of course it would. So vote for Fritinancy!
These are not the resting-on sort of laurels: I’m supposed to nominate 15 other blogs and tell you seven interesting (or, according to some versions of the rules, “completely random”) things about myself.
Here are the interesting/random things about myself. As Grammar Girl put it, “This will be easier if we all pretend you care.”
I made my television debut at age four on the Los Angeles version of “Romper Room.”
I’m very good at American-style crosswords and word spirals, but hopeless at acrostics and cryptic crosswords.
A story I wrote for New West magazine about tampons and toxic shock syndrome was nominated for a National Magazine Award. In her bestseller The Coming Plague, science writer Laurie Garrett citedmy article as an “outstanding piece of investigative journalism.” That was better than winning the award.
I named a condom for Mayer Laboratories. (It’s not on their website, but you can read about it here, at least until I overhaul my website.)
I once wrote a sonnet in Spanish in the style of the Siglo de Oro poets.
I once wrote five original nursery rhymes for a company that made fancy furniture for children’s bedrooms.
I have swum from Alcatraz to San Francisco on two New Year’s Days—water temperature 50° F—and on many slightly warmer days as well. I don’t wear a wetsuit.
As for the 15 blogs, here are my choices. I also endorse the selections made by my predecessors in this chain (Wordnik, Grammar Monkeys, and Grammar Girl).
Word Routes. Ben Zimmer’s column for the Visual Thesaurus, “exploring the pathways of our lexicon.” Unlike my own VT columns, Word Routes doesn’t require a subscription (but you should subscribe anyway).
And because I’ve never met a rule I didn’t want to break, here’s a 16th nomination: Dustbury isn’t a language or branding blog, but it more than fits the “versatile” description. In a typical week, the sole author, C.G. Hill, might cover social media, automobile tires, basketball, My Little Pony, print magazines, transportation in Oklahoma, women’s shoes, and Zooey Deschanel—all with enviable literary skill and brio.
If the abovementioned nominees feel moved to play the game, here are the rules:
In a post on your blog, nominate 15 fellow bloggers for The Versatile Blogger Award.
In the same post, add the Versatile Blogger Award.
In the same post, thank the blogger who nominated you in a post with a link back to their blog.
In the same post, share 7 completely random pieces of information about yourself.
In the same post, include this set of rules.
Inform each nominated blogger of their nomination by posting a comment on each of their blogs. (Or tweeting.)
A few miscellaneous items for the first full day of (Northern Hemisphere) winter. Tomorrow: Festivus! I’ll present my annual Airing of Grievances.
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The Japanese word of the year, announced by the Japan Kanji Aptitude Testing Foundation on December 12, is kizuna. The word, which means “bonds between people,” was frequently used to express the solidarity and support shown by Japanese people in response to the disastrous earthquake and tsunami in March.
A little comic relief: You may recognize Christopher McDonald, David Koechner, Maria Bamford (the crazy Target Christmas lady), and Andre Royo (Bubbles from The Wire) in Funny or Die’s spot-on spoof of campaign commercials. Yes, let’s restore the dignity and the tradition of our Founding Santas!
Who knew that lexicographers had so much fun? Certainly not I. If only someone had told me, I’d have made a sharp detour away from journalism, my chosen (and doomed) profession, and headed straight for the great big tomes in the Reference section, which I actually enjoyed reading a lot more than city council reports and budget-negotiation recaps. With luck, I’d have ended up in a job like Kory Stamper’s: associate editor at Merriam-Webster.
Happily, there is now consolation in the form of Kory’s smart and funny new blog, which she describes as “a journeyman lexicographer’s look at the language as it grows and changes.”
You see, I love words. I love all of them, even the nasty bastardized ones—yes, I even have a love/hate thing for “irregardless.” Their histories, who they’ve been with, where they came from, where they are going. Reading is not just an escape or a hobby; it is a compulsion. I am that person you see on the subway who, upon finishing her newspaper or magazine, begins carefully reading all the ads and graffiti on the train and then moves on to the receipts in her pockets. If I run out of reading material, I start fidgeting like a coke fiend needing a line or ten. Do not come between me and my words.
Pre-Harmless Drudgery, Kory Stamper’s claim to fame(217,044 views!) was her two-minute video about the correct plural of “octopus.”