Geoff Nunberg http://wuwm.com en Hackers? Techies? What To Call San Francisco's Newcomers http://wuwm.com/post/hackers-techies-what-call-san-franciscos-newcomers "There goes the neighborhood." Every so often that cry goes up in San Francisco, announcing a new chapter in American cultural history, as the rest of the country looks on. There were the beats in North Beach, then the hippies in the Haight, then the gays in the Castro. Now it's the turn of the techies who are pouring into my own Mission neighborhood, among other places. Thu, 16 Jan 2014 18:56:00 +0000 Geoff Nunberg 22550 at http://wuwm.com Hackers? Techies? What To Call San Francisco's Newcomers Sorry Assiduous (adj.) SAT-Takers, Linguist In Dudgeon (n.) Over Vocab Flashcards http://wuwm.com/post/sorry-assiduous-adj-sat-takers-linguist-dudgeon-n-over-vocab-flashcards When I took the SATs a very long time ago, it didn't occur to us to cram for the vocabulary questions. Back then, the A in SAT still stood for "aptitude," and most people accepted the wholesome fiction that the tests were measures of raw ability that you couldn't prepare for — "like sticking a dipstick into your brain," one College Board researcher said.<p>It wasn't until the test-prep industry took off a few years later that people realized you could work the system, and students began boning up on the words that were likely to appear on the exam. Mon, 23 Dec 2013 19:27:00 +0000 Geoff Nunberg 20837 at http://wuwm.com Sorry Assiduous (adj.) SAT-Takers, Linguist In Dudgeon (n.) Over Vocab Flashcards Narcissistic Or Not, 'Selfie' Is Nunberg's Word Of The Year http://wuwm.com/post/narcissistic-or-not-selfie-nunbergs-word-year I feel a little defensive about choosing "selfie" as my Word of the Year for 2013. I've usually been partial to words that encapsulate one of the year's major stories, such as "<a href="http://www.npr.org/2011/12/07/143265669/occupy-geoff-nunbergs-2011-word-of-the-year">occupy</a>" or "<a href="http://www.npr.org/2012/12/20/167702665/geoff-nunbergs-word-of-the-year-big-data">big data</a>." Or "privacy," which is the word Dictionary.com chose this year. Thu, 19 Dec 2013 16:26:00 +0000 Geoff Nunberg 20557 at http://wuwm.com Narcissistic Or Not, 'Selfie' Is Nunberg's Word Of The Year Was Rand Paul's Plagiarism Dishonest Or A Breach Of Good Form? http://wuwm.com/post/did-rand-paul-commit-plagiarism-or-just-faux-pas Even taken together, the charges didn't seem to amount to that big a deal — just a matter of quoting a few factual statements and a Wikipedia passage without attributing them. But as Rand Paul discovered, the word "plagiarism" can still rouse people to steaming indignation. Samuel Johnson called plagiarism the most reproachful of literary crimes, and the word itself began as the name of a real crime. In Roman law, a plagiarius was someone who abducted a child or a slave — it's from "plaga," the Latin word for a net or a snare. Tue, 12 Nov 2013 18:11:00 +0000 Geoff Nunberg 17739 at http://wuwm.com Was Rand Paul's Plagiarism Dishonest Or A Breach Of Good Form? The Internet's 'Twerk' Effect Makes Dictionaries Less Complete http://wuwm.com/post/internets-twerk-effect-makes-dictionaries-less-complete Evidently it was quite fortuitous. Just a couple of days after MTV's Video Music Awards, <a href="http://goo.gl/wqIzKX">Oxford Dictionaries Online</a> released its quarterly list of the new words it was adding. To the delight of the media, there was "twerk" at the top, which gave them still another occasion to link a story to Miley Cyrus' energetic high jinks.<p>And why not add "twerk"? It's definitely a cool word, which worked its way from New Orleans bounce music into the linguistic mainstream on the strength of its expressive phonetics, among other things. Thu, 12 Sep 2013 18:30:00 +0000 Geoff Nunberg 13018 at http://wuwm.com