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class 2 fall 2015

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Email Etiquette/Syllabus Quiz

Discuss “Words and the World” (WOW ch. 1)

The evolution of language

Read Pages 20-32 in WOW





Quiz Correction: CANVAS (not Angel)


Review/Discuss Quiz


Collect Contracts




"Words and the World" 




Chapter one offers us an introduction to how language shapes our identities and our world around us.


"A language is more than just words and grammar. It's also a way of viewing the world, maintaining a culture, and expressing your connections to others. Because your language is so closely tied to who you are, changing your language is like shifting your identity" (6).



Critical Thinking:


What is the connection between language and identity?

What kinds of information does it expose about you?



 Boy holding notepad while adult hands are writing on it





How can language can disclose your...




1. Nationality and Culture?



Example: British vs. American Word Choice and spelling



Canadian Accent/Word Choice



2. Age?

3. Gender?

4. Education?

5. Socio-Economic Class?

6. Profession?




On page 6, the text provides the example of Robert, a bilingual college student.

-Read with class




Thinking about this experience in your life:


  • How do you change your language/identity on a daily basis?
  • What slang or jargon do you encounter?
  • How do academic situations play a role in these language/identity changes? (general and specific situations)





pg. 11-12: Speaking vs. Writing


What is the difference?

What is more formal?



refers to the choice and use of words

different audiences and situations call for different levels of diction


pages 190-191 in Handbook

The difference between Formal Diction and Informal Diction



Read page 192: College Writing





Language Change: pages 7-8

The points that the English language has substantially changed throughout history and that it continues to do so are not new ideas; however, we may not be as familiar with the arguments connected to this process.

We may not initially question why or how language has changed, and the text begins to put this into prospective.


What are some of the reasons that language has changed?




An Analytical Example: The frequency of the words that we use has also changed


Why might that be?


Patricia Greenfield, author of the study and professor of psychology at UCLA, analyzed words used in over 1.5 million American and British books published between 1800 and 2000, and believes language shows how cultural values have developed and changed over 200 years.

Greenfield’s theoretical interest lies in the connection between culture and human development, according to her faculty biography.

In her study, she noted that words like “get,” “choose,” “feel,” and “individual” were used more frequently as the years went on. These words have more to do with materialism and the individualistic values that became more prevalent in the modern age, she noted.

"This research shows that there has been a two-century–long historical shift toward individualistic psychological functioning adapted to an urban environment and away from psychological functioning adapted to a rural environment," Greenfield said.


The use of words like “obliged,” “give,” “obedience,” and “pray” has decreased, the study notes, suggesting that the once-important values of obedience to authority and religion in everyday life have diminished. Frequency of the use of words like "act," "belong," and "authority" has also waned, in comparison to that of "child" and "unique," which has increased.



Another Example:


page 8:

In "Changing Names in a Changing World," David Mould presents another topic connected to language change with regard to the names of countries and cities.

  • According to his essay, why do such name changes occur?
  • What does a name symbolize?
  • He briefly mentions how name changes often occur for strategic business purposes. Where have we seen these types of changes occur?




Here are some examples of businesses that have changed their names:



  • Philip Morris
  • Quantum Computer Services
  • BackRub
  • Diet Deluxe
  • Kentucky Fried Chicken





Controversial Slogans/Ads of the past:


Van Heusen

Chase and Sanborn



Have we completely abandoned such linguistic practices?



Controversial Ads/Slogans still exist today


2 examples of current controversial language:


Washington Redskins/ Change the Mascot.org

"Ninja Please." (Warrior Lacrosse, equipment company)

"Thanks, Mom" (Tyson Chicken nuggets)



This poster campaign's glib casual sexism drew protests

In Washington DC, the Metro got into deep water with this ad for implying that all women are interested in is talking about shoes. Great way to alienate 50 per cent of your customers, guys.






Brainstorm: The Materialization of The American Language


Think about how words/phrases materialize (or come to be)


list as many newly developed words and phrases, words that have changed meaning or acquired new meanings, and hybrid words that you can think of

words/phrases that we wouldn't be familiar with 5-10 years ago


IE: the use of the word heart as a verb

"I heart you."


you could also include a list of once popular words and phrases that we don't hear anymore










A neologism (pron.:/nˈɒləɪzəm/; from Greek νέο- (néo-), meaning "new", and λόγος (lógos), meaning "speech, utterance" is a newly coined term, word, or phrase, that may be in the process of entering common use, but has not yet been accepted into mainstream language






Examples of Social Networking and Technology Neologisms

  1. Google: To use an online search engine as the basis for looking up information on the World Wide Web.
  2. Tweet cred: social standing on Twitter.
  3. 404: Someone who's clueless. From the World Wide Web error message 404 Not Found, meaning that the requested document could not be located.
  4. Crowdsourcing: The activity of getting a large group of people to contribute resource to project, especially by using a website where people can make contributions.
  5. Spam: Flooding the Internet with many copies of the same message, in an attempt to force the message on people who would not otherwise choose to receive it.
  6. Geobragging: Repeated status updates noting your location in an attempt to get attention or make other people jealous.
  7. App: Software application for a smartphone or tablet computer.
  8. Noob:Someone who is new to an online community or game.
  9. Troll:An individual who posts inflammatory, rude, and obnoxious comments to an online community.
  10. Ego surfer:A person who boosts his ego by searching for his own name on Google and other search engines.


Examples of Popular Culture Neologisms

  1. Tebowing:description of a prayerful victory stance derived from NFL quarterback Tim Tebow.
  2. Brangelina: used to refer to supercouple Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie.
  3. Metrosexual: A man who dedicates a great deal of time and money to his appearance.
  4. Muffin top: This refers to the (often unsightly) roll of fat that appears on top of trousers that feature a low waist.
  5. Stich 'n bitch: A gathering of individuals who chat or gossip while knitting or crocheting.
  6. BFF: Stands for best friends forever. Used to state how close you are to another individual.
  7. Vagjayjay: Slang term for the vagina that was believed to have been coined by Oprah.
  8. Chilax: To calm down or relax, it is a slang term used when someone is starting to get uptight about something that is happening.
  9. Racne: Acne located on a woman’s chest.
  10. Staycation: A vacation at home or in the immediate local area.






The Washington Post Neologism Competition

Every year The Washington Post runs an annual competition in which the readers of the newspaper are asked to submit alternative meanings to existing words. The results are often extremely amusing. Here are examples of Washington Post neologisms:

1. Coffee (n.), the person upon whom one coughs.
2. Flabbergasted (adj.), appalled over how much weight you have gained.
3. Abdicate (v.), to give up all hope of ever having a flat stomach.
4. Esplanade (v.), to attempt an explanation while drunk.
5. Willy-nilly (adj.), impotent.
6. Negligent (adj.), describes a condition in which you absentmindedly
answer the door in your nightgown.
7. Lymph (v.), to walk with a lisp.
8. Gargoyle (n.), olive-flavored mouthwash.
9. Flatulance (n.) emergency vehicle that picks you up after you are run over
by a steamroller.
10. Balderdash (n.), a rapidly receding hairline.
11. Testicle (n.), a humorous question on an exam.
12. Rectitude(n.), the formal, dignified bearing adopted by proctologists.
13. Pokemon(n), a Rastafarian proctologist.
14. Oyster (n.), a person who sprinkles his conversation with Yiddishisms.
15. Frisbeetarianism (n.), The belief that when you die, your Soul flies up
onto the roof and gets stuck there.
16. Circumvent (n.), an opening in the front of boxer shorts worn by Jewish men.



Is American English declining?

  • Many Americans believe that our language is in serious decline, with schools neglecting grammar and the media mangling it. Professional linguists do not see decline. They see language reflecting a society that has become more informal in its dress and manners and more permissive in its sexual morality, but still quite concerned with correctness.

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