Posts Tagged: language

Women Shouldn’t Stop Saying ‘Sorry’

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At The Establishment, Amelia Shroyer pushes back against the idea that women must self-police their language in order to sound more ‘professional’ (read: like men):

Society has always valued the words of men more than those of women, to the point that men have been credited for discoveries or milestones actually reached by women, and that women have published their work under male pseudonyms just so people would engage with it.

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Reading Mslle feature

Reading Mademoiselle Gantrel

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We squinted into the smoky room and saw ourselves on junior year abroad, frolicking on the Left Bank with artists in berets like hers. ...more

The Person to Whom Things Happen

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The question of what posture to take toward our own pain is unexpectedly complicated. How do we understand our own suffering—with what words and to what ends?

For the New York Times Magazine, Parul Sehgal questions the terminology we use when talking about sexual assault: from “victim” to “survivor,” either term a kind of interpellation unto itself, possibly infringing on personhood—and all the facets “person” might mean.

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A Poet’s Arrival

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The New Yorker profiles Ocean Vuong, who muses on the English language, growing up around women, Frank O’Hara, and the vestigial nature of clichés. And with his first book of poetry published just last week, he addresses the feelings of strangeness that accompany the act of making poetry and writing into a career:

When the poet-novelist Ben Lerner joined the faculty, he introduced Vuong to the notion that a life of writing might be possible.

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Penkov, Miroslav  (c) Bart Michiels

The Rumpus Interview with Miroslav Penkov

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Miroslav Penkov discusses his debut novel, Stork Mountain, Balkan history, and the difficulties and rewards of being a bilingual writer. ...more

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The Sunday Rumpus Interview: Idra Novey

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Swati Khurana talks with novelist and translator Idra Novey about the challenges and joys of translation, the idiosyncrasies of language, the inextricable reception of women's writing and women's bodies, and much more. ...more

Smith, Cote (c) Mick Cottin

The Rumpus Interview with Cote Smith

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Cote Smith talks about his debut novel, Hurt People, growing up in a prison town, using rejection as motivation, and brotherly love. ...more

Examining the Dictionary for Sexism

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We need to know that the dictionary, as an institution, has a cultural power beyond the sum of its parts…And that does carry with it a responsibility to realize that we exist within that tension, and to not always hide behind the idea of descriptivist lexicography

Over at the New Yorker, Nora Caplan-Bricker compiles stories of problematic dictionary definitions and ultimately calls for dictionaries to reexamine their construction and eliminate sexist definitions.

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The Art of Inventing Language

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Chi Luu writes for JSTOR Daily on the popularity of invented languages, ranging from the mystical language created by a 12th century abbess to contemporary constructed languages such as Esperanto and Klingon.

Invented languages found in literature are really examples of linguistic artistry, language for art’s sake, not necessarily for real world utility or universality….

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It’s Literally Fine

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At the Atlantic, Adrienne LaFrance defends teenagers’ ever-maligned contributions to the lexicon, citing a recent student that examines the extent to which teens influence linguistic change:

And the thing about linguistic changes is they can’t exactly be stopped in any sort of deliberate way…Even old-school grammar geeks are warming up to “they” as an acceptable gender-neutral pronoun, understanding that culture doesn’t just trump language rules, it creates them—then destroys them, then creates new ones again.

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The Making of the OED

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The Oxford English Dictionary, the first comprehensive catalog of the English language, took seventy years to compile. Volunteers aided the project, and one of the biggest contributors happened to be a murderer who lived in an insane asylum:

Through the years, the OED’s editor had enlisted hundreds of volunteers around the English-speaking world, and probably took for granted that a mysterious stranger was happy to cite word usage for him all day, because he was editing the most ambitious lexicographical project in the English language to date.

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Kingsnorth, Paul (Jyoti Kingsnorth)

The Rumpus Interview with Paul Kingsnorth

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Author and poet Paul Kingsnorth talks about writing an entire novel in a “shadow-tongue” of Old English, and what that taught him about our contemporary world. ...more