Posts Tagged: language

A Poet’s Arrival

By

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.

...more

Penkov, Miroslav  (c) Bart Michiels

The Rumpus Interview with Miroslav Penkov

By

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

additional author photo

The Sunday Rumpus Interview: Idra Novey

By

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

By

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

By

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.

...more

The Art of Inventing Language

By

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….

...more

It’s Literally Fine

By

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.

...more

The Making of the OED

By

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.

...more

Kingsnorth, Paul (Jyoti Kingsnorth)

The Rumpus Interview with Paul Kingsnorth

By

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

2015, Year of the Badass Woman?

By

As it’s most commonly used, badass implies both toughness and disaffectedness. It’s rare to look at someone whose chief qualities are measured thoughtfulness and open emotionality and declare her a total badass.

Ijeoma Oluo, Naomi Yang, Eudora Welty—these women are creative and powerful and assertive, yes, but should we call them “badass”?

...more

Spelling Reformed

By

At The Awl, Annie Abrams gives the history of a 19th-century newspaper, Di Anglo-Sacsun, and its editors’ attempts to make literacy more available to the public, by developing their own phonetic alphabet that the newspaper was written in. Abrams also dives into the controversy surrounding the name of the paper:

Andrews and Boyle pointedly explained that they did not choose the title “in a partisan or national spirit, or with a view to render prominent the dysfunction between the different branches of the human brotherhood,” but instead “because it seems to us to contain a proper allusion to the language which it is our primary object to reform.”

...more