5 posts tagged linguistics
do you guys know how many times i had to read this paper in college
it was a lot of times, and you should also read it, maybe also a lot of times
“Furthermore, the appearance of success or failure may be highly ambiguous and misleading. This ambiguity is perhaps best illustrated with dyke: although dyke continues to be used pejoratively, it is often used positively, with pride, by the in-group. Indeed, because of its very pejoration, dyke claims a political fierceness and anti-assimilationism that lesbian lacks, the latter seen to appeal to male, heterosexual, white, middle-class taste. Again, although they may share a common denotation, the connotations are extremely different. Has dyke failed as a reclaimed word since the out-group continues to use it as hate speech? Or does its in-group use alone testify to its success?”
…the reviewer’s rhetoric echoes a familiar view of technology as a binary opposition, with human connection on one side and computers on the other….To my mind, the relocation of social life to the internet is less a signal of the domination of machines or the loss of human connection than the perfect argument against anyone who claims the internet is making us stupid…. Internet socialization is far closer to a 19th century mode of intimacy than to a dystopian future of tragically disconnected robot prostitutes. There’s a Jane Austen-ish quality to online social life. The written word gains unmatched power and inarguable primacy.
Personal relationships now, to a much greater degree than, say, 30 years ago, hinge on our ability to write — if not necessarily well in a formal, Strunk & White manner, then at least effectively. This change makes us not disconnected so much as it makes us archaic. Austen’s characters easily expressed extreme emotion in long letters and then in person sat twitchily near one another, paralyzed with manners…. Our physical reactions when together are often cover-ups for what we could so candidly admit in writing.
I actually LITERALLY SQUEALED IRL while reading this, possibly because I live for defenses of antisocial textual introverts (hi world!!) and because I effing love media and above all things loathe Kids Today/The Internet Is Ruining Our Lives articles (not that there aren’t PROBLEMS but really this isn’t THE END OF EVERYTHING) and above all things really dig anything about language and bodies and text and bodies of text and ‘textual intimacy’ and I mean, yeah.
Fitzgerald’s Jane Austen comment is interesting to me as well on a number of levels — we all know how I feel about Janie by now (and I’m guessing a lot of y’all are also familiar with the good time provided to us by our dear friend Eve K.S.) — and I think there’s a lot of interesing stuff going on there regarding technology alienation repression society norms blah blah blahdy blah blah, but for the most part just a really big YES THANK YOU.
While y’all are busy gushing over pencil skirts and skinny ties (not that I’m not), here’s another fun little bit of linguistic assholery about linguistic anachronisms in Mad Men. More at Visual Thesaurus, too.
Articulacy of fingers, the language of the deaf and dumb, signing on the body, body longing. Who taught you to write in blood on my back? Who taught you to use your hands as branding irons? You have scored your name into my shoulders, referenced me with your mark. The pads of your fingers have become printing blocks, you tap a message on to my skin, tap meaning into my body. Your Morse code interferes with my heart beat. I had a steady heart before I met you, I relied upon it, it had seen active service and grown strong. Now you alter its pace with your own rhythm, you play upon me, drumming me taut.
Written on the body is a secret code only visible in certain lights; the accumulations of a lifetime gather there. In places the palimpsest is so heavily worked that the letters feel like Braille. I like to keep my body rolled up away from prying eyes. Never unfold too much, tell the whole story. I didn’t know that you would have reading hands. You have translated me into your own book.
— Jeanette Winterson
…or my way of showing off my heavy-handed uber-metaphorical new ink (hay guys text and bodies and bodies of text and gay stuff and alphabets and language and metaphors about blindness and touch and vision and writing and maps and codes and history and histories and fiction and stories and more heavy handed overintellectual queer garbage zomgz)
My minor/correllate in college was this completely fabricated (and completely awesome) linguistics/anthropology/media studies track which I somehow got the anth department to approve and call “langauge, new media, and expressive culture.” Which basically came down to a lot of crap about, like, what languages people use on their Facebook walls, how blogs perpetuate certain linguistic style amongst their commenters to create a community (Gawker vs Perez vs HRO), the fact that abbreviations for texting/tweeting etc are creative adaptations to constrants and not the end of the English language (fuck you, prescriptivists), what the actual logic of cat macro text (“LOLSPEAK”) is and academizing other various 4chan garbage and memes, and then an awful lot using Google for statistics on when and where phrases or alternate spellings became popular. Man, was that all useless and awesome or what.
Point of all that was that I totally miss it a few years later, which is why things like this make me cream my linguistpants. (Also, you know, links including Monty Python sketches never hurt anyone.) Top records / videos / films of the year? Yawn (though I’m sure I’ll post my own lists at some point.) Top searched words of the year at Merrimam-Webster??! Hell yes! Dictionary.com’s top lists are a bit less reassuring though - I’m not sure if I should be depressed or proud of the American public that so many of them needed to look up the definition of “socialism.”