Strong language, strong numbers

Be advised: There’s some swearing ahead.

In spite of being all about zero, I think my latest post on Strong Language has it all: linguistics, mathematics, politics, sociology, media and cultural studies. I can’t even keep count. Good thing  we have the Count.

The Count gives zero fucks. Image from Quickmeme.

But you should ignore him. Give a fuck and head on over to Strong Language for my piece, “Something from nothing: A zero-fucks game.” It takes a brief look into an interesting sweary construction I’ve observed, zero-fucks-X.

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twelve words of Christmas

I am excited to share another guest post I’ve composed for Oxford Dictionaries’ OxfordWords blog. The post, “Twelve Words of Christmas,” delivers  some choice yuletide etymologies, turning up “fame-wolves” and “broken wind” and everything in between.

Be sure to check it out–and enjoy the holidays.

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Strong Language

“What the…?” Doodle by me.

I’m extremely excited to share Strong Language, a new “sweary blog about swearing” masterminded and managed by James Harbeck (@sesquiotic) and Stan Carey (@stancarey). (Those two are tops; you should be following their work in its own right, to be sure.) Follow the project on Twitter, too: @stronglang.

Strong Language has assembled an impressive and growing cast of contributors, from the indefatigable Ben Zimmer to the illustrious Jonathon Green. I’m really honored to be among them, and I’ve already posted on the etymology of bastard.

Don’t hold your breath or bite your tongue: vulgarities and profanities—and some really insightful and intelligent linguistic commentary from some of the best language writers around—are a click away. Stan Carey’s latest post will fill you right in.

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lexicon valley

I want to take a break for a moment from my own content to share with you some other content that entertains, edifies, and enriches me on a regular basis: Lexicon Valley, a blog and podcast on all things language published by Slate. Perhaps you already know about the enterprise, but if you don’t, I suggest you change that pronto.

The blog features engaging writing on truly eclectic, language-based topics by some of the best language writers working right now. On the blog, recent posts include:

These are writers I follow–and look up to–on Twitter (see below), and I suggest you do the same. The writers’ special genius, and in many ways Slate’s overarching genius, is their twofold inquisitiveness: They pose questions we’ve all wondered at one point or another or pose questions you’d never think to ask in the first place.

The podcast, featuring the cool-headed descriptivist Mike Vuolo and curious curmudgeon Bob Garfield (of NPR’s On the Media), deserves your immediate binge-listening. Recently, they’ve added the illustrious linguist and lexicographer (executive producer of and Visual Thesaurus, where he writes “Word Routes”; columnist for the Wall Street Journal; and go-to language commentator for just about any media worth engaging with) on a regular segment, “LinguaFile,” which focuses on the history of particular word. In so many ways, this is the Mashed Radish’s Platonic form, its Aristotelian actualization.

Some of my favorites include:

Listen to them. Listen to them all. The podcast is available on iTunes and SoundCloud, and I’m sure you can find it in other places. Their latest LinguaFile is on…well, I let you guess it. That’s part of the fun. But, I have to say with not a little pride, I feel I ‘beat’ these word nerd heroes to it in my post from about a year ago.

For more from all of the above, follow:

  • Gretchen McCulloch @GretchenAMcC
  • Arika Okrent @arikaokrent
  • James Harbeck @sesquiotic
  • Ben Yagoda @byagoda
  • Bob Garfield @Bobosphere
  • Ben Zimmer @bgzimmer
  • Lexicon Valley @lexiconvalley

We’ve got a lot of good word origins coming your way this fall. And perhaps some new textures, if we’re lucky.

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