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News, science and other stories about language, writing, communication and related fields.
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Provo-Based English Language Learning Center Fires Employee for "Homophone" Misunderstanding

Here is the latest in American horror stories: in an ironic and
totally ludicrous turn of events, Tim Torkildson, a social-media specialist for a private Provo-based English language learning center, was fired after a misunderstanding when his boss
failed to comprehend the difference between
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More than One Kind of Irony

More than One Kind of Irony | Language & Communication News & Information | Scoop.it
Irony and its adjective ironic have joined the class of carelessly used words–like literally and awesome–that drive many language lovers wild.

Via Steve Tuffill
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Steve Tuffill's curator insight, March 28, 2014 1:21 PM

I heard someone say the other day: "Oh yes, irony is the opposite of wrinkly, right?" Find out how, here...

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Clusters of moist scabs, and other words people hate

Clusters of moist scabs, and other words people hate | Language & Communication News & Information | Scoop.it
Certain words trigger a listener's gag reflex.
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“Stink Onions,” “Heart’s Farm,” “Place to Find Gold”: Literal Names of U.S. Places, Mapped

“Stink Onions,” “Heart’s Farm,” “Place to Find Gold”: Literal Names of U.S. Places, Mapped | Language & Communication News & Information | Scoop.it
It’s easy to think of words such as California or Texas or New York as just the places on the map, but those words actually meant something, once, and those meanings offer a little glimpse into history.
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How Minnesotans talk compared to the rest of the country [MAPS]

How Minnesotans talk compared to the rest of the country [MAPS] | Language & Communication News & Information | Scoop.it
Joshua Katz, a Ph. D student in statistics at North Carolina State University, recently used data from Professor Bert...
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A linguistic dissection of 7 annoying teenage sounds

A linguistic dissection of 7 annoying teenage sounds | Language & Communication News & Information | Scoop.it
Voiced alveolar stop and breathy-voiced low back unrounded vowel — better known as duhhh
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Nine Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Swear Words | TIME.com

Nine Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Swear Words | TIME.com | Language & Communication News & Information | Scoop.it
Earmuffs!
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Paraprosdokian Phrases

Paraprosdokian Phrases | Language & Communication News & Information | Scoop.it
What in the world is a paraprosdokian phrase? Slide on in here and I'll explain what it is and how to use it. Oh, come on: it'll be fun!
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"Just a Theory": 7 Misused Science Words: Scientific American

"Just a Theory": 7 Misused Science Words: Scientific American | Language & Communication News & Information | Scoop.it
From "significant" to "natural," here are seven scientific terms that can prove troublesome for the public and across research disciplines
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H.P. Lovecraft on the 20 most common mistakes of aspiring writers.

H.P. Lovecraft on the 20 most common mistakes of aspiring writers. | Language & Communication News & Information | Scoop.it
"Almost no excuse exists for their persistent occurrence..."
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5 (or so) commonly misused words

5 (or so) commonly misused words | Language & Communication News & Information | Scoop.it
For communications pros, 'Oh, well, you know what I meant,' isn't good enough. Clarity of meaning is essential.
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27 Delightful Obsolete Words It's High Time We Revived

27 Delightful Obsolete Words It's High Time We Revived | Language & Communication News & Information | Scoop.it
Quit groaking me, you slubberdegullion.
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45 ways to avoid using the word 'very'

45 ways to avoid using the word 'very' | Language & Communication News & Information | Scoop.it

Via mooderino
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Steve Tuffill's curator insight, April 6, 2014 10:08 PM

This makes the writing business very easy indeed...! How many times have you been caught when you can't find the right word for it...?

Annie Edmonds 's curator insight, April 7, 2014 2:20 AM

Useful words to use instead of very...

Laurie DesAutels's curator insight, April 8, 2014 5:37 PM

Helpful tips to avoid using the word 'very'

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The modern history of swearing: Where all the dirtiest words come from

The modern history of swearing: Where all the dirtiest words come from | Language & Communication News & Information | Scoop.it
As society evolves, so do our curse words. Here's how some of the most famous ones developed -- and a few new ones
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Which Words Matter The Most When You Talk

Which Words Matter The Most When You Talk | Language & Communication News & Information | Scoop.it
Language like anything else can be hacked for greater effectiveness. Here are some techniques to make your words--your best tool at work--more...

Via Ana Cristina Pratas
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Steve Tuffill's curator insight, August 11, 2013 1:27 PM

I like this. It is well laid out and, despite the subject matter being quite scholarly, it is very easy to read. I am glad to see this here. Thanks for sharing it, Ana!

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Lexicon Valley on the History of Swearing

Lexicon Valley on the History of Swearing | Language & Communication News & Information | Scoop.it
Listen to Lexicon Valley Episode No. 28: A Brief History of Swearing Subscribe in iTunes ∙ RSS feed ∙ Download ∙ Play in another tab In her new book Holy Shit: A Brief History of Swearing, author Melissa Mohr divides bad words into two major camps:...
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18 obsolete words, which never should have gone out of style

18 obsolete words, which never should have gone out of style | Language & Communication News & Information | Scoop.it
Help bring them back.
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From 'Groovy' To 'Slacks,' The Words That Date You : NPR

From 'Groovy' To 'Slacks,' The Words That Date You : NPR | Language & Communication News & Information | Scoop.it
When Chicago Tribune columnist Mary Schmich used the word "slacks" in a column, a reader commented: "Slacks? How old are you?" The reader's comment got Schmich thinking about the words we choose and how much those choices can reveal about our age.
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How 'Skinny' Became the Hottest Phrase in Marketing

How 'Skinny' Became the Hottest Phrase in Marketing | Language & Communication News & Information | Scoop.it
for food and drink makers, "skinny" seems to be the phattest marketing term going -- and here's why
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The modern history of swearing: Where all the dirtiest words come from

The modern history of swearing: Where all the dirtiest words come from | Language & Communication News & Information | Scoop.it
As society evolves, so do our curse words. Here's how some of the most famous ones developed -- and a few new ones
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10 Types of Transitions in Writing

10 Types of Transitions in Writing | Language & Communication News & Information | Scoop.it
Writing is simply a matter of expressing ideas, but as we all know, it’s not so simple after all. One challenge is to coherently connect those ideas.

Via Steve Tuffill
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Steve Tuffill's curator insight, April 23, 2013 8:36 AM

...just a way of getting from one point to another.

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Handwritten Notes Are a Rare Commodity. They're Also More Important Than Ever.

Handwritten Notes Are a Rare Commodity. They're Also More Important Than Ever. | Language & Communication News & Information | Scoop.it
They cost something, mean something, and have permanence.
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10 Nonverbal Cues That Convey Confidence At Work - Forbes

10 Nonverbal Cues That Convey Confidence At Work - Forbes | Language & Communication News & Information | Scoop.it
You cannot avoid sending nonverbal messages; however, it is possible to train yourself to send the right ones. Here are ten nonverbal cues that convey confidence and credibility in the workplace.
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Mining Books To Map Emotions Through A Century : NPR

Mining Books To Map Emotions Through A Century : NPR | Language & Communication News & Information | Scoop.it
Anthropologists find that the use of "emotional" words in all sorts of books has soared and dipped across the past century, roughly mirroring each era's social and economic upheavals.

Via Steve Tuffill
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Steve Tuffill's curator insight, April 3, 2013 12:40 PM

Are we getting angrier? If the information here is to be trusted, yes...

But angry only in our words. In other words: "Our bark is worse than our bite."

I like it that the British study used a computer program to analyze the emotional content of books from each year in the 20th Century: emotional words had six classifications, and "joy" ranked the highest. Some 224 words meant "joy"! But only 30 for disgust? Would there be more "disgust" words in the French language, perhaps?

 

The other side of this study measured "peaks and valleys" in periods of positive and negative moods through word usage and these have correlation that is not hard to understand at all. 1940 is an all-time low and 1910 is an all-time high that we are beginning to approach again now (although the graph cuts off before the start of the 21st Century).