November 25, 2013

Webster's Dictionary, clutch edition

Look at what Kate Perry carried to the AMA awards: It's a Webster's Dictionary clutch, for sale here (alas, it will set you back $2050).

Tom & Lorenzo's verdict:

Personally, we think the nails, the ring, and the clutch are all a bit wrong for the dress, but they’re the pieces that take this from being a standard (albeit typically gorgeous) Oscar de la Renta look and turning it into a “Katy Perry in Oscar de la Renta” look. In other words, they wouldn’t have been our choices, but we can’t deny that they work for her.

November 24, 2013

Selfie, revisited

So, Oxford Dictionaries opened the 2013 WOTY (Word of the Year) season. Their choice is "selfie," not exactly a new word, but a word that gained prominence in 2013 (which is why I wrote about it here, admittedly rather late in the game). They include this diagram:

The productivity of the word can also be seein in the innovations it undergoes. There's "helfie" (a picture of one's hair), not a word I was aware of, "welfie" (a picture of oneself working out), ditto, and "legsie," a picture of one's legs, really more of a cousin of "selfie." Other languages may borrow the concept, but not necessarily the word:

Other WOTY candidates were twerp (what about "twelfie?"), binge watch, and bitcoin. 

November 19, 2013


Cuteness overflow: These pictures of puppy Theo and toddler Beau napping together are making the rounds on Twitter and Facebook. Justly so.

November 10, 2013

For people who know ...bakery

If that headline (the noun "bakery" used without an article) strikes you as odd, you probably don't live in Wisconsin.

In Wisconsin, "bakery" does not necessarily refer to the place where you buy bread and pastries, it can refer to the baked goods themselves. It seems that this regional meaning of the word -- well documented in the Dictionary of American Regional English (which, hooray, hooray, will soon be available online) --  is still alive and kicking... so much that you can find it in advertisements of a Midwest-based supermarket chain (Hy-Vee). Yay for regionalisms!

November 09, 2013

Gnome Chomsky

Meta-costume for linguists:

I first saw it posted on a linguistic website (as a Halloween costume for linguists), but when I did a Google search I found that there's a whole universe of "Gnome Chomskys" out there (a word play on "Noam Chomsky," who -- besides being a "polictical commentator and activist" happens to be one of the most famous linguists ever -- yes, THE Noam Chomsky). There are even pictures of Noam Chomksky holding a Gnome Chomsky.

So, I'm a little behind in Gnomology. Just how far behind is something I realized yesterday when I was reading the business section of the NY Times. Katia Beauchamp, founder of the beauty subscription service Birchbox, revealed that
Every month, an employee wins the gnome that we named Chomsky, and employees submit a “gnomination” for who they think deserves it most. The winner gets to have Chomsky on their desk for a month and they get $1,000. We read to the entire team why they deserve the award, which is tied into our four leadership principles.
If people who sell lip gloss are more into this Chomsky gnome thing than linguists, well, that just makes you feel very out of it.