Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus. blog comments powered by Disqus
Of Interest:

The Monkey's Eyebrows

We’ve just come across a delightful bit of linguistic history in the form of a dictionary [or perhaps more accurately a phrasebook] of slang from the 1920s taken from an issue of Flapper magazine.

One function of slang is to define group boundaries - you either understand and you’re “in,” or you don’t, and you’re “out” - and we are made privy to the concerns and mindset of the cool kids of our (great-) grampa’s generation with this peek. While the number of terms relating to dancing as a social function seems outsized to the contemporary reader, there are an awful lot of entries dealing with sex and drugs.
Plus ça change... Some of the definitions themselves seem to be wink-wink end runs around the censor - or the disapproving parent. This all makes for entertaining reading.

We note the number of phrases that still pepper contemporary English: a swan, a grubber, ‘the bee’s knees,’ and those whose usage is lost to time, even if the topic is still regularly broached: “Mustard Plaster”? An “unwelcome guy who sticks around.” These days, actual mustard plasters have been replaced by adhesive bandages, which we usually call “bandaids” - but we’ll address that whole brand dilution kettle of fish some other time.

Like any window to another world, we enjoy this article for opening our eyes and teaching us something about our recent past. As a snapshot of the ever-changing river that is language, we’re grateful for the wisdom we can glean from this find.


In the wake of the recent announcement that the Oxford English DIctionary will be including ‘LOL’ and ‘OMG’ in the future editions, an article on the BBC News web site takes a look at some aspects of ‘txt.’ The article makes some interesting observations on language chance, written vs. spoken language, etymology, and other things that float our boat around here. The comments on the article are just as interesting. We particularly enjoyed the sidebar on non-English variations on the theme:

LOL around the world

mdr (and derivatives)
French version, from the initials of "mort de rire" which roughly translated means "dying of laughter"

Hebrew version. The letter
ח is pronounced 'kh' and ה is pronounced 'h'. Putting them together makes "khakhakha"

Thai variation of LOL. "5" in Thai is pronounced "ha", three of them being "hahaha"

Swedish abbreviation of the term Asgarv, meaning intense laughter

Afghan abbreviation of the Dari phrase "ma khanda mikonom", which means "I am laughing"

Know Your Meme)

Moral of the story: be sure to know the colloquialisms of the target market you are aiming for, in terms of both geography and language, or your product name could have people ROFL[T]AO. Nomenon’s Native Speaker Language Checks can ensure that no one giggles at your big overseas launch.