Articles for Evolution of language

Sci-fi is a fertile breeding ground for neologisms: some have entered everyday language and even scientific jargon

by Pisana Ferrari – cApStAn Ambassador to the Global Village Many words we consider everyday vocabulary like "spacesuit”, “blast off”, “deep space”, “zero gravity” and “alien” have their roots in science fiction, and not in science, as one might think. The word "robot" was first used to denote a fictional ...

The “Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows”, a project to give names to our most profound emotions

by Pisana Ferrari – cApStAn Ambassador to the Global Village The name of the “Sonder café”, recently opened in Cape Town, South Africa, takes its inspiration from one of the neologisms listed in the "Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows". “Sonder” means “the realisation that each random passerby is living a life ...

In defence of jargon – it might be annoying but it also has its uses, including for status compensation

by Pisana Ferrari – cApStAn Ambassador to the Global Village Jargon is, by definition, “exclusionary” and can get in the way of understanding crucial information, says Andre Spice, Professor of Organisational Behaviour at the University of London, writing for The Conversation. Research has shown that when used by doctors it ...

In the era of internet language punctuation is morphing into new shapes, acquiring new tasks, and new meanings

by Pisana Ferrari – cApStAn Ambassador to the Global Village The age of online communication has brought about a radical reinvention of punctuation, in ways that transgress the boundaries of what is commonly defined as "good grammar". This has sparked concerns about the future of formal language and become a ...

Russian literary classics set in 2020: updates to Russia’s greatest books

by Pisana Ferrari – cApStAn Ambassador to the Global Village Fiona Bell is a literary translator and scholar of Russian literature, based in Oxford. She won a highly competitive fellowship from the American Literary Translators Association (ALTA) in 2018, and her translation of Natalia Meshchaninova's Stories received a 2020 PEN/Heim ...

“Planet Word”, an interactive museum dedicated to language, opening up soon in Washington DC

by Pisana Ferrari – cApStAn Ambassador to the Global Village "Planet Word", opening up in Washington DC on October 22, 2020, will be an interactive center dedicated to language arts. Its mission is to inspire a love of words and language and the project is grounded in the belief that ...

The origins of idioms are lost in the mists of metaphor and meaning: they are “the fossilized poetry of language”

by Pisana Ferrari – cApStAn Ambassador to the Global Village Chi Luu, a computational linguist and natural language processing researcher, writes about idioms and their special power to draw people together in a recent article for JSTOR Daily. The origins of idioms, she says, are most often frozen in time, ...