The Guardian: Oxford Dictionaries: 2020 has too many Words of the Year to name just one. “For the first time, the Oxford English Dictionary has chosen not to name a word of the year, describing 2020 as ‘a year which cannot be neatly accommodated in one single word’. Instead, from ‘unmute’ to ‘mail-in’, and from ‘coronavirus’ to ‘lockdown’, the eminent reference work has announced its ‘words of an “unprecedented” year’.”
NiemanLab: ProPublica experiments with ultra-accessible plain language in stories about people with disabilities. “For an investigation into denied disability benefits in Arizona and an accompanying editor’s note, ProPublica is experimenting with plain language — a type of text that uses common words, short sentences, and clear structure to make information more accessible to those with intellectual and developmental disabilities.”
Edex Live: How this social media project aims to replace misogynistic and casteist slurs across Indian languages. “Have you ever thought about how misogynistic and casteist most verbal abuses are? While it might feel cathartic and release some pent up frustration, slang, more often than not, is derogatory and insulting. But, we also understand that there’s a need to release some of that frustration when things really get tough. So do Tamanna Mishra and Neha Thakur. And that is why the duo began an initiative called The Gaali Project in the first week of September. The initiative aims to replace these swear words with misogynistic undertones.”
Europeana Pro: Exploring new resources in CLARIN’s Virtual Language Observatory. “Since 2017, CLARIN and Europeana have worked together to increase the number of cultural heritage objects available for quick and easy discovery as well as processing by humanities and social sciences scholars. In this post, we take a look at the new resources integrated into CLARIN’s Virtual Language Observatory.”
Wired: Metaphors Matter in a Time of Pandemic. “The image of maces or robots bearing spikes and cracking open our cells does at first conjure a military attack. Indeed Bill Gates has said we ought to have prepared for a pandemic as if for armed conflict. In March, Donald Trump dubbed himself a ‘wartime president.’ More recently, military veterans have urged people enduring the Covid-19 contagion to think like prisoners of war. But Scott Knowles, a disaster expert who runs the history department at Drexel, is wary of martial language.”
Emergency Medicine News: De-eponymizing Anatomical Terminology . “After a recent Twitter debate, we set out to evaluate the hypothesis that there is always an alternative to a dead man’s name for body parts and to create an online searchable database … to facilitate the de-eponymization of anatomic terminology. We reviewed 700 normal… anatomical and histological eponyms, and developed a searchable database modelled on the 2019 edition of Terminologia Anatomica (TA2) published by the Federative International Programme for Anatomical Terminology (FIPAT).” It’s probably inferable but let me make clear that an eponym is something named after a person. Like Alzheimer’s disease.
Harvard Business Review: The Next Big Breakthrough in AI Will Be Around Language. “The 2010s produced breakthroughs in vision-enabled technologies, from accurate image searches on the web to computer vision systems for medical image analysis or for detecting defective parts in manufacturing and assembly, as we described extensively in our book and research. GPT3, developed by OpenAI, indicates that the 2020s will be about major advances in language-based AI tasks.”
CBR: James Gunn, Merriam-Webster Come to a Consensus on How to Spell ‘Asshat’. “Writer/director James Gunn recently reached out to the internet for help with a project he’s currently writing. While he wouldn’t name the script he needed it for, Gunn asked his followers on Twitter how they prefer to spell the word ‘asshat’. He claimed that the poll settled the matter forever — and the Merriam-Webster dictionary backed him up.”
EurekAlert: How to render AI linguistically more intelligent. “Siri or Alexia, Google translator or Deepl, the problem is always the same: they have not yet learned the nuances of different languages, let alone how to adapt their response or translation according to the context.”
CNN: This 23-year-old Nigerian is creating a digital collection of African stories for children in different languages. “In May, with help from two friends, Fanan and Tolulope, [Dominic] Onyekachi launched Akiddie, a web-based platform providing access to African storybooks for children like his niece. Akiddie features storybooks based on African history and characters for children in different languages.”
Bustle: How To Use Neopronouns, According To An Expert & People Who Use Them. “Neopronouns express a similar idea as they/them, but neopronouns are intentionally created to make pronouns that feel like home. Neopronouns like xe/xem/xeir and ze/zir/zirs also allow people to refer to folks in the third person without placing them in a gender binary — Xe is such an incredible writer, you think while reading an awesome book by a nonbinary human. Many more neopronouns exist than binary pronouns, and you can check out a list of neopronouns here.”
Gulf Today: Sharjah spearheads huge project to chronicle 17 centuries of Arabic. “Heralding a new era for the Arabic language lexicon, Sharjah has embarked on a landmark project to chronicle 17 centuries of development in the Arabic language spanning five distinct time periods. The Historical Corpus of the Arabic Language is a monumental undertaking that will offer unparalleled insight into the world’s fifth most widely spoken language and serve as a linguistic resource for researchers, academia, linguists and students worldwide.” Sharjah is a city in the United Arab Emirates.
Scientific American: Explore 175 Years of Words in Scientific American. “We invite you to dive in and explore a database of words that appeared prominently in the print history of Scientific American. Below, each year of that history is represented by a single word, which was selected through a text-analysis project that started with all 5,107 issues of the magazine. Words whose relative frequency peaked in each individual year were identified.”
TechRepublic: AI-powered tool aims to help reduce bias and racially charged language on websites. “Website accessibility tech provider UserWay has released an AI-powered tool designed to help organizations ensure their websites are free from discriminatory, biased, and racially charged language. The tool, Content Moderator, flags content for review, and nothing is deleted or removed without approval from site administrators, according to UserWay.”
News18: Maskhole, After Covidiots, is the Best Word to Define People with Reckless Behaviour in Pandemic. “Four months into the lockdown and continuous messages on how to be safe, the mask is still not finding its place. And now we do have a word for such people who defeat the purpose of masks. Maskhole is the word that The New Yorker has devised for such individuals.”