Friday, July 24, 2009

Katie Nuttall Language Usage #9-16

9. In our technical difficulties in class last week David said, “I think we have a streaming problem.” We were in the middle of watching a video clip and it just stopped, or couldn’t finish loading. It made me think about the word stream. A stream is a small course of water. It has a current, a flow. We now use this as a computer problem for when our flow of communication is interrupted.

10. I was watching “So You Think You Can Dance” (A Television show on Fox on Tuesday Nights) and one of the judges (Lil C) made a comment about the dance performance. He said, “That was Buck!” It was a compliment. It is a new way to say a dance performance was top notch and impressive. In fact Lil C defined the word more specifically by saying, "Buck is when internal artistry meets physical expression." I like that definition. What I like about this phrase is that it is a creation to describe something beautiful.

11. I was reading an article on the Internet about “Wikipedia Kids.” It was titled Wikipedia kids' ill-prepared for university, professors say. It stated, “Pressure from Queen's Park to increase high school graduation rates has led to a generation of "Wikipedia kids" who are not prepared for university, a survey of professors and librarians has concluded. Students are immature, they rely too heavily on Internet tools such as Wikipedia as research sources, they fail to learn independently and they expect success without putting in the effort.” I was impressed with this neologism. It refers to a student who has poor research skills. Wikipedia is not the best source. Yet it is often the one that comes up the most. Whenever I google a word, wikipedia is always one of the first choices. It is interesting how the students who use it for research are labeled as lacking ability to think critically and research. It makes me wonder then: why is it so prevalent in searches if it is considered an unreliable research source.

12-13. I came across an article title “The Issues with Issues” in the Boston Globe online. It stated: The word issues bothers a fair number of people, including reader David Devore, who recently sent me a link to a language complaint in the Times of London — along with the warning, "watch out for escaping steam." And indeed, the Times letter writer was at the boiling point. "In the media, in the pub, at the bus stop," fulminated G.B., "no one ever refers to their 'problems'; they only have 'issues.'" It is interesting to think about. I often say myself that someone has “issues.” However I do think that this word is not used as much as he thinks it is. In fact later in the article. They state that Mr. B is a victim of Frequency Illusion. That word is a neologism, coined by a linguist. It means: The tendency to notice instances of a particular phenomenon once one starts to look for it, and to therefore believe erroneously that the phenomenon occurs frequently. I think that we too can be victims of the frequency illusion. It reminds me of times when people who want to be pregnant, tend to always be surrounded by pregnant people. They notice them everywhere. Or even my most recent experience of frequency illusion: everyone I met talked about facebook and asked me about facebook, until I was convinced to finally join.

14. I came across an article called, “Parents, teens need safe driving contract.” It said, “We've had the discussion many times at our house of the idiocy of driving while using a cell phone and especially driving while "intexticated," and as confident as I am that my kid won't do it, there's always that nagging concern that the slightest distraction can lead to tragic consequences.” There has been a lot of talk about texting while driving. Some studies show that texting while driving can be worse than intoxication. The word intexticated means someone preoccupied by reading or sending text messages, particularly while driving a car. However, I have met many intexticated people. I observe it in the stores and even while talking to people. I have a friend that even has timed her texting rate and has texting challenges to see who is faster.

15-16. In Time Magazine in May they had an article called "Shoppers, Unite! Carrotmobs Are Cooler than Boycotts.” First of all, I have to say that whoever came up with the title was ingenious. To understand the article it is helpful to know what a Carrotmob is. A Carrotmob is an event where people support an environmentally-friendly store by gathering en masse to purchase the store's products. With all the puss to “go-green” it was interesting to read the lengths people will go to promote it. It is also a good concept considering the economy. Carrotmobs are not about raising money. They are a peaceful gathering to promote something good. They also are going to but things they were planning to buy any way. The article also held another good neologism: The reverse boycott is perfect for the growing cadre of slactivists — slackers who care just enough about causes to sign online petitions and join Facebook protest pages but lack the time, money or drive to do much else. I like the creative possibilities of the positive cooperation activism.

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