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Language Report
    #3260498 - 10/21/04 03:30 PM (13 years, 7 months ago)


Susie Dent has titled her 2004 Language Report, the latest of an annual survey of the way in which the media (mis)use language, to be published by Oxford University Press on Tuesday, Larpers and Shroomers. A "larper" (from "Live Action Role Playing") is a "person who re-enacts fantasy scenarios by dressing up and assuming character roles". A "Shroomer" is "a person who takes hallucinogenic ('magic') mushrooms to get their kicks".

Although the latest developments in pronunciation and punctuation are considered, it is the newest slang that provides most amusement - even if it may never be printed in a dictionary.

A "Retrosexual", for example, is "a man who spends as little time and money on his appearance as possible". The business world, meanwhile, continues to speak in another tongue: "Moose on the table" is "an issue which everyone in a meeting knows is a problem but which no one wants to address" whereas "dropping your pants" means "lowering the price of a product in order to close a sale". More jargon can be found at www.businessballs.com.

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Re: Language Report [Re: Anno]
    #3260542 - 10/21/04 03:41 PM (13 years, 7 months ago)


Evolving English language examined in 'Larpers and Shroomers'
Last Updated Tue, 19 Oct 2004 11:13:55 EDT
LONDON - "U-boat," "Wonderbra" and "spliff" are among the terms featured in Larpers and Shroomers: The Language Report, a new book charting the creation of new words over the past 100 years.

Scheduled for release in mid-November, the book is published by the Oxford University Press and the brainchild of author Susie Dent, a British editor, translator and word lover who looked into the evolving nature of the English language between 1904 and 2004.

Because there isn't an established group that preserves the nature of the English language, "there's no single authority saying what you can have and what you can't," Dent told the Associated Press.

"I think that's fantastic, because then English just moves as we need it to."

After studying the social and political climate of each year, Dent and her team selected one term that provides a snapshot of that period.

Also, each word selected made its first appearance in the Oxford English Dictionary in the year for which it is nominated in Larpers and Shroomers.

Snapshots, early adopters and newcomers

Many choices capture the social or political scene of the year: "U-boat" in 1916, "Blitzkrieg" in 1939, "peacenik" in 1963, "punk" in 1974, "dot-commer" in 1997 and "9/11" in 2001.

"If you look at teddy bear [1906's selection] for example, it came about as a result of Teddy Roosevelt," Dent said.

Readers might be surprised, however, at how early some of the other choices first appeared: "spliff" in 1936, "Wonderbra" in 1947, "generation X" in 1952 and "cyborg" in 1960.

While some of the book's selections have not lasted (1909's "tiddly-om-pom-pom" or 1958's "beatnik"), others found renewed meaning much later (1913's "celeb," 1935's "racism" and 1951's "fast food").

The book also looks at words of the moment that haven't made it into the dictionary but are nonetheless revealing about today's society: a "retrosexual" describes a scruffy man who spends little time or money on his appearance ? a backlash to the suave "metrosexual" man of recent years ? while "movieoke" is the recent film variation on the sing-a-long "karaoke" craze.

Incidentally, the title of book refers to "Live Action Role Players" or those who gather to act out fantasy adventures, and cultivators or users of wild, often hallucinogenic, mushrooms.



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Re: Language Report [Re: Anno]
    #3266865 - 10/23/04 04:16 AM (13 years, 7 months ago)

It's an awesome fad
October 21, 2004

Some people became hip as early as 1904 and celebs in 1913. They discovered pop culture in 1921, kitsch five years later and decried dumbing down in 1933.

Others earned megabucks in 1946, caught the fast food fad in 1951 and were awesome in 1961.

Were you among those who went green in '71, turned punk in '74 and scorned karaoke in '79?

You might have moved out of virtual reality in 1987, had it large in 1991, looked ghetto fabulous in 1996, and worn bling-bling as the millennium dawned. It has all been part of keeping up with the evolving language.

English has been the fastest-moving language for 100 years, says a new book, Larpers and Shroomers, the Language Report.

In charting its progress, Susie Dent, author and language expert, has drawn up a list of neologisms coined in each year of the past century.

For instance the word "sex", meaning sexual intercourse, was used for the first time only in 1929. By 1956 it had evolved into the form "sexy" meaning interesting.

She said: "I was startled to find that celeb was used in a letter to Woodrow Wilson as early as 1913. Of course, it is still very much alive today."

Before 1918, there was no word in the language to describe the end of hostilities. That was when "ceasefire" appeared. The hemline arose only as skirts became shorter in 1923 and we did not have bagels before 1932.

Nobody before 1935 had heard of "racism", although they would surely have known what it meant, and the cheeseburger was not a common term before 1938.

Dent says: "Slang moves on so fast that most new words disappear soon after they are coined. But there is always something that sticks behind."

A "larper", incidentally, is derived from the phrase "Live Action Role Playing" and means a person, such as a Star Trek enthusiast, who enjoys re-enacting fantasy scenarios. A "shroomer" is a person who has a taste for hallucinogenic, or magic, mushrooms.

The Telegraph, London


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