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In a 2016 article published in this journal (Roig–Marín, 2016), I argued that the coinage of cyber-blends reflects our blended digital/physical relationships in today's world. The current pandemic has put a halt to our everyday lives and all forms of physical contact, and so technologies and digital experiences now play a more conspicuous role than ever. We have gone online and got used to vocabulary whose usage prior to COVID-19 was very limited (e.g. quarantine and pandemic) or known to very few (coronavirus, super-spreader, or the abbreviations PPE ‘personal protective equipment’ or WFH ‘working from home’), while coming to terms with the implications of others such as self-isolation, lockdown, or social distancing (which should be better called physical distancing as social closeness, albeit non-physically, is very much needed to get through these difficult times). Short pieces on coroneologisms have attested to the rise of many new lexical formations, mostly blends. According to Thorne (2020; also cited in CBC, 2020), more than 1,000 new words – both non-specialised and technical terminology – have been created during the current pandemic. Journalists and Twitter users are particularly prone to coin words displaying a high level of linguistic ingenuity; yet, the circulation of that lexis may be very limited. The present note overviews some of the most widely spread vocabulary related to our new COVID-19 reality, coming from the laity rather than from medical or scientific professionals. Alongside terms like social distancing and lockdown, less technical and more playful vocabulary has transcended linguistic boundaries. Particular attention will be paid to examples from European languages whose word-stocks share a common Latinate substratum, likewise central to scientific communication.
English dialects demonstrate considerable variation in their pronominal systems (see for example Trudgill & Chambers, 1991 and Hernández, 2011). In England, pronouns in the north east of the country – the urban areas of Tyne and Wear and Teesside and the counties of Durham and Northumberland (hereafter NEE) – are often different from those found in Standard English (SE). The most extensive modern accounts of NEE pronouns are Beal (1993) and Beal, Burbano–Elizondo and Llamas (2012), but because they appear in chapters dealing with a wide range of morphosyntactic topics, the coverage is necessarily brief. This article is able to offer a more detailed overview of the morphology of NEE pronouns, based on a sizeable naturalistic corpus of vernacular writing.
Intensifying adverbs are devices which scale a quality up, down, or somewhere between the two (Bolinger 1972: 17). To intensify the adjective cool, speakers of British English have a variety of functionally equivalent intensifiers at their disposal. They can use very, really, so, dead, bloody, right and well, among many others. A seemingly recent arrival to the British intensifier system is proper, as in that was proper cool. Believed to have entered English from the Latin proprius via Norman French (OED, proper), proper now has a variety of denotations in Present Day English. As an adjective, it can denote suitability (e.g., wear the proper equipment), etiquette (e.g., it wouldn't be proper to do that) and worthiness/authenticity (e.g., it's proper street food). As an adverb, proper can function as an adverb of manner (e.g., we like to do things proper in our house), and a marker of degree (e.g., he is proper tall); the degree function applying exclusively to British English. Some examples of proper intensifying adjectives from the present dataset are reported in (1).
The present study focuses on the word cheeky which, in the past few decades, has taken on a new meaning of ‘mildly illicit’ in addition to, and partly overtaking, its original meaning of ‘impudent’. We examine how this semantic change is spreading in different age groups and in different parts of the English-speaking world. As we demonstrate, the newer meaning of cheeky is associated with younger speakers, so we examine whether this correlates with different age groups’ understanding of the new form. Furthermore, cheeky ‘impudent’ was used more frequently in the United Kingdom than in North America. If that earlier meaning was already marked for North America, how is the newer meaning cheeky ‘mildly illicit’ understood by speakers there?
This study focuses on the residential neighbourhoods of Johor Bahru city, the administrative and business centre of the Johor Bahru region and the Malaysian state of Johor. Johor Bahru is a border town, located in the very south of peninsular Malaysia, less than one mile away from Singapore. According to City Population (2018), the Johor Bahru region has a multi-ethnic population of almost 1.4 million, comprised of native ‘Bumiputera’ (52%), Chinese (37.4%), Indian (9.9%) and ‘other’ (0.6%) citizens. Hutchinson and Bhattacharya (2019: 1) describe economic links with Singapore as ‘long standing, far-reaching, spanning trade in goods and services, as well as foreign direct investment (FDI) and movement of people’; both countries are one another's ‘second most important trading partner, in both cases surpassed only by China and outranking traditional commercial allies such as the United States and Japan’.
Store image is an important factor in the consumer's decision-making process (Nevin & Houston, 1980). As a cue to a store's image, a store sign and its visual design and content form (which may include the name of the store or brand) serve as vital elements that can immediately attract potential customers. In particular, a store's name can be used as an extrinsic signal to suggest and maintain quality perceptions. With a well chosen, memorable name, retailers can establish trust and a loyal following, which in turn means repeated business. For those who understand how store signs can influence patronage decisions and improve competitiveness in the marketplace, therefore, much effort is exerted to create advertising and marketing strategies designed to attract and retain customers.
In Issue 135 (Volume 34, Number 3, September 2018) of English Today there was an article by Blasius Achiri-Taboh entitled ‘English spelling: Adding /ʃən/ (or /ʒən/) to base-words and changing from -tion to -sion.’ The author's stated aim was to provide help for deciding the forms of these words and whether -tion or -sion was the correct ending. All the words he cited were ones that can be traced back to Latin or French. That is to say, they are Latinate words that became part of the English language either in a French form as a result of the Norman invasion in the 11th century or later as a modification of a classical form in the Renaissance period. This historical fact was not mentioned in the article. I acknowledge that the purpose of the article was to give guidelines for spelling, particularly perhaps for non-native speakers, and that it might be going too far to suggest that, if you wanted to be able to spell these words correctly, you could learn Latin and maybe French too, but it seemed to me that the author's assertions misrepresented the nature of those English words. I should like therefore to discuss certain points of the article, in the order they were presented.
As is well known, English spelling is a major problem even to native speakers. In Achiri-Taboh (2018a), I present arguments for a synchronic base-word-based rule for the spelling of shun-words, given the notoriously troubling variation in the spelling of their ending as underlined here in words like fraction, dictation, equation, and persuasion (with a t-form) and extension, collision, and expression (with an s-form). My (2018a) rule is summarized as follows:
(1) The Base-Word-Based (BWB) rule for spelling ‘shun’:
Use -tion everywhere except when X (X = any of the 7 conditions)