The Web of Language

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Dennis Baron's go-to site for language and technology in the news
Results for "April, 2013"

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  • The right donor could buy the naming rights to [Your Name Here] University of Illinois

    [Your Name Here] University: Naming Rights for Sale

    The University of Illinois has sold the naming rights to its 50-year old sports and entertainment arena to State Farm Insurance. Effective immediately and for the next 30 years, the building that has always been called Assembly Hall will be known as the State Farm® Center. State Farm will pay $60 million for its product placement coup, though the premium could go up if the company fails to maintain a B+ average.

    The State Farm Center is just a start. What about the Library? The Pearson® English Building? The Dali Professor of Horology? The Laval Center for Surrender Studies? Considering that the former Illinois governor tried to sell a Senate seat, maybe the University of Illinois could even sell a donor on the idea of putting their name on the entire school. Imagine the [Your Name Here] University of Illinois. To quote the former governor, "It's @#*!% golden!"

    With auctioning off naming rights all the rage, the Web of Language™ wants you to send in your suggestions for the most appropriately ironic names for university buildings, programs, and endowed professorships.

  • Hwaet, the first word of the Old English poem, Beowulf

    The great language change hoax

    Deniers of global warming, the big bang, and evolution have a new target: language change. Arguing that language change is just a theory, not a fact, they’re launching efforts to remove it from the school curriculum. To support their efforts, they’re citing a new report, “The Myth of Language Change,” presented last month at the annual conference of the Society for Pure English in Toronto.