The Web of Language

blog navigation

Dennis Baron's go-to site for language and technology in the news
Results for "January, 2014"

blog posts

  • John Hancock wrote the biggest and most famous signature ever

    On National Handwriting Day we celebrate handwriting because it’s no longer important

    Once again it’s National Handwriting Day. The Romans had Carve on a Clay Tablet Day, Gutenberg had Paint on Papyrus Day, we have National Handwriting Day. That’s because, while writing remains important, handwriting is an obsolete technology worth remembering only once a year.

  • Ban selfie or make it word of the year?

    Banning words for the new year

    In the spirit of New Year’s resolutions like quit smoking, lose weight, exercise more, each January brings new calls to ban words, the linguistic equivalent of losing weight. . . . Instead of learn a new word every day, the New Year’s resolution of this crowd is ban a new word every day. This year’s banned words include selfie, twerk, and hashtag.

  • DARPA TIA

    The phrase of the year for 2013 is "invasion of privacy"

    Peeping Toms, reporters, and door-to-door salesmen have always done it. The Stasi, the SAVAK, and the KGB were notorious for doing it. Photographers do it. So do hackers, identity thieves, and wearers of X-ray Specs. Employers and school principals see it as a normal part of their job. But now Google, Microsoft, Apple, Amazon, the NSA, Britain’s GCHQ, and the DGSE in France are doing it as well. And that’s why, thanks in part to Edward Snowden’s leaks, which technically invaded government privacy to expose the widespread practice of invading individual privacy, the phrase of the year for 2013 is invasion of privacy.