Archive for Neologisms

You can you up

In "Chinglish in English?", we examined the expression "no zuo no die" and came to the conclusion that, no matter what it might mean, it has not — as has been claimed by devotees of Chinglish — become a part of English vocabulary; it has not even become a part of English slang.

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments (26)

A current neologism in Taiwan

Michael Cannings sent in this photograph taken outside Taiwan's parliament, which has been occupied by students for three days and is now surrounded by demonstrators:

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments (3)

Getting worked up over "twerk"

Perfect lexicographical storms don't come along like this very often. On Sunday night, Miley Cyrus egregiously "twerked" at MTV's Video Music Awards, in a performance that quickly became National Conversation #1 (even outpacing Syria). About 48 hours later, Oxford Dictionaries announced its quarterly update of new words — with the Associated Press and others trumpeting the news far and wide — and lo and behold, there was twerk, defined as a verb meaning "dance to popular music in a sexually provocative manner involving thrusting hip movements and a low, squatting stance."

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments (26)

X-iversaries everywhere

Here are two anniversarial tweets that appeared Friday evening. The first is from the WhiteHouse.gov Technology account, celebrating the anniversary of the release of the source code for We the People:

The second is from Chris Messina, a.k.a. the hashtag godfather, on the occasion of the sixth anniversary of his proposal of the hashtag convention on Twitter:

(Messina didn't actually coin hashtag on that fateful day in 2007 — that was done a few days later by Stowe Boyd, another early Twitter adopter. See the Spring 2013 installment of "Among the New Words" in American Speech [pdf], which I co-wrote with Charles Carson, as well as Boyd's own recent post on the subject.)

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments (9)

Ungelivable

The fabrication of "taikonaut" is not the first time that an attempt has been made to insert a made-up Chinglish word into English.  There have been a number of such instances in recent years.  A particularly notorious one that I recall is the case of bùgěilì 不给力 ("ungelivable", lamer variant "ungeliable").  Bùgěilì 不给力 is the antonym of gěilì 给力 ("astonishing, powerful, fantastic, cool, awesome, exciting, effective, enhancing").  The wide range of meanings and nuances for gěilì 给力 does not bode well for an easy translation of its opposite, bùgěilì 不给力, into other languages.  I shall return to the meaning and translation of bùgěilì 不给力 below.  But first let's take a closer look at gěilì 给力.

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments (14)