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Moist aversion: The twitter thread

On Twitter, @muffkin7 asks readers to "Ruin a film by inserting the word 'moist' into its title". Ruin a film by inserting the word ‘moist’ into its title. — muffkin (@muffkin7) April 27, 2020 Answers include "Gone moist with the wind", "All moist about Eve", "The good, the bad, the moist, and the ugly", "Little […]

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Word rage and word aversion on Subtitle

The latest episode of the new podcast Subtitle is about "Words we love to hate". Full disclosure: Kavita Pillay interviewed me for the program, and so you can hear my voice from time to time. More later — I'm off to Washington DC for a workshop on "Digital Cognitive and Functional Biomarkers" organized by the […]

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Word aversion science

Paul Thibodeau et al., "An Exploratory Investigation of Word Aversion", COGSCI 2014: Why do people self-report an aversion to words like “moist”? The present study represents an initial scientific exploration into the phenomenon of word aversion by investigating its prevalence and cause. We find that as many as 20% of the population equates hearing the […]

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Condensation and displacement in word aversion

Matthew J.X. Malady summarizes readers' comments on his Slate "word aversion" piece — "Which Words Do Slate Readers Hate?", 4/2/2013: Hundreds of commenters chimed in to report aversions keyed to words extending from apple to zesty. Among the others mentioned: foyer, salad, hose, lapel, plethora, funicular, groin, nostril, and munch. Several commenters noted an aversion […]

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Malady on Word Aversion in Slate

Matthew J.X. Malady, "Why Do We Hate Certain Words?", Slate 4/1/2013: The George Saunders story “Escape From Spiderhead,” included in his much praised new book Tenth of December, is not for the squeamish or the faint of heart. The sprawling, futuristic tale delves into several potentially unnerving topics: suicide, sex, psychotropic drugs. It includes graphic […]

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Literary moist aversion

Over the years, we've viewed the phenomenon of word aversion from several angles — a recent discussion, with links to earlier posts, can be found here. What we're calling word aversion is a feeling of intense, irrational distaste for the sound or sight of a particular word or phrase, not because its use is regarded […]

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Word aversion and attraction in the news

Language Log readers who have been following our recent posts on word aversion and word attraction will want to check out Kristi Gustafson's article in the Albany Times Union, "Words we love, words we hate," which quotes Barbara Wallraff and me on the subject. As evidence for lexical likes and dislikes, I discuss some of […]

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Moist aversion: the cartoon version

Rob Harrell's Big Top comic takes on word aversion: (Click on the image for a larger version.)

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Taiwanese resurgence

We have often experienced vexation and consternation over the future of Taiwanese / Hoklo, especially in light of what's happening to Cantonese in the PRC.  Now comes some welcome news from Ilha Formosa.  A renewal of Taiwanese has recently been spurred by a least expected source, China. Chinese Pressure Fuels an Unlikely Language Revival in […]

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Email from Julia Preseau: "The word 'masklessness' — going to surge?" She sent a couple of examples: [link] So it was that until this week, Mr. Trump’s mask aversion extended well beyond his person, echoing throughout the White House. Top aides generally eschewed them, as did those who attended meetings with the president or appeared […]

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Standardized Project Gutenberg Corpus

Martin Gerlach and Francesc Font-Clos, "A standardized Project Gutenberg corpus for statistical analysis of natural language and quantitative linguistics", arXiv 12/19/2018: The use of Project Gutenberg (PG) as a text corpus has been extremely popular in statistical analysis of language for more than 25 years. However, in contrast to other major linguistic datasets of similar […]

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Moist! Chuckle! Slacks! Dollop!

Below is a guest post from Kavita Pillay, co-host of the new Subtitle podcast. Do you hate a seemingly normal word for reasons that you can't quite pinpoint? Or, are there words that you love to say out loud? If so, the Subtitle podcast (more on us below) wants to hear from you! On Nov. […]

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Military slang

On a large discussion list, I said something that involved a lot of close, careful reasoning and marshalling of evidence to come to a precise conclusion, and another member of the list approved what I wrote with a hearty "Shack!" I was dumbfounded.

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