Cancel culture, cleanskin, hedonometer … I’m not sure I like any of Macquarie Dictionary’s words of the year



‘Cancel culture’ has been nominated Word of the Year by The Macquarie Dictionary, for reflecting the zeitgeist.
Wes Mountain/The Conversation, CC BY-ND

Roslyn Petelin, The University of Queensland

How many of these words, shortlisted by The Macquarie Dictionary in its search for the 2019 Word of the Year, have you used? Anecdata, big minutes, cancel culture, cheese slaw, cleanskin, drought lot, eco-anxiety, flight shaming, healthwashing, hedonometer, mukbang, ngangkari, robodebt, silkpunk, thicc, and whataboutism?

I confess the only one on this list (whittled down from 75 words), that has passed my lips has been “cleanskin”, but I wasn’t referring to someone with no tattoos – the new definition.

I may not have used these shortlisted words, but I have certainly experienced the effect of some of them and can appreciate the value of others. (“Whataboutism”, for instance, a technique used “in responding to an accusation, criticism or difficult question in which an opposing accusation or criticism is raised”, will come in very handy when describing many politicians. )

I doubt, though, whether I’ll be able to remember and use many of these words, colourful and tinged with negativity as many are.




Read more:
When we needed a new word, Twitter gave us ‘milkshake duck’


The Macquarie Dictionary committee has chosen “cancel culture” as its Word of the Year. The term is used to describe community attitudes that

…call for or bring about the withdrawal of support from [for] a public figure, such as cancellation of an acting role, a ban on playing an artist’s music, removal from social media, etc., usually in response to an accusation of a socially unacceptable action or comment by the figure.

Unfortunately, there have been any number of recent examples in Australia of ostracism through “cancel culture”, whose cases have progressed to the courts. I hesitate to mention Geoffrey Rush here.




Read more:
Tarantino has a questionable record in the #MeToo context, so should we boycott his new film?


‘The zeitgeist’

The committee chose “cancel culture” because it believes the term “captures an important aspect of the past year’s zeitgeist”.

In looking over the list, I’m not sure that I like any of these words. I think a couple of them are ridiculous, in particular “hedonometer”, an algorithm using language data from Twitter to analyse levels of happiness.

To qualify as Macquarie’s word of the year, a word must be newly added to the dictionary in that year or, as is the case with “cleanskin”, an old word with an additional new meaning.

Macquarie points out that it differs from other dictionaries, as some simply choose the most common word being searched, or most topical word, regardless of its status as “new”. The people at Cambridge Dictionary, which chose “upcycling” for 2019, relied on their Instagram account to make the call.

If the Macquarie committee had done this, its 2019 Word of the Year would have been “cheese slaw” (a salad of grated carrot, grated cheese, and mayonnaise), which it admits would have been a “niche and controversial” choice.

Macquarie has posted a photo on its website of a cheese slaw (stuffed into a sandwich), as well as an equally unappetising photo of a companion food word “mukbang”. A mukbang, by the way, describes a live online broadcast in which someone eats, often a large amount, while simultaneously speaking to their audience.

Criteria apart from “new” for Macquarie appear to be that a word is ubiquitous, timely, influential, and makes a valuable contribution to Australian English. So, does “cancel culture” qualify? Kind of.

Macquarie sorts the year’s new words into 15 categories, and one could spend an enjoyable time and several hours cruising through them: agriculture, arts, business, communications, eating and drinking, environment, fashion, health, politics, sport, and technology.

ngangkari and thicc

Two of the most interesting new additions – both runners-up as word of the year (along with eco-anxiety) – are “ngangkari”, adopted unaltered from Pitjantjatjara, for an Indigenous practitioner of bush medicine, and “thicc” from African American English, which “celebrates body positivity that does not conform to conventional white standards of beauty”.

The environment figures strongly in this year’s shortlist, in “eco-anxiety”, “flight shaming”, and “drought lot”. Still, the folk at Collins Dictionary named their Word of the Year for 2019 as “climate strike”. The Oxford Dictionary chose “climate emergency” as its Word of the Year.




Read more:
Why declaring a national climate emergency would neither be realistic or effective


Flight shaming is an anti-flying movement that originated in Sweden last year, which encourages people to stop taking flights to lower carbon emissions.
shutterstock

The Macquarie Committee has now opened the voting for People’s Choice Word of the Year 2019. Only once in the past five years has the committee’s and the people’s choice aligned. In 2015, “captain’s call” won both categories.

You may wonder why the competition is even called “word of the year” when it comprises two words, or even three. In 2016 the people’s choice was “halal snack pack”. As the website points out, it’s the lexical unit of meaning that the committee considers, what’s called the “headword” in a dictionary.

In the meantime, if you are interested in chasing up the Macquarie shortlist and maybe voting, you have until midnight on Sunday December 8 to do so.The Conversation

Roslyn Petelin, Course coordinator, The University of Queensland

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year: Toxic


The links below are to articles reflecting on the Oxford Dictionaries 2018 Word of the Year – toxic.

For more visit:
https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/word-of-the-year/word-of-the-year-2018
https://www.npr.org/2018/11/15/668041894/toxic-is-oxford-dictionaries-word-of-2018
https://bookriot.com/2018/11/15/toxic-2018-oxford-english-dictionary-word/

When we needed a new word, Twitter gave us ‘milkshake duck’



File 20180117 53324 pg38y5.png?ixlib=rb 1.1

Wes Mountain/The Conversation, CC BY-ND

Roslyn Petelin, The University of Queensland

What is this milkshake duck that the “whole internet loves”? “A lovely duck that drinks milkshakes”. Had anyone heard this slang term before this week, when the Macquarie Dictionary announced it as their 2017 Word of the Year? Probably not. Unless they move in certain circles on the internet. Surely this is a joke!

Indeed, the term was coined as a joke. Able to be used as both a noun and a verb, it has existed since June 12 2016 when Australian cartoonist Ben Ward tweeted it to cover a trend that he had satirised for which there wasn’t a name: a non-celebrity enjoying a viral rise overnight on the internet, followed shortly thereafter by a rapid fall after being outed on the internet because of an unsavoury act in their past. In Ward’s tweet the cuddly duck is accused of being a vicious racist.

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

There is no denying that the term is useful, but is it a totally new phenomenon of the internet age? Efforts to coin words that people wish would exist have a long history and enjoyed a particular vogue in the early 1980s before the rise of commercial internet providers.

For instance, in 1983, in The Meaning of Liff, Douglas Adams and John Lloyd compiled a “dictionary of things that there aren’t any English words for yet, based on names of places in England”. A typical example is Shoeburyness — “the vague uncomfortable feeling you get when sitting on a seat that is still warm from somebody else’s bottom”.

From obscurity to notoriety

Ward tweeted what he obviously thought was a pretty good joke about the power of social media to adulate, elevate, and then reject. What Ward didn’t expect to happen was that it would morph into a meme.

A year after Ward’s tweet the term came to the attention of Oxford Dictionaries Online, via the podcast Reply All, after a high-profile gamer, Tim Soret, was designated as a milkshake duck when it emerged that he had been involved in 2014’s notorious online sexist harassment scandal “Gamergate”. The Oxford Dictionaries Radar column of June 22 2017 noted that the usage of the term milkshake duck was rising and promised to keep an eye on it.

In the Comments column of The New Yorker, the eminent Harvard scholar Louis Menand says: “People prefer to have their neologisms boil up unbidden from the global electronic soup — like, for instance, ‘milkshake duck’.”

Menand’s comment emphasises the inarguable role of social media in the coining of new words, but he resists explaining “milkshake duck” and suggests that his readers Google it. The term is also included in the American Dialect Society’s 2017 Word of the Year list, which announced “fake news” as its winner. Interestingly, fake news, the meaning of which has changed significantly in the past year, was Macquarie’s Word of the Year for 2016.

The Macquarie committee stated in the justification for their choice of “milkshake duck” that it was a “much-needed term to describe something that we are seeing more and more of, not just on the internet but now across all types of media”.

It will be interesting to see if the term does enter the mainstream. No one whom I have spoken to since Monday had heard it used before its announcement as word of the year, but I expect it will gain some impetus with the push from Macquarie.

Sniglets and fugitives

The image of the duck is ridiculous and has no discernible connection to any real event. Its Dadaist absurdity is reminiscent of a Marx Brothers’ film or the anti-joke riddle: “What’s the difference between a duck?” “One of its legs is both the same.” It joins a long line of neologisms coined to meet a specific purpose.

In 1984, Rich Hall, a comedian whom many of us know from Stephen Fry’s QI, published a book, Sniglets, a sniglet being “any word that doesn’t appear in the dictionary, but should”.

My favourites are “mustgo” for an item that’s been in your fridge for so long that it’s a science experiment, “Xiidigitation” for the practice of trying to determine the year that a film was made by deciphering the Roman numerals at the end of the credits, and “merferator” for the cardboard cylinder inside a roll of toilet paper. There have reportedly been English classrooms where students have been encouraged to create sniglets. What a good idea!

Also in the 1980s, Barbara Wallraff created a feature, “Word Fugitives”, in The Atlantic online that capitalised on this fashion for recreational word creation. She invited readers to suggest words that they would like to see available and she and other readers would do their best to coin a new word to represent the phenomenon. For instance, is there a word for when a pet and its owner look alike?

The ConversationIn the meantime, are there any words that readers of this article can suggest are needed and that will deserve a place in the Macquarie Dictionary?

Roslyn Petelin, Associate Professor in Writing, The University of Queensland

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Article: Calibre Update


The link below is to an article that takes a look at the latest improvements to Calibre, the ebook management software. This update improves Microsoft Word ebook conversion.

For more visit:
http://www.mediabistro.com/appnewser/calibre-improves-microsoft-word-ebook-conversion-tools_b36941

Article: Draft2Digital


The link below is to an article that looks at the service ‘Draft2Digital,’ which turns Word documents into ebooks.

For more visit:
http://www.teleread.com/self-publishing/draft2digital-converts-word-documents-into-e-books-how-well-does-it-work/

Article: Publishing an Ebook from Word to Kindle


The link below is to an article that looks at publishing an ebook from Word format to Kindle.

For more visit:
http://www.thebookdesigner.com/2013/01/ed-ditto-scrivener/

Article: One Word Book Titles


The link below is to an article about books with one word titles.

For more visit:
http://www.themillions.com/2012/05/the-appeals-and-perils-of-the-one-word-book-title.html