Category: linguistic reclamation

Episode 294: Trademarks and Slurs (featuring Simon Tam)

Freedom of expression is again in the news.

Simon Tam has won his case before the US Supreme Court, allowing him to trademark the name of his all-Asian rock band, the Slants. But this ruling opens the door to people who want to trademark other offensive names — or hold on to existing ones. Is that okay? How do we distinguish between reclamation and vilification?

Linguist Daniel Midgley talks it over with Simon Tam on this episode of Talk the Talk.


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Promo with Kylie Sturgess


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Episode 294: Trademarks and Slurs

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Show notes

Abraham Lincoln’s Bixby Letter Mystery Finally Solved After 150 Years
http://www.newsweek.com/abraham-lincoln-bixby-letter-john-hay-jk-rowling-639788

Abe Lincoln mystery ‘almost certainly’ solved using technique that unmasked JK Rowling
https://phys.org/news/2017-07-abe-lincoln-mystery-technique-unmasked.html

Joe Nickell’s analysis
Google Books link

Great slides from Andrea Nini
https://niniandrea.files.wordpress.com/2016/12/lss_bixby.pdf

Paper: Attributing the Bixby Letter using n-gram tracing
https://www.dropbox.com/s/yifszl1aes2ovqx/BIXBY_FINAL.pdf?dl=0

The Slants’ Simon Tam Wins Supreme Court Case to Trademark Offensive Band Name
https://www.pastemagazine.com/articles/2017/06/the-slants-win-lawsuit-to-keep-offensive-name.html

Supreme Court: Rejecting trademarks that ‘disparage’ others violates the First Amendment
https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/courts_law/supreme-court-rejecting-trademarks-that-disparage-others-violates-the-first-amendment/2017/06/19/26a33ffa-23b3-11e7-a1b3-faff0034e2de_story.html

An indie rock band just cleared the way for the Washington Redskins to keep their racist name
https://qz.com/1009567/the-washington-redskins-could-keep-their-racist-name-thanks-to-a-supreme-court-ruling-over-an-asian-american-rock-band/

Rock band The Slants’ victory in court secures your rights
http://edition.cnn.com/2017/06/19/opinions/free-speech-scotus-randazza-opinion/index.html

Listen to The Slants: The Band Who Must Not Be Named
http://www.theslants.com/album/the-band-who-must-not-be-named/

Seattle band Thunderpussy awaits Supreme Court ruling on controversial names
http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/northwest/thunderpussy-disparaging-or-empowering-seattle-band-awaits-us-supreme-court-ruling-on-controversial-names/

Facebook community standards under scrutiny as out and proud ‘dykes’ banned
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-07-06/facebook-banning-algorithims-block-lesbians-from-using-dyke/8676284

Richard Dawkins deplatformed at a book talk in Berkeley for “abusive speech” about Islam on Twitter
https://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2017/07/21/richard-dawkins-deplatformed-at-a-book-talk-berkeley-for-abusive-speech-about-islam-on-twitter/

Richard Dawkins’ Open Letter to the People Who Canceled His Event
http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2017/07/21/richard-dawkins-open-letter-to-the-people-who-canceled-his-event/

Organizations have the right to not invite Richard Dawkins — or me — to speak
https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2017/07/22/organizations-have-the-right-to-not-invite-richard-dawkins-or-me-to-speak/#ixzz4nnYh6vCg

‘Disinvite’ or ‘Uninvite’?
https://www.merriam-webster.com/words-at-play/disinvite-vs-uninvite


Show tunes

Find the tracks we play on the RTRFM webpage for this episode.

Image credit: Simon Tam

Episode 282: Why Subject First? (featuring Hedvig Skirgård)

This episode going to love you are!

Here’s a linguistic puzzle: Why does “I like you” sound okay, but “Like you I” sounds weird and Yoda-ish? Well, that’s just how English rolls: subjects come first. But surprisingly, most other human languages put their subjects first, too. But why?

Ben, Daniel, and Hedvig get structural on this episode of Talk the Talk.


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Promo with Kylie Sturgess


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Cutting Room Floor 282: Why Subject First? (featuring Hedvig Skirgård) coming soon

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Show notes

Hedvig’s blog: Humans Who Read Grammars
http://humans-who-read-grammars.blogspot.com

Sarcasm looks the same in the brain whether it’s words or emoji
https://www.sciencenews.org/article/sarcasm-looks-same-brain-whether-its-words-or-emoji

Smiley Lore 🙂
https://www.cs.cmu.edu/~sef/sefSmiley.htm

Gender-neutral emoji approved for 2017
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/2017/03/28/gender-neutral-emoji-approved-2017/

10 Important Conversations We Can Finally Have With the 69 New Emojis Just Announced
http://www.eonline.com/news/839141/10-important-conversations-we-can-finally-have-with-the-69-new-emojis-just-announced

This Year’s New Emoji Include a Hedgehog, Barf, and Brain, and, Yes, Finally, a Merman
http://nymag.com/selectall/2017/03/these-69-new-emoji-might-be-coming-to-your-phone-soon.html

Final 2017 Emoji List
http://blog.emojipedia.org/final-2017-emoji-list/

Reply All: #69 Disappeared (about YAAAS)
https://gimletmedia.com/episode/69-disappeared/

Feature 81A: Order of Subject, Object and Verb
http://wals.info/feature/81A#1/18/153

How to Understand the Deep Structures of Language
https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-to-understand-the-deep-structures-of-language/

Charades reveals a universal sentence structure
https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn14228-charades-reveals-a-universal-sentence-structure/

At the origin of language structure
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/08/150827083532.htm

Charades does not reveal a universal sentence structure II
http://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=326

Why are some word orders more common than others? A uniform information density account
http://papers.nips.cc/paper/4085-why-are-some-word-orders-more-common-than-others-a-uniform-information-density-account.pdf

Political correctness: how the right invented a phantom enemy
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/nov/30/political-correctness-how-the-right-invented-phantom-enemy-donald-trump


Show tunes

Find the tracks we play on the RTRFM webpage for this episode.

Image credit: http://wals.info/feature/81A#2/18.0/151.5

Episode 208: Bogan Linguistics (featuring Roz Rowen)

Are you, or have you ever been a bogan?

Bogan English doesn’t get a lot of respect, but one linguist is transcending social boundaries to bring Bogan Linguistics to the world.

Linguist Roz Rowen cracks a tinny with Daniel Midgley on this episode of Talk the Talk.


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Promo with Em Burrows


Show notes

Language and Identity in Australia
http://www.convictcreations.com/research/languageidentity.html

Emoji Report Part II: Which is the most popular emoji in your language?
http://swiftkey.com/en/blog/emoji-report-part-ii-which-is-most-popular-emoji-in-your-language/

Linguists launch war of words on emoji as a language debate
http://www.news.com.au/technology/linguists-launch-war-of-words-on-emoji-as-a-language-debate/story-e6frfrnr-1227363153794

Sorry, Emoji Doesn’t Make You Dumber
https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/language-in-the-mind/201506/sorry-emoji-doesnt-make-you-dumber

In Defense Of ‘Textspeak’: A Socio-Linguist Says Emojis And LOLs Are Modernizing English
http://www.wpr.org/defense-textspeak-socio-linguist-says-emojis-and-lols-are-modernizing-english

Library to get new Latin motto after officials realize original’s double-meaning
http://www.startribune.com/new-motto-to-replace-library-s-lost-in-translation-original/306124321/

Sydney Uni calls time on 150-year Latin love affair
http://www.smh.com.au/national/education/sydney-uni-calls-time-on-150year-latin-love-affair-20100216-o8zk.html

Daily Derp: Vermont’s New State Motto Is in Latin – Conservatives Bash Latinos
http://www.ifyouonlynews.com/politics/daily-derp-vermonts-new-state-motto-is-in-latin-conservatives-bash-latinos-screenshots/

Take our word for it: the Aussie ‘bogan’ is in
http://www.couriermail.com.au/questnews/east/take-our-word-for-it-the-aussie-bogan-is-in/story-fni9r0lo-1226763717481

Budju – Pole Top Rescue
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iZSBPMJP_00

Tony Abbott confronts Cabinet over leaks on national security split; says discussion was ‘come to Jesus moment’
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-06-02/abbott-confronts-cabinet-colleagues-over-leaks/6515170

Extraordinarily detailed leak from Cabinet challenges PM’s authority despite backbench support
http://www.abc.net.au/7.30/content/2015/s4246599.htm

First Dog on the Moon: The leaks! The lies! The whole nation is doing its nut!
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/jun/05/the-leaks-the-lies-the-whole-nation-is-doing-its-nut

Barry Popik: “Come-to-Jesus” Meeting
http://www.barrypopik.com/index.php/new_york_city/entry/come_to_jesus_meeting/

WordWizard: come-to-Jesus moment
http://www.wordwizard.com/phpbb3/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=22599

UD: come-to-Jesus moment
http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=come-to-Jesus+moment

Forbes: ‘Come To Jesus Moment’ Is The Most Annoying Business Expression On Earth
http://www.forbes.com/sites/brettnelson/2013/04/03/come-to-jesus-moment-is-the-most-annoying-business-expression-on-earth/


Show tunes

Find the tracks we play on the RTRFM webpage for this episode.

Image credit: http://resources3.news.com.au/images/2015/02/01/1227204/105803-ab63f950-a79b-11e4-b118-fa709f5f4c7c.jpg

Episode 200: Offensive Things

Most of us try to avoid offensive language.

But as language changes, the kind of language that’s considered offensive changes as well. Are there any words you use which may have some unsavoury connotations?

Linguist Daniel Midgley watches his words on this episode of Talk the Talk.


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Promo with Ben Ainslie


Show notes

“Have you got the morbs?” Some 1880s slang that is due for a big comeback. pic.twitter.com/27pGpUVtyi
— Jason Kapalka (@jasonkapalka) February 6, 2015

Ten old words we need to start re-using immediately
http://i100.independent.co.uk/article/ten-old-words-we-need-to-start-reusing-immediately–gyB1qfylsg

56 Delightful Victorian Slang Terms You Should Be Using
http://mentalfloss.com/article/53529/56-delightful-victorian-slang-terms-you-should-be-using

Are you a sauce box? 83 old slang phrases and their meanings
https://twitter.com/curiositydotcom/status/576459215549534208

University of Glasgow publishes online thesaurus featuring 800,000 words
http://www.eveningtimes.co.uk/news/u/university-of-glasgow-publishes-online-thesaurus-featuring-800000-words.1421325122

The Historical Thesaurus of English
http://historicalthesaurus.arts.gla.ac.uk

Terms for “inferior person”
http://historicalthesaurus.arts.gla.ac.uk/category/?id=124716&qsearch=person&word=person&page=1

Terms for “drunk”
http://historicalthesaurus.arts.gla.ac.uk/category/?id=46961&qsearch=drunk&word=drunk&page=1

An explainer of common gang expressions such as “cool” and “pot,” from this day in 1958. http://t.co/F7WPHOCR8Z pic.twitter.com/fE4P6Jxfkt
— NYT Archives (@NYTArchives) March 24, 2015

Communication Problems in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder
http://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/voice/pages/communication-problems-in-children-with-autism-spectrum-disorder.aspx

A New Look at Language Delay in Children With Autism
http://www.utexas.edu/news/2015/04/02/language-delay-autism/

Brain Imaging Explains Reason for Good and Poor Language Outcomes in ASD Toddlers
https://health.ucsd.edu/news/releases/Pages/2015-04-09-brain-imaging-and-language-skills-in-ASD-toddlers.aspx

How to Express Possessives and Pronouns in American Sign Language
http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/how-to-express-possessives-and-pronouns-in-sign-la.html

The Fruit With the World’s Most Racist Name
http://kitchenette.jezebel.com/the-fruit-with-the-worlds-most-racist-name-1599294613/+Ubertrout

Etymoline: kaffir
http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=kaffir

Seven words you didn’t know were racist
http://www.dailylife.com.au/news-and-views/dl-opinion/seven-words-you-didnt-know-were-racist-20150121-12v2cv.html

Dairy Farmers: Coon cheese – Our history
http://www.coon.com.au

Coon’s patent
http://www.freepatentsonline.com/1579196.pdf

Coon cheese is racist, says activist Stephen Hagan
http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/is-coon-cheese-really-racist/story-e6freoof-1111117595563

Redskins and chicos survive despite racist overtones
http://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/food/redskins-and-chicos-survive-despite-racist-overtones/story-fneuz8wn-1226666868983

Geoffrey Nunberg: When Slang Becomes a Slur
http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2014/06/a-linguist-on-why-redskin-is-racist-patent-overturned/373198/

When is a word a slur? One linguist argues Big Data can help tell
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/style-blog/wp/2015/04/07/when-is-a-word-a-slur-one-linguist-argues-big-data-can-help-tell/

Michael Sunderland of VICE: ​It’s Hard out Here for a Twink
http://www.vice.com/read/its-hard-out-here-for-a-twink-456

Dan Savage – Twink: The Other T-Slur
http://www.thestranger.com/blogs/slog/2015/02/24/21776160/twink-the-other-t-slur

Some historical words relating to homosexuality
http://historicalthesaurus.arts.gla.ac.uk/category/?id=57878&qsearch=gay&word=gay&page=1

Rober Shure’s Twink
http://robertshureauthor.com/robert-shure-twink-plus/

Brontosaurus is Back! New Study Finds They Aren’t Apatosaurs After All
http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/d-brief/2015/04/07/brontosaurus-is-back/

Brontosaurus, From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brontosaurus


Show tunes

Find the tracks we play on the RTRFM webpage for this episode.

Image credit: http://www.luxury-thailand-travel.com/images/Kaffir-Limes-1.JPG

Episode 143: Racial Terms

Can offensive terms be reclaimed by the people they’ve been applied to? Or are some words best left alone?

In a related issue, sports teams are facing pressure to change their racially-charged names. Should they?

Linguist Daniel Midgley looks at some touchy issues on this episode of Talk the Talk.


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Talk the Talk keeps growing to include more bits and pieces. But this time they all came together on one theme: how do we use language to refer to groups of people? Lots of words have become less taboo in recent years, but here’s a group of words that are becoming more taboo.

Rock group the Slants are having trouble trademarking their name. The Washington Redskins are under pressure to change theirs. Is there a better term than ‘feminist’? It’s all in today’s show. Also, candy.


Show notes

Prime Minister Tony Abbott is going to try repealing the law regarding racial vilification.
http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/george-brandis-to-repeal-bolt-laws-on-racial-discrimination-20131108-2x50p.html
http://www.abc.net.au/religion/articles/2012/08/13/3566446.htm

He said he would do this in a speech to the IPA back in April, along with getting rid of a lot of other things. All part of the plan, folks.
http://youtu.be/j4pA5nTr8i0?t=7m15s

The Slants

The US Patent and Trademark Office is knocking back the name of the Slants, an all-Asian band.
http://entertainment.time.com/2013/10/23/the-slants-suit-asian-american-band-goes-to-court-over-name/

Interview with Simon Tam, bassist and founder.
http://defender.smcvt.edu/?p=1802

Simon also comments on this Language Log thread.
http://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=8001

John Gumperz explained how language communities use language as a way of defining themselves as a community.
http://asalinguist.com/2011/06/16/take-two-words-we-cannot-say-except-when-we-can/

Redskins

The word isn’t often used as a compliment.
Google Ngram Viewer link

Newspapers are abandoning it.
http://www.politico.com/blogs/media/2013/10/san-francisco-chronicle-to-stop-using-redskins-176321.html

The DC City Council is against it.
http://www.wjla.com/articles/2013/11/d-c-council-to-debate-redskins-name-resolution-96424.html

The APA recommends discontinuing it.
http://www.apa.org/pi/oema/resources/indian-mascots.aspx

The full APA resolution (PDF)
http://www.apa.org/about/policy/mascots.pdf

But guess who supports it: sports fans and the team owner.
Loads of Americans support the use of ‘Redskins’
http://news.medill.northwestern.edu/chicago/news.aspx?id=224760&print=1

Money quote: ‘“Everybody protests about everything. I think we should all just forget it and have fun,” said a fan.’http://baltimore.cbslocal.com/2013/11/09/native-americans-weigh-in-on-washington-redskins-controversy/

The psychological consequences of stereotyped portrayals of Native Americans (PDF)
http://sitemaker.umich.edu/daphna.oyserman/files/frybergmarkusoysermanstone2008.pdf

A clinical psychologist speaks out.
http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2013/09/27/harmful-psychological-effects-washingtons-redskins-mascot

Eastern Washington University, my hometown uni, used to have a Native American mascot: The Savages. They ditched it in 1973, but for years, the sports center had the old logo stamped into its bricks.
http://easterneronline.com/2013/03/07/no-salvaging-savages/

The Utah Utes use the name with the express support of the Ute Tribe.
http://www.deseretnews.com/article/600160110/U-officially-files-appeal-on-Utes-nickname.html

The N-word

If they can say it, it doesn’t follow that everyone can.
http://www.personal.psu.edu/ejp10/blogs/thinking/2010/08/can-a-white-person-ever-legiti.html

But why not? Christopher Hitchens explains.
http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/fighting_words/2006/12/eschew_the_taboo.html

Beat poet Julian Curry is not a fan of the n-word, even as reclamation.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wD-UpHlB9no

Genderism

Joss Whedon’s speech at Equality Now, in which he recommends genderism over feminism
http://jezebel.com/watch-joss-whedon-make-the-perfect-speech-about-the-wor-1460080685

The term is currently in use, though.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genderism


Show tunes

‘Ongaku’ by Señor Coconut
from the album Yellow Fever!

‘Red Dust’ by Calexico + Iron and Wine
from the album In the Reins

Episode 50: SlutWalk (featuring Beth Castieau)

SlutWalk is hitting Perth this week to raise awareness of the tendency to blame the victims of sexual assault.

And the word slut is making even some participants uncomfortable. What’s behind the term? Where does it come from, and can it be reclaimed?

We’re joined by SlutWalk organiser Beth Castieau on this episode of Talk the Talk.


Listen to this episode

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Show notes

SlutWalk Perth
http://www.facebook.com/SlutWalkPerth

The origins of SlutWalk
http://www.blogto.com/city/2011/03/the_origins_of_slutwalk_toronto/
http://www.smh.com.au/victoria/a-rally-to-find-the-slut-in-everyone-20110528-1f9w3.html

It’s already happened in Sydney:
http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/slutwalk-turns-apathy-into-action-on-sex-attacks-20110612-1fzaf.html?from=smh_sb

Where does the word come from?
http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=slut

It’s not just Toronto police blaming women for rape. Islamic muftis have been into it for years. Uncovered meat, anyone?
http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/nation/muslim-leader-blames-women-for-sex-attacks/story-e6frg6nf-1111112419114

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