The Scots Language

A lecture in Scots about the history of the Scots language.

“As there are no universally accepted criteria for distinguishing a language from a dialect, scholars and other interested parties often disagree about the linguistic, historical and social status of Scots and particularly its relationship to English. Although a number of paradigms for distinguishing between languages and dialects do exist, these often render contradictory results. Broad Scots is at one end of a bipolar linguistic continuum, with Scottish Standard English at the other. Scots is often regarded as one of the ancient varieties of English, yet it has its own distinct dialects.Alternatively, Scots is sometimes treated as a distinct Germanic language, in the way Norwegian is closely linked to, yet distinct from, Danish.

A 2010 Scottish Government study of “public attitudes towards the Scots language” found that 64% of respondents (around 1,000 individuals being a representative sample of Scotland’s adult population) “don’t really think of Scots as a language”, but it also found that “the most frequent speakers are least likely to agree that it is not a language (58%) and those never speaking Scots most likely to do so (72%)”

(Quote from Wikipedia)

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The Power of Language

In this video, we explore the incredible power of language—written, spoken and performed. First, meet the creator of Game of Throne’s Dothraki, then discover the curious etymology behind Pokémon and finally, meet a teenager reviving the ancient language of Quechua through pop music.

A video from Great Big Story, a global media company devoted to cinematic storytelling.

Word of the Year: Behind the Scenes

How did the Merriam-Webster Dictionary choose surreal as their Word of the Year for 2016? Peter Sokolowski explains the data behind their decisions, and what that tells us about what people were thinking this year.

Surreal is Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Year because it was looked up significantly more frequently by users in 2016 than it was in previous years, and because there were multiple occasions on which this word was the one clearly driving people to their dictionary.
Read more over here on Merriam-Webster’s most excellent blog.

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The Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year 2016 is post-truth – an adjective defined as ‘relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief’. Their blog is really worthwhile checking out as well.

Oxford Dictionaries presents the Word of the Year for 2016, as well as the shortlisted words adulting, alt-right, Brexiteer, chatbot, coulrophobia, glass cliff, hygge, Latinx, and woke. Script provided by guest writer and cultural commentator Neil Midgley.

The Sideways dictionary

The Sideways dictionary is like a dictionary, but using analogies instead of definitions. Use it as a tool for finding and sharing helpful analogies to explain technology. Because if everyone understands technology better, we can make technology work better for everyone.

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Video: How to write an analogy: Simplifying complicated technology concepts with Sideways Dictionary

Sideways Dictionary is a collection of witty analogies that help explain complex technology terms. Different analogies can be perfect to different people, so you can add your own—the quirkier and more personal, the better—and vote for the ones you find most helpful.

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Sideways Dictionary is a project by The Washington Post and Jigsaw

How to Use the Hyphen, En Dash, and Em Dash

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The differences between the hyphen (-), the en dash (–), and the em dash (—) can be confusing. Comma Queen Mary Norris from The New Yorker clarifies the difference in a video from her wonderful Youtube channel.

Mary Norris began working at The New Yorker in 1978 and was a query proofreader at the magazine for twenty-four years. She has written for The Talk of the Town and for newyorker.com, on topics ranging from her cousin Dennis Kucinich to mud wrestling in Rockaway. She is best known for her pieces on pencils and punctuation. Her book, “Between You and Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen” (Norton), is now available in paperback.

Related article — The Chicago Manual of Style: Hyphens, En Dashes, Em Dashes

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Keyboard shortcuts for hyphens and dashes

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When to use “me”, “myself” and “I”

When to use %22me%22, %22myself%22 and %22I%22

Me, myself, and I. You may be tempted to use these words interchangeably, because they all refer to the same thing. But in fact, each one has a specific role in a sentence: ‘I’ is a subject pronoun, ‘me’ is an object pronoun, and ‘myself’ is a reflexive or intensive pronoun. Emma Bryce explains what each role reveals about where each word belongs.


Lesson by Emma Bryce, animation by Karrot Animation.

Confessions of an Idiom

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Something funny to start the working week — Everyone has Skeletons in their Closet but what happens if one day the Elephant in the Room decides to make the Skeleton in the Closet bring the truth to light? The Skeleton isn’t one to confess to his crimes so easily. Mayhem ensues in this power struggle with a world full of idioms.

Confessions of an Idiom

This film was done by Amanda Koh and Mollie Helms at Ringling College of Art + Design. If you have any questions, feel free to visit their website at amkoh.com

Confessions of an Idiom

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