Archive for ‘Language’

May 26, 2021

Zine

Factsheet Five

zine [zeen] (short for magazine or fanzine) is a small-circulation self-published work of original or appropriated texts and images, usually reproduced via a copy machine. A fanzine (blend of fan and magazine) is a non-professional and non-official publication produced by enthusiasts of a particular cultural phenomenon (such as a literary or musical genre) for the pleasure of others who share their interest.

The term ‘zine’ was coined in an 1940 science fiction fanzine by Russ Chauvenet and popularized within science fiction fandom, entering the Oxford English Dictionary in 1949. Zines have served as a medium for various subcultures, and frequently draw inspiration from a DIY ethos that disregards traditional publishing conventions.

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April 28, 2021

Jobsworth

Computer says no

jobsworth is a person who uses the (typically minor) authority of their job in a deliberately uncooperative way, or who seemingly delights in acting in an obstructive or unhelpful manner. It characterizes one who upholds petty rules even at the expense of effectiveness, efficiency, or common sense.

It is a British colloquial word derived from the phrase ‘I can’t do that, it’s more than my job’s worth,’ meaning that failing to do what is requested of them would be against what their job requires and would be likely to cause them to lose their job. English lexicographer Jonathon Green similarly it as ‘a minor factotum whose only status comes from enforcing otherwise petty regulations.’

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April 16, 2021

Simp

Archie

Simp is an Internet slang term describing someone who performs excessive sympathy and attention toward another person, typically someone who does not reciprocate the same feelings. This is usually done in pursuit of a sexual relationship.

Urban Dictionary defines a simp as ‘someone who does way too much for a person they like.’ This behavior, known as ‘simping,’ is carried out toward a variety of targets, including celebrities, politicians, e-girls, and e-boys.

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March 31, 2021

Dirtbag Left

Chapo Trap House

The dirtbag left is a style of left-wing politics that eschews civility in order to convey a left-wing populist message using subversive vulgarity.

It is most closely associated with American left-wing media that emerged in the mid-2010s, most notably the podcast ‘Chapo Trap House.’ Despite the term’s connotations, its use is not typically considered derogatory.

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March 19, 2021

Cliffhanger

Who Shot Mr. Burns

cliffhanger or cliffhanger ending is a plot device in fiction which features a main character in a precarious or difficult dilemma or confronted with a shocking revelation at the end of an episode of serialized fiction. A cliffhanger is hoped to incentivize the audience to return to see how the characters resolve the dilemma.

Cliffhangers were used as literary devices in several works of the medieval era, with ‘One Thousand and One Nights,’ the collection of Arabic folktales, ending on a cliffhanger each night.

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February 10, 2021

Jack Mormon

Jack Dempsey

Jack Mormon is a slang term originating in nineteenth-century America originally used to describe a person who was not a baptized member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints but who was friendly to church members and Mormonism, sympathized with them, and/or took an active interest in their belief system.

Sometime in the early- to mid-twentieth century, however, the term began to refer to an individual deemed by adherents of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) to be an inactive or lapsed member of the LDS Church who, despite his personal religious viewpoint, maintained good relations with and positive feelings toward the church.

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November 12, 2020

Speaking in Tongues

Agnes Ozman

Speaking in tongues, also known as glossolalia, is a practice in which people utter words or speech-like sounds that some believe to be languages unknown to the speaker.

One definition used by linguists is the fluid vocalizing of speech-like syllables that lack any readily comprehended meaning, in some cases as part of religious practice in which some believe it to be a divine language unknown to the speaker. Glossolalia is practiced in Pentecostal and charismatic Christianity as well as in other religions.

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October 16, 2020

Rotwelsch

Thieves' cant

Rotwelsch [rut-velsh] (German: ‘beggar’s foreign language’) or Gaunersprache (German: ‘crook’s language’) is a secret language, a cant or thieves’ argot, spoken by groups (primarily marginalized groups) in southern Germany and Switzerland. The language is based primarily on German.

Rotwelsch was formerly common among travelling craftspeople and vagrants. The language is built on a strong substratum of German, but contains numerous words from other languages, notably from various German dialects, including Yiddish, as well as from Romany languages, notably Sintitikes. There are also significant influences from Judeo-Latin, the ancient Jewish language spoken in the Roman Empire.

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October 14, 2020

Fool’s Errand

Blinker fluid

fool’s errand is a type of practical joke or prank where a newcomer to a group, typically in a professional context, is given an impossible or nonsensical task by older or more experienced members of the group.

Many such errands require the victim to travel some distance and request an impossible object by name; the prank will be widely known within the peer group as an in-joke, and the person they ask for the object will play along, often by sending the victim on to make the same request elsewhere. The errand is an example of a hazing ritual, through which a newcomer gains acceptance into a group.

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October 4, 2020

Jeitinho

Malandragem

Jeitinho [jay-cheen-yo] (Portuguese: ‘little way’) is finding a way to accomplish something by circumventing or bending the rules or social conventions. Most times it is harmless, made for basic ordinary opportunistic advantages, as gatecrashing a party just to get free food and beverage.

But sometimes it is used for questionable, serious violations, where an individual can use emotional resources, blackmail, family ties, promises, rewards or money to obtain (sometimes illegal) favors or to get advantage. Some claim it is a typically Brazilian method of social navigation that may derive from a general lack of resources and help. Most Brazilians have to be creative and invent new simpler ways to do things.

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August 20, 2020

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

Robert M. Pirsig

‘Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values’ (ZAMM) is a book by Robert M. Pirsig first published in 1974. It is a work of fictionalized autobiography, and is the first of Pirsig’s texts in which he explores his “Metaphysics of Quality”.

The title is an apparent play on the title of the 1948 book Zen in the Art of Archery by Eugen Herrigel. In its introduction, Pirsig explains that, despite its title, “it should in no way be associated with that great body of factual information relating to orthodox Zen Buddhist practice. It’s not very factual on motorcycles, either.”

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August 15, 2020

Karen

Central Park birdwatching incident

Karen is a pejorative term used in the United States and other English-speaking countries for a person perceived as entitled or demanding beyond the scope of what is appropriate or necessary. A common stereotype is that of a white woman who uses her privilege to demand her own way at the expense of others.

Depictions also include demanding to ‘speak to the manager,’ anti-vaccination beliefs, being racist, or sporting a particular bob cut hairstyle. As of 2020, the term was increasingly being used as a general-purpose term of disapproval for middle-aged white women.

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