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Language and Covid

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There have been several articles on popular websites referring to language creativity and Covid.  The following is interesting in many ways:


Key points I take from this are:

- there is creativity in recombining for new contexts (e.g. "quarantine and chill" repurposing "netflix and chill" although the latter seems to have a sexual implication that the former might not have)

- there seems to be a tendency to form abbreviations like WFH

- the metaphors used like "a war" are consequential and perhaps both reflect how people are thinking about the pandemic and how they may react to it.  There is perhaps a key role for politicians to think carefully about how these are used.  It was, for example, pernicious for so many allies of Johnson to say he would survive Covid because he was a fighter.  How does this make relatives of people who did not survive feel?

- the links between cultures and the forms used are clear - e.g. there seems to be a trend for Australian English to shorten words.  Presumably there are many more specific examples of creativity in smaller cultures.

I also read the following article about the way that new terms are being created in Welsh:


It seems telling that the writer refers to a term being "rather lengthy" in Welsh when the English is hardly shorter. 

Perhaps the most important point is that in the last paragraph where the Welsh language commissioner warns that Welsh speaking patients could be at risk if they are not able to use their own language.

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Lexical distance of European languages

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Edited by Patrick Andrews, Wednesday, 24 Feb 2016, 16:18

I find this diagram about the lexical distance between European languages intriguing:


It seems to show English as being close to French in terms of lexis (which I would expect) although it belongs to the Germanic rather than Romance sub group.

Permalink 6 comments (latest comment by Patrick Andrews, Thursday, 25 Feb 2016, 17:10)
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