Here, belatedly, is a link to the New York Times review of the new Romanian film “Police, Adjective” : "a story of law enforcement with a special interest in grammar. Its climactic scene is not a chase or a shootout, but rather a tense, suspenseful session of dictionary reading." You have to join to read Times stories but membership is free. (Credit the movie still to Marius Panduru/IFC Films.)
Catchword, a naming company (wow, what a concept), has identified the 10 biggest dot-com naming trends of the decade-- and their picks for best and worst examples. Check out the story at http://search.sys-con.com/node/1229917 or the full version at http://tinyurl.com/yamx72w. (The company has no relation to the DSNA singing group.)
If you're attending the Modern Language Association conference in Philadelphia this month, why not attend session 179 on Monday, 28 December 2009. Arranged by the Discussion Group on Lexicography, the broad topic "Samuel Johnson’s Tercentenary" features three papers on aesthetics, Scottish printers and physics! The session will be at 10:15–11:30 a.m., in Independence Salon III, Philadelphia Marriott. For more info on the conference, visit http://www.mla.org/. (Dr. Johnson never visited Philadelphia. In one of Lillian de la Torre's "Dr. Sam: Johnson Detector" stories, however, he does meet Benjamin Franklin in London; in fact, Johnson impersonates Franklin to help the latter escape from British government agents.)
The Barona Cultural Center and Museum in Lakeside, California is currently presenting an exhibit entitled "More Than Words: 'Iipay Aa Tiipay Aa Uumall, The Barona Inter-Tribal Dictionary." The exhibit highlights the first publication of Barona Museum Press, the 696-page Barona Inter-Tribal Dictionary. According to the museum's website, "The Barona people suffered severe language loss through the mission system, boarding schools, urbanization, and assimilation projects. This exhibition features the Museum programs dedicated to cultural preservation and revitalization including the new Language Preservation Program. The exhibition traces the history of the Pai branch of the Yman languages, and gives comparisons on Hokan language in a worldwide context." For more information on the exhibit, visit the San Diego Visitors Bureau at http://www.sandiego.org/event/Visitors/6369; the museum's website (under construction) is http://www.baronamuseum.org/. (The picture shows Barona Tribal Chairman Edwin “Thorpe” Romero, Barona Tribal Councilwoman Beth Glasco, Larry Echo Hawk of the BIA and Barona Tribal Councilmember Charles “Beaver” Curo.)
Jack Lynch's new book on the prescriptivist v. descriptivist schools of language description, The Lexicographer's Dilemma, gets an enthusiastic review from the Washington Post: http://tinyurl.com/yj86rod. And it gets a positive mention from the Boston Globe, http://tinyurl.com/ybw2kck in a listing of new language books for the holidays.
Year-end tributes to popular words and neologisms continue with this press release from Dictionary.com: http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/dictionarycom-reveals-its-top-searched-words-of-2009-78208067.html. Listing the words that its users most often looked up in 2009, as well as gainers, losers and most often misspelled words, the release suggests that these searches reflect "insights and trends." My graduate students, however, point out that searches often reflect classroom assignments ("Don't ask me how to spell the word, Jimmy, look it up!").
So what are elementary school students studying these days? Monty Python's Flying Circus? Ben Zimmer's commentary today on the Visual Thesaurus (http://www.visualthesaurus.com/) includes a gratifying link to the Cheese Shop sketch--which, he notes, is the only reason most of us know the word "esurient" in the first place.