Now that Yooper has entered the Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary (which joins American Heritage Dictionary in considering it a worthy word), it’s fitting that some of the other vocabulary words of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan should enter the language as well. Eight years of living in the U.P.
The assassin’s shot that sparked "the war to end all wars” was fired 100 years ago in June, and four years of fighting gave rise, as wars tend to do, to many words that have stuck with us: shell shock, cushy, tank, trench coat, ack-ack, and more.
The American Dialect Society and the Linguistic Society of America will set up shop at the Minneapolis Hilton next week and discuss some fascinating minutiae in language. Members of the ADS will start with a talk Thursday on "The Canadian short vowels in motion" and end on Saturday with "Regional differences in tolerance for contraction." LSA members can hear about such topics as "The bilabial trill in Port Sandwich (Vanuatu) in 1774."
When a word is hyphenated across lines of text, the break traditionally comes at a syllable boundary. Most dictionaries indicate these breaks with a symbol, usually a boldface, centered bullet (•). This symbol indicates potential break points: some dictionaries show all syllable breaks; others show only those allowed by conventional style standards. (For example, most style guides dictate that a single letter cannot be stranded.)