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Galumphing? It’s a perfectly cromulent word

Children’s author Lil Chase compiled a list of her favorite made-up words in the Guardian today. What’s interesting is how many of the words, invented fancifully by literary wordsmiths, have simply become normal English words. ‘Muggle,’ from J.K. Rowling, now is used not only to mean “a non-magical person,” but more widely as being a… [read full post]

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CNN Linguist cringes at 2010’s portmanteaus

Linguist Robert Beard (the author of The 100 Most Beautiful Words in English, which I’ve heard is a bit prejudiced against the Anglo-Saxon) complains in CNN’s 2010 Year in Review that his sacred English Language took another “fresh beating” this year, discussing the prevalence of new portmanteau words. New words and constructions like “Obamacare,” “WikiLeaks,” “lamestream,”… [read full post]

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26 Portmanteaus in a new book

There’s a new book celebrating the art of combining two words into a new word: Portmanteau A-Z: An Alphabet of Portmanteau Words by Rebecca May (Merrell Publishers, $14.95.) It’s hardly encyclopedic, she only chooses 26 words. But Lewis Carroll is credited and discussed in the introduction, and Jabberwocky is quoted at the beginning. Among the words… [read full post]

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Alice Miniseries on the Syfy Channel, December 6th-7th

If you haven’t heard the hype, Syfy is rolling out a hot new four-hour miniseries inspired by Lewis Carroll’s Alice books, this coming Sunday and Monday evenings starting at 9pm. (Syfy used to be called the Sci Fi Channel, and this rebranding is being boycotted by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and Slate as an “unsupportable offense… [read full post]

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Portmanteaus on This American Life

Lewis Carroll was not mentioned by name, nor was the word ‘portmanteau’ ever dropped, but Humpty Dumpty’s spirit lurked around the September 13th, 2009, episode of This American Life (#389 Frenemies). Starting at 29:45 in the episode, Ira Glass interviews lexicographer Erin McKean, whom he had asked to research the word ‘frenemy’. She found the… [read full post]

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