April 6, 1994
THE Los Angeles Times' new "Guidelines on Racial and Ethnic Identification," for its writers and editors, bans or restricts some 150 words and phrases such as "birth defect," "Chinese fire drill," "crazy," "dark continent," "stepchild," "WASP" and "to welsh."Defying such politically correct sensibilities, the Economist allows the use of variants of "he" for both males and females (as in "everyone should watch his language"), and "crippled" for disabled people.One side says that language insidiously shapes attitudes and that vigilance against subtle offense is necessary to eliminate prejudice.
November 13, 2005
"I don't understand men." 'Are men necessary by Maureen Dowd
April 15, 2013
The recent letters to the editor condemning the criticism that prompted Dr. Ben Carson to step down as the commencement speaker at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine graduation miss a critical point ("Hopkins fails test of free speech," April 12). While Dr. Carson has the absolute right to express his opinion, words have consequences. And just as it was Dr. Carson's right to speak his mind or, if he is to be believed, to misspeak it, it is also the right of the university to criticize him and the right of the student body to express their collective desire that he not speak at their graduation.
September 21, 2012
George Orwell would be proud to see his ideas vindicated this election year. What Orwell called "Newspeak" - the deliberately impoverished fictional language created by an all-powerful state in his novel "1984" - is now the full-blown language of the day. Take the words "courage" and "cowardice. " Those demonizing others while running for office have convinced us that bullying and attack, even if it leads to death, is courage, while dialogue or compromise with those who hold opposing points of view is cowardice.
June 25, 2012
For a few moments this weekend, the world thought they had a chance to go head to head with Michael Phelps -- on Words With Friends, that is. The Olympian accidentally revealed his screen name for the game, sending it out to his nearly 200,000 Twitter followers. And just like that, he had about 200,000 requests to play on the game. So many coming in every couple of seconds that he could barely touch his phone without it beeping. "I can't even hit a button on my fone because there's to many games starting...," he Tweeted on Sunday.
July 11, 2006
The Inuit have no shortage of words to describe snow and ice and whether the stuff is falling, floating or just lying around. Living near the Arctic Circle is bound to do that to a culture. But what about a people trapped in an equally hostile (if somewhat warmer) environment of personal computers, cell phones, big-box stores, avian flu, pop psychology and mass media? The effects on their vocabulary are bound to be revealing. That brings us to the nearly 100 words the folks at Merriam-Webster have decided to add for this year's update of the company's widely circulated Collegiate Dictionary.
June 17, 2000
TOMORROW, a lot of ties, shirts and socks will be presented to us dads, and we will do our level best to pretend that we are genuinely thrilled that our offspring have thought about our welfare, if only for five minutes. In addition to these presents (which, of course, were bought by wives, not children), I think that dads should be given the gift of words. By this I mean that there are certain words that a dad should hear on Father's Day. In addition, there are phrases he should be spared from hearing on his day. Two words that every dad would love to hear are "I agree."
December 2, 1998
Sight words are words your child recognizes readily without analysis. Sight word games should be geared to self-improvement rather than deciding a winner. Words can be chosen from papers your child brings home, word lists provided by the teacher or favorite books. Place these words on index cards and develop a file of sight vocabulary to use and review.For variety, try a game using words from "Make Way for Ducklings." Draw fish shapes on cardboard or index cards. Cut them out and write a word from the list on each fish.