May 2009

David Pescovitz, “Moist, and Other Words People Dislike” (BoingBoing, May 19, 2009).

Apparently, a lot of people hate the word “moist.” They also hate “hate,” “no,” “like,” and “impossible.” This, according to an essay by Ben Zimmer of the Visual Thesaurus.

Read the rest here.

Kristi L. Gustafson, “Words We Love, Words We Hate” (Albany Times Union, May 17, 2009).

So why, exactly, do we have an aversion to some words, while others make our tongues (and minds) happy?

“These reactions hinge on a combination of phonological and semantic factors,” says Ben Zimmer, executive producer of the Visual Thesaurus, a Web-based, interactive dictionary and thesaurus. “The word moist may trigger negative reactions, but not rhyming words like hoist or joist.”

Read the rest here. (Related Word Routes column)

Interview on WFAE’s “Charlotte Talks” about how electronic communication is affecting the language. (Show page, audio)