Chicago Sun-Times, “What You Say Depends on Where You Say It”

January 12, 2014

Lynn Sweet, “What You Say Depends on Where You Say It” (Chicago Sun-Times, Jan. 12, 2014)

I was on a fun segment on regionalisms recently on MSNBC’s “Up with Steve Kornacki” with, among others, Ben Zimmer, the chair of the New Words Committee of the American Dialect Society. …
Zimmer’s American Dialect Society proclaimed its word of the year on Jan. 3 with the runaway winner . . .this will surprise you, I bet: “because,” with 127 votes.
Because beat out Obamacare with 39 votes; slash with 21; selfie with 20 and twerk claiming only 7. Why did the oldie win?
Zimmer said “because” was breaking new grammatical ground — and being used in new ways with nouns and adjectives. One example, “Because awesome.”
Politically, Obamacare got its start as sneering shorthand, used by President Barack Obama’s critics instead of the official Affordable Care Act.
For a long time, the Obama team wouldn’t go near Obamacare, but once the key component of the ACA was upheld by the Supreme Court, Obamacare was embraced by Democrats, putting it on the road to rehabilitation.
The term, according to the dialect society “has moved from pejorative to matter-of-fact shorthand.”

Read the rest here.

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