Category:
Languages

You Know Scholarship

From Sleeping Dogs Don't Lay: Practical Advice For The Grammatically Challenged by Richard Lederer and Richard Dowis

The vacuous expression you know has been spreading (in speech, though not, thank heaven, in writing) like the most virulent cancer for decades… But it was left to Barney Oldfield, an eighty-seven-year-old retired air force colonel, to launch a vigorous campaign against you know. In 1997 Colonel Oldfield, a Nebraskan, offered a $1,000 scholarship to the Nebraska student who submitted a tape recording of a radio or television broadcast with the most you knows in fifteen minutes.
The first year’s winner was thirteen-year-old Dalton Hartman, who submitted a tape with forty-one you knows in four minutes, thirty-eight seconds. The next year, a fifth grader named Jason Rich took the prize. His tape, a twelve-minute interview with a basketball coach, had sixty-four you knows...
Colonel Oldfield has made arrangement in his estate for continuation of the contest.

Oldfield died in 2003. I can't find any evidence that the scholarship did continue after his death. This LA Times article has more info about his somewhat eccentric philanthropy.

Des Moines Register - Feb 16, 1997

Posted By: Alex - Sat Nov 10, 2018 - Comments (3)
Category: Awards, Prizes, Competitions and Contests, Languages

Prisencolinensinainciusol

From npr.org:

In November 1972, Italian pop star Adriano Celentano released a song that hit No. 1 in his home country, despite the fact it wasn't performed in Italian. It also wasn't performed in English. In fact, it wasn't performed in any language at all. The song, called "Prisencolinensinainciusol," was written to mimic the way English sounds to non-English speakers...
"Prisencolinensinainciusol" is so nonsensical that Celentano didn't even write down the lyrics, but instead improvised them over a looped beat.

Posted By: Alex - Sat Aug 11, 2018 - Comments (6)
Category: Languages, Music, 1970s

Magma’s Invented Language




Vander invented a constructed language, Kobaïan, in which most lyrics are sung. In a 1977 interview with Vander and long-time Magma vocalist Klaus Blasquiz, Blasquiz said that Kobaïan is a "phonetic language made by elements of the Slavonic and Germanic languages to be able to express some things musically. The language has of course a content, but not word by word."[1] Vander himself has said that, "When I wrote, the sounds [of Kobaïan] came naturally with it—I didn’t intellectualise the process by saying 'Ok, now I’m going to write some words in a particular language', it was really sounds that were coming at the same time as the music."[2] Later albums tell different stories set in more ancient times; however, the Kobaïan language remains an integral part of the music.


Their Wikipedia page.

Posted By: Paul - Tue Feb 27, 2018 - Comments (1)
Category: Languages, Music, 1970s, Europe, Cacophony, Dissonance, White Noise and Other Sonic Assaults

Underworld Lingo



Source: page 51 of this magazine.

Posted By: Paul - Mon Jun 12, 2017 - Comments (6)
Category: Crime, Languages, 1930s

New American Dictionary of Collegese:  1963



Here is another one of those attempts by journalist "squares" to understand the lingo of youths.

Many more entries at the link.

Posted By: Paul - Wed May 31, 2017 - Comments (5)
Category: Languages, Slang, Teenagers, 1960s

Horn OK Please



Atlas Obscura does a great job explaining the wacky phrase from India, "Horn OK Please." But they do not place the video of the song that uses the same title upfront enough for my tastes!

Posted By: Paul - Tue May 23, 2017 - Comments (1)
Category: Languages, Slang, Motor Vehicles, India

Quoz!

Quoz was the "whatever" of the 19th century.

From Charles Mackay's Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds (1841):

Many years ago the favourite phrase (for, though but a monosyllable, it was a phrase in itself) was Quoz. This odd word took the fancy of the multitude in an extraordinary degree, and very soon acquired an almost boundless meaning. When vulgar wit wished to mark its incredulity, and raise a laugh at the same time, there was no resource so sure as this popular piece of slang. When a man was asked a favour which he did not choose to grant, he marked his sense of the suitor's unparalleled presumption by exclaiming Quoz! When a mischievous urchin wished to annoy a passenger, and create mirth for his comrades, he looked him in the face, and cried out Quoz! and the exclamation never failed in its object. When a disputant was desirous of throwing a doubt upon the veracity of his opponent, and getting summarily rid of an argument which he could not overturn, he uttered the word Quoz, with a contemptuous curl of his lip and an impatient shrug of his shoulders. The universal monosyllable conveyed all his meaning, and not only told his opponent that he lied, but that he erred egregiously if he thought that any one was such a nincompoop as to believe him. Every alehouse resounded with Quoz; every street-corner was noisy with it, and every wall for miles around was chalked with it.

But, like all other earthly things, Quoz had its season, and passed away as suddenly as it arose, never again to be the pet and the idol of the populace.

Posted By: Alex - Sat Apr 15, 2017 - Comments (1)
Category: Languages, Slang, Nineteenth Century

The Backward Index

Between the 1930s and 1970s, employees at Merriam-Webster created a massive "backward index." It was a card catalog, containing all the words in its dictionary typed backwards. It eventually included around 315,000 index cards.

The reason for creating this thing was to allow the company to find words with similar endings. Such as all words ending in 'ological'. It also helped them create a rhyming dictionary.

Computers made the backward index obsolete, but it still sits in the basement of the company's headquarters.

More info: Merriam-Webster

Posted By: Alex - Tue Apr 04, 2017 - Comments (5)
Category: Languages, Collectors

Andor vs. And/Or

February 1953: The Georgia House of Representatives voted to make "andor" a legal word and directed that it should henceforth be used in place of the phrase "and/or." The House defined "andor" to mean, "either, or, both, and, and or or, and and or."

However, the Georgia Senate voted against the bill.

More info: NY Times (Feb 21, 1953)

Minneapolis Star Tribune - Feb 28, 1953



The East Liverpool (Ohio) Evening Review - Feb 26, 1953


Posted By: Alex - Wed Jan 18, 2017 - Comments (5)
Category: Languages, Law

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