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There's a new game in town. Actually, there are a number of new games, all of them about words. They give you an opportunity to test your language skills and aptitude, as well as to advance the cause of science. The games are GWAPs, that is, games with a purpose, and they help researchers develop valuable training data for getting computers to process language the way humans do, only better and faster.
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It's been about three months since I started my job as a teaching assistant at the University of Pittsburgh. Since doing so, I've not just left behind Brooklyn for the 'Burgh, and "Fuhgedaboutit" for "Yinz want some food?"; I've also adapted my vocabulary, too. The words I use in my classroom now are different from when I taught high school. This is a challenge, and one I've been interested to watch my students — all first-semester freshmen — take on, as well.
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Earlier this week, an article in the Guardian
reported that "an eminent former editor of the Oxford English Dictionary covertly deleted thousands of words because of their foreign origins and bizarrely blamed previous editors." But it turns out that this seemingly sensational story is "completely bogus," according to OED editor at large Jesse Sheidlower. Read Sheidlower's explanation on The New Yorker's Culture Desk blog here
. (Update, 12/3
: Our own Ben Zimmer has a column about the pseudo-controversy on the New York Times op/ed page