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Words @ Work: The Origins of “Rock”

Note: this piece was broadcast on NJN (New Jersey Public Radio), New Hampshire Public Radio and WMUB, an NPR station in Oxford, Ohio. It was also podcast on KXCI.org, in Tucson.
What does the word rock mean? Simple enough question. But how did the term originate? Where — and why? These questions are bit more difficult to answer!

Tune in for a quick romp through the origins of the word — with Berklee College of Music professor Ken Zambello.
Click here: to listen (3:30 minutes).
(And thanks to Pam Scrutton and Planning For Elders for the “Let’s Rock and Roll” illustration!)

Posted on April 9, 2011 in Front Page, Music, Words@Work
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Has the Global Economic Crisis – or GEC – got us?

Eat Lunch or Be LunchCalling for Acronyms!
Here’s mine to start off —
The GEC — it sounds like a mix between guck, yuck, ick and eck. Like the noise you make in the back of your throat when you’re about to regurgitate, or cough up spume. And isn’t that what we’re doing now? Out comes the excess… Oh, and what about the Global Economic Meltdown, or “GEM” – with a hard g? Sounds chewy, gooey and horror-movie-ish. The GEM is on the move…
And ThoughtCast wants YOU to contribute an acronym as well!
Might as well get – if not a free lunch, then a free laugh out of all of this…

So, here’s Dale Hobson’s contribution:
“How about GRR–for Great Republican Rip-off or Global Resources Rape.
I don’t want to spit or hurl; I want to bite.” Ouch!
And here’s William’s:
I always thought “The GBR” captured it well. “The Great Brain Robbery”
Leighton says: WODD — world order down the drain
While Lee Goldberg has come up with:
Global Economic Meltdown Offers Rude Awakening – GEMORA – !!!
And Anthea Raymond gives GEC two thumbs up:
GEC works for me quite possibly because of the gagging sound evoked.
We’re in for a long slow retch on this one.”

Meanwhile, Valeria Villarroel suggested Governmental Fail (GF?)
and Barton George followed up with Worldwide Total Fail: WTF
while Helen Tan writes: “GEC sounds like the cracking of an egg!”
Hence: Giant Egg Cracking

Have we covered the whole alphabet yet?
Oh, and that GEC-monster gracing this post?
It’s a sculpture by Juan Cabana, called Stranded
Perhaps he hatched from Helen Tan’s egg!

For more acronyms — Continue Reading →

Posted on March 6, 2009 in Economics, Words@Work
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Griefer, Google Cooking and other Neologisms

This entry is part 1 of 7 in the series Neologisms

Note: This piece was broadcast on Word of Mouth on New Hampshire Public Radio and on WCVE in Richmond VA.
Today’s online world is in overdrive. Think of it as a novelty factory – spewing out new ideas, products, and neologisms – new words, or phrases. Take the word blog, for example, or broadband. These are now old-hat neologisms even my mother would recognize. But neologisms can also be existing words that acquire new meaning, like the term spam. Or the word friend – that’s now a verb! People friend each other on social networking sites like Facebook all the time!
So what better place to look for neologisms than at a conference devoted to the “Future of the Internet”, held by the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University.
Click here: to listen to Esther Dyson, Jimmy Wales, Tim Wu and Judith Donath (4 minutes). Or check out this 1 minute video with MIT Media Lab assoc. professor and Harvard fellow Judith Donath

Posted on July 19, 2008 in Harvard Luminaries, Ideas, MIT, Public Media, Words@Work
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More Neologisms with TPM’s Josh Marshall

This entry is part 3 of 7 in the series Neologisms
Here are a few more thoughts on new words gleaned from life online — gathered at a Berkman Center conference on The Future of the Internet!
Joshua Micah Marshall, who founded the influential site Talking Points Memo discusses the term “blogger”, a now old neologism that may have outgrown its usefulness, at least to him!
Click here: (2:30 minutes) to listen. And let us know if you agree!

And here on this YouTube video, Josh Marshall tells Jenny Attiyeh how he came up with the name “Talking Points Memo”…


Posted on May 25, 2008 in Public Media, Words@Work
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