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September 10, 2011

September 11th

There are some events that resonate around the world, that make us...

...different people.

The attacks on the World Trade Center happened in New York City, but the repercussions since then have affected all of us who travel, work or have friends or families abroad.

Major global events generally impact how we live, work and travel - and they usually leave a lasting impact on our language. 9/11, on the other hand, didn't leave much in the way of words or phrases.

World War II left us, sixty years later, a multitude of words from radar to Snafu to Catch 22 and much more.

September 11th gave us words that had a limited shelf-life (good luck finding that term in a slang dictionary!) like "Freedom Fries" or Homeland Security, but for whatever reason, there are extremely few words that are still in use. For more on this lack of September 11th vocabulary, check out this segment on NPR - http://www.npr.org/2011/09/07/140040272/no-language-legacy-wheres-the-sept-11-vocab.

What I find even more odd about the legacy of September 11th is that as much as it has impacted all of us who travel - especially to or from the Middle East or North Africa - there are parts of the world - even Afghanistan of all places - where little if anything is known of those events. Take a look here for more details on this - http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424053111904103404576556531604340742.html?mod=e2fb.

On a unrelated note, if you have any writers among your friends, I have a good contest for you. The topic is diligence, take a look here for the details - http://www.fundsforwriters.com/annualcontest.htm. The deadline is October 31, 2011.

Look at the bottom of the website for previous winners.

Yep, this language - and perhaps every human language - is pretty darn weird, but I love it and I just can't get enough of its odd corners and stray distortions and expressions.

I love poking around web sites that explore where our language comes from. These are only a few. I'll be posting more later - and if you have any favorites, let me know.

We are all always learning. And we, as well as the world around us, are always changing. And we never know what stray novel, song, poem or short story might shed some light on a situation or make us wonder or be thankful for the life we have.

It is always more fun to learn together, so let me know what it is about English that you find confounding, infuriating or endlessly intriguing.

Listen, read and speak. Make your new language your own.

My best to you as you make your way through this intriguing , constantly shifting linguistic landscape.

Morf

About the author of this entry:

Morf has a B.A.from the Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington and an MAT (Master's in Teaching English) from the University of Washington (Seattle). Morf prefers international and independent films, foreign foods he can't pronounce, music no one else has heard of and riding his bicycle in foreign cities.

Posted by mmorf at September 10, 2011 03:52 PM

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