Word of the day: corvine


adj. Of or like a raven or crow, especially in color.

imageImage: Raven croak by Franco Atirador. CC-BY-SA-3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

A little vocab for your Thursday. Pair your new verbiage with this very corvine TEDx Talk on the surprising intelligence of crows from avian researcher John Marzluff at TEDxRainier. Watch the whole thing here»

Bonus: Hacker Joshua Klein and his crow thought experiment at TED2008.

TEDxVaugirardRoad: Words worth spreading

The theme of TEDxVaugirardRoad in Paris was “Les Mots pour le Dire,” or in English, “The words to say it.”

Before the break organizers asked attendees, "What words inspire you? What words do you use to express yourself?" At hand were pre-printed cards with various words, and blank cards to fill in with a word of one’s own choosing. Lines were strung all around the venue, and during the break attendees were invited to attach words to the lines with clothespins to form sentences, remix other compositions, or have their word stand alone.

What were the most-used words? Love. Say. Words. Better. Share. Joy.

6 talks on the wonder of words

Language is a strange thing. We use it every day, but we often forget it’s there; it’s easy to learn as a child, but fiendishly difficult as an adult; and, for reasons that are hard to define, certain words can evoke strong emotions or even downright offend.

Below, 5 TEDx Talks (and one TED Talk!) on the wonders of language and linguistics, from the secret life of pronouns to why we’re so offended by curse words.

John McWhorter: Txtng is killing language. JK!!!
Since its invention, many people have railed against the rise of “txt spk,” believing its use will eventually lead to the demise of English. John McWhorter begs to differ. At TED2013, he explains that texting is merely a new dialect of English and that we should rest assured that the language we speak isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

The Secret Life of Pronouns: James Pennebaker at TEDxAustin
The words you use most say a lot more about you than you may intend. At TEDxAustin, James Pennebaker introduces you to the secret life of pronouns and demonstrates what your speech, emails and tweets say about you.

How Does The Brain Interpret Language?: Steve Nikolidakis at TEDxCooperUnion
In this short and sweet talk, Steve Nikolidakis explains the basics of neurolinguistics and its insight into how the brain processes language at TEDxCooperUnion.

Euphemisms: Kate Burridge at TEDxSydney
What is it about a word that makes it taboo? At TEDxSydney, Kate Burridge explains the mysterious phenomenon of some words being ruder than others.

Grammar, Identity, and the Dark Side of the Subjunctive: Phuc Tran at TEDxDirigo
At TEDxDirigo, Phuc Tran takes you on a fun romp through grammatical mood, debunking the often misunderstood subjunctive, with some interesting examples using Darth Vader thrown in for good measure.

Walk the Talk: Simon Denoth at TEDxZug
At TEDxZug, polyglot Simon Denoth expands on the importance of plurilingualism and the benefits it can bring to society — besides just being a good party trick.