Thursday, July 30, 2015

How New Words Spread

"How brand-new words are spreading across America":
One region is particularly influential: the south. Several of Grieve’s emerging words got their start there. It’s true of boolin (chilling), baeless (single), bruuh (bro), unbothered (happily oblivious), to name a few.

This tells us two things. First, it is evidence of the “north-south split,” a linguistic divide separating two dialects of American English at the Mason-Dixon Line. Grieve called it the “strongest dialectical pattern in the United States.” Some of these fast-growing words, like unbothered, have barely left the south at all. Perhaps it will reach the north this year.

Second, we can see how African-American English is largely responsible for the coinages that secure a place in the lexicon. New words on Black Twitter grow to be used on the rest of Twitter...