[Ads-l] Media request (Business Insider) about language and nature

dwhause dwhause at CABLEMO.NET
Tue Jul 24 21:55:16 EDT 2018


The problem I see with this question is that many actual (as opposed to 
human-caused) wildfires are started by lightning, so the regions at 
least partially, if not fully, coincide.  Personally, I use both 
"firefly" and "lightning bug" (grew up in Central Illinois with parents 
from Pennsylvania) and my wife (also Central Illinois with 
locally-raised parents uses almost exclusively "lightning bug.)
Dave Hause

On 2018-07-24 15:51, ADSGarson O'Toole wrote:
> The reporter's example concerns regional differences. He presents the
> interesting thesis that the name "firefly" is favored in regions with
> wildfires and "lightning bug" is favored in regions with
> lightning-strikes.
> 
> The reporters asks:
>> Do any other examples come to mind of the environment seeming
>> to dictate what we call something?
> 
> Terms created via onomatopoeia are closely connected to the physical
> (auditory) environment. The terms vary based on language and region.
> Is it possible that some of the variation occurs because the sounds
> are different in different regions?
> 
> The sounds made by a rooster are represented in many ways. Here is a
> non-academic webpage on the topic. ( I do not know if it is accurate):
> 
> Cock-A-Doodle-Doo: Dialects of the Rooster
> http://www.bootstrappin.com/2008/10/cock-a-doodle-doo-dialects-of-the-rooster/
> 
> There are different types of roosters. Do they make different sounds
> and are the sounds correlated with the words constructed via
> onomatopoeia in matching regions?
> 
> Consider the sounds made while laughing. If these sounds vary between
> cultures and regions then one may ask whether these different sounds
> correlate with the words constructed via onomatopoeia in matching
> regions.
> 
> I am not a linguist, and I do not know if research of this type has
> been conducted. If this topic has been explored then it may provide
> examples of interest to the journalist.
> 
> Garson
> 
> 
> On Tue, Jul 24, 2018 at 3:49 PM, Baker, John <JBAKER at stradley.com> 
> wrote:
>> Note that the example given by the reporter is a striking correlation: 
>>  In parts of the country where there is relatively more risk from 
>> wildfires, bioluminescent winged beetles are known as “fireflies,” 
>> while in parts of the country where there is relatively more risk from 
>> lightning, they are known as “lightning bugs.”  This could, of course, 
>> be coincidence, but it also seems reasonable that people are 
>> subconsciously reminded of the locally more prominent risk when 
>> referring to these insects, though neither fire nor lightning is 
>> involved in any way.
>> 
>> I don’t think the reporter is asking about the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, 
>> though no doubt he would be interested in it if it is relevant in some 
>> way.
>> 
>> 
>> John Baker
>> 
>> 
>> From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On 
>> Behalf Of Galen Buttitta
>> Sent: Tuesday 24 July 2018 3:08 PM
>> To: ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU
>> Subject: Re: Media request (Business Insider) about language and 
>> nature
>> 
>> External Email - Think Before You Click
>> 
>> 
>> Does he mean Sapir-Whorf or is he asking about social/societal aspects 
>> (E.G. “slim Jim”, “lazy Susan”, “Watergate”)?
>> 
>>> On Jul 24, 2018, at 11:16, Cohen, Gerald Leonard <gcohen at MST.EDU> 
>>> wrote:
>>> 
>>> This morning I received the request below from Mark Abadi of
>>> 
>>> Business Insider, and with his permission I now forward it to
>>> 
>>> ads-l. Can anyone on our listserv provide him any information?
>>> 
>>> 
>>> In a follow-up message he clarified:
>>> 
>>> Essentially, my questions are:
>>> - In what ways does the natural world influence our language, on a
>>> dialectal level to specific words and phrases?
>>> - Do any other examples come to mind of the environment seeming to
>>> dictate what we call something?
>>> - Why is it important to know about the interplay between language
>>> and nature?
>>> 
>>> I'm sure any assistance would be very gratefully received.
>>> 
>>> Gerald Cohen
>>> 
>>> 
>>> ________________________________
>>> From: Mark Abadi <mabadi at businessinsider.com>
>>> Sent: Tuesday, July 24, 2018 9:29 AM
>>> To: Cohen, Gerald Leonard
>>> Subject: Request for comment on a dialect map — Business Insider
>>> 
>>> Hi there Gerald, I'm a reporter with Business Insider, and one of my 
>>> areas of coverage is language and linguistics.
>>> 
>>> A recent 
>>> tweet<https://twitter.com/Chasin_Jason/status/1018209864416362497<https://twitter.com/Chasin_Jason/status/1018209864416362497>> from meteorology researcher Jason Keeler caught my attention — he compared a map of where Americans use the terms "firefly" vs. "lightning bug" to a map showing wildfire and lightning-strike activity in the USA. Interestingly, there is strong overlap between wildfire country and 'firefly' country, as well as lightning country and 'lightning bug' country.
>>> 
>>> I wanted to use Keeler's tweet to explore the interplay between 
>>> language and nature, and wanted to know if you could offer a comment 
>>> on the map. Basically, I'd like to ask about the ways the natural 
>>> world has influenced our language, perhaps with some other specific 
>>> examples, and what we can learn from them.
>>> 
>>> Would you be available for a brief phone chat, no more than five or 
>>> six minutes, sometime today? Let me know and we can figure out a time 
>>> that works. Alternatively, if you know have someone in mind who you 
>>> think is well-suited for a topic like this, feel free to send them my 
>>> way. Hope to hear from you!
>>> 
>>> Best,
>>> 
>>> 
>>> Mark Abadi
>>> 
>>> Strategy reporter
>>> 
>>> 
>>> [https://docs.google.com/uc?export=download&id=1Sn9T_3XgKeR6F-qeusXInzzUfdaFEk_m&revid=0B_22AlI77aExWVVkMzFWczF3L0c4T0hKcFoxdU52amg2bUdRPQ<https://docs.google.com/uc?export=download&id=1Sn9T_3XgKeR6F-qeusXInzzUfdaFEk_m&revid=0B_22AlI77aExWVVkMzFWczF3L0c4T0hKcFoxdU52amg2bUdRPQ>]
>>> 
>>> An Insider Inc. Publication
>>> 
>>> 
>>> C: 980-253-2849
>>> 
>>> One Liberty Plaza, 8th FL, New York, NY 10006
>>> 
>>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>>> The American Dialect Society - 
>>> http://www.americandialect.org<http://www.americandialect.org>
>> 
>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>> The American Dialect Society - 
>> http://www.americandialect.org<http://www.americandialect.org>
>> 
>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
> 
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

------------------------------------------------------------
The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org


More information about the Ads-l mailing list