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

Cohen, Gerald Leonard gcohen at MST.EDU
Tue Jul 24 15:16:12 UTC 2018

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> 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!


Mark Abadi

Strategy reporter


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