Daily Briefing

What's New?

The Politics page has been updated to reflect the winners in Pennsylvania's general election on November 3, 2020.

Another week, another book down. This time, Patricia Cornwell's Chaos. Check out my review of what is, for now at least, the final book in the Kay Scarpetta series.

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark is neither scary nor much of a story. I discuss here.

In these stressful times, it helps to have gorgeous tracks like "Freshwater" from a UK-based producer named Che-Yung. It's our Song of the Day for November.

November 19 marks the anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address. You can find info here about visiting the site where the speech and the battle that preceded it happened.

Word of the Year

A panel of linguists has decided the word that best reflects 2019 is (my) pronouns, which is used as an introduction for sharing a person's set of personal pronouns (e.g. "pronouns: she/her"). The organization also chose singular "they" as its Word of the Decade (2010-2019).

Singular "they" is often used to refer to a person whose gender identity is non-binary. It was chosen as the 2015 Word of the Year. Its selection as the Word of the Decade reflects its increased usage since then.

"When a basic part of speech like pronouns becomes a vital indicator of social trends, linguists pay attention," said the chair of the ADS's New Words Committee. "The selection of "(my) pronouns" as Word of the Year speaks to how the personal expression of gender identity has become an increasing part of our shared discourse. That trend is also reflected in singular "they" being chosen as Word of the Decade, with a growing recognition of the use of they for those whose identities don't conform to the binary of he and she."

The American Dialect Society chose the Word of the Year on January 3, 2020 at its meeting in New Orleans. Other nominees for WOTY included OK boomer, a phrase used in response to an older person expressing an out-of-touch or condescending opinion; and Karen, a stereotype which refers to a whiney, self-important white woman who is likely a member of Generation X.

Other nominees for Word of the Decade included meme, climate, and the hashtag BlackLivesMatter.

You can read the entire news release here.