For realsies, all in from the get-go: Lexiculture 2021

Once again, I am having my undergraduates in my intermediate linguistic anthro class at Wayne State pick from a curated list of fun, interesting, socially relevant, or just plain wacky words for their original research papers this term. The Lexiculture project teaches a dollop of research methods, a touch of discourse analysis, a dab of corpus linguistics, and a soupcon of linguistic anthropology as the student-researchers investigate the sociocultural context and relevance of a single English word.

Earlier this year I edited 62 student papers written from 2013-2020 into an open-access ebook, The Lexiculture Papers: English Words and Culture. Check it out – I’m exceptionally proud of this collection of student scholarship.

And for those interested, here’s the list my students are choosing from this year:

all indingusmake-or-breaksellout
all outdjentman caveshoo-in
AmerindiandoggoneMohammedanshout out
amp updruthersmoronslider
backpedalfast forwardnext-levelsnuck
baloneyfinalizeno-brainerstalemate
bejesusgatewayNSFWstalker
bidetgeezernthstat
biohazardget-gonukesuplex
blessedgrassrootsoctoroonswiff
brain trusthalfsiesoftenswitcheroo
business endhardwiredpeoplingtardy
buzzkillhas-beenphase outthunk
call dibshookupporridgetouchless
canolahyphenatedprontounderprivileged
car phoneInformation Superhighwaypsychobabbleunmentionables
card-carryingjailbaitrandoupside the head
centricjazz handsrealsiesupsize
challengedjinxrealtimewhole nother
clusterjockrebootwingnut
coedkewlrecapworkshop
columbusedlavenderrunner-upyea big
cribmajorlyscooch 

Any favourites you’d really like to see picked this year?

Lexiculture: 2014 word list

As I mentioned a couple of months ago, I am doing a new iteration of my Lexiculture Project in my undergraduate linguistic anthropology course, which I ran last year to some success (with eight papers published here online).  Over the next month, each of them will research the history, social context, cultural significance, and transformations of one English word, chosen from the list below.  Today I shared the word list with my students, giving them a couple of days to mull over their choices before the signup goes live, and so, in case you’re interested, here it is!

actress
artisanal
avatar
baby bump
barbecue
bruschetta
cafeteria
car phone
challenged
childfree
chipotle
coed
cornrows
cromulent
cyber
digital
discotheque
douche
downsize
dwarf
Einstein
erectile dysfunction
Eskimo
expat
feisty
finalize
forehead
fridge
gaslight
germ
gestalt
gnarly
going steady
gotten
guru
hardwired
hopefully
househusband
indie
Information Superhighway
ixnay
jock
karma
kewl
magick
make out
man cave
Michigander
mulatto
niche
nonzero
nth
octopi
often
organic
porridge
R.I.P.
red Indian
restroom
rock and roll
rouge
rubber
shanghaied
slider
snuck
soccer mom
soul patch
stalemate
stat
suntan lotion
suplex
swiff
tailgate
troll
unfriend
uppity
upsize
winningest
workshop
xerox
ye olde