Karen Stollznow

Author Archive: Karen Stollznow

Dr. Karen Stollznow is a linguist and researcher. She is the author of the best-selling book God Bless America. Her other titles include Hits & Mrs., Language Myths, Mysteries and Magic, Would You Believe It? and Haunting America. Her forthcoming book is On the Offensive: Prejudice in Language Past and Present.

rss feed Facebook Twitter Pinterest Google Plus LinkedIn

Author's Website →

Indigenous Peoples’ Day

Indigenous Peoples’ Day

This article is cross-posted from Cambridge Core. Traditionally, the second Monday of October is observed as Columbus Day in the United States. However, the holiday and its history are controversial. In August 1492, Italian explorer and navigator Christopher Columbus set off on his first of four voyages across the Atlantic Ocean. Funded by the Spanish […]

Posted in: Uncategorized
Black Lives Matter

Black Lives Matter

This article is cross posted from Cambridge Extra. What do people mean when they say, “Black Lives Matter?” “Black Lives Matter” is a slogan and a social movement in response to the historical and current social and systemic racism and violence perpetuated against black people. Where did the phrase come from? In 2012, 17-year-old African-American […]

Posted in: Uncategorized
Quarantine

Quarantine

A quarantine is a restriction on the movement of people who were exposed to a contagious disease to prevent its spread. The word quarantine dates back to the 1660s when it meant, “period a ship suspected of carrying disease is kept in isolation”, and is derived from Latin quadraginta, meaning “forty.” During this current pandemic […]

Posted in: Uncategorized
Disease and Prejudice

Disease and Prejudice

The emergence of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) has led to increased anti-Asian prejudice, and specifically anti-Chinese prejudice. The virus is believed to have originated in a wet market in Wuhan, China, in 2019. This has inspired some to brand it “the Wuhan virus”, “the Chinese virus”, or even the “Kung flu.” Some of our world […]

Posted in: Uncategorized
Pandemic

Pandemic

Recently, the World Health Organization (WHO) officially declared the Coronavirus to be a pandemic. This is the first time that an outbreak has been characterized as a pandemic since the H1N1 “swine flu” of 2009. But what exactly is a “pandemic”? The term dates back to the 1660s when it meant “incident to a whole […]

Posted in: Uncategorized
Social Distancing

Social Distancing

In light of the current spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued guidelines for “community migration strategies” to limit the spread of the virus. One of these recommendations is for “social distancing.” Social distancing is a term that epidemiologists use to refer to a conscious effort to […]

Posted in: Uncategorized
G’day Inmate

G’day Inmate

              This photograph was posted to reddit today under the subreddit “History memes”. The text in the image says, “Mate is just short for ‘inmate’ because Australia was literally a bunch of convicts forced to live there.” It is correct that Australia was once a British penal colony (1788-1868). […]

Posted in: Uncategorized
Peter, Paul and Mubashirah

Peter, Paul and Mubashirah

In her “Dear Abby” column, Jeanne Phillips (writing under the pen name of Abigail Van Buren) recently advised a reader of Indian descent to avoid choosing a “foreign” name for his future children, and to instead select a “traditional Western name”. Phillips said: “Not only can foreign names be difficult to pronounce and spell, but […]

Posted in: Uncategorized
Why I’m Not A Grammar Nazi
By September 28, 2017 1 Comments Read More →

Why I’m Not A Grammar Nazi

Years ago, I was interviewed for a podcast in which the host began our conversation by asking, “So, you’re a grammar Nazi?” I proceeded to explain to this guy why I was not a “grammar Nazi”. Three years later, I married him, but I digress… It’s a common misconception that linguists are “grammar Nazis”, “grammar […]

Posted in: Uncategorized
The meaning of “marriage”

The meaning of “marriage”

Recently, I was surprised (and disappointed) to learn that someone whose views I typically find to be progressive and open-minded planned to vote “No” in a same-sex postal vote “survey” in Australia. There are many reasons why people oppose same-sex marriage, although one of the main arguments cited by this person was that the definition […]

Posted in: Uncategorized