Will Palin's "Refudiate" Last as Long As Shakespeare's "Champion?"
In a series of tweets Sunday, Sarah Palin first "invented" the word "refudiate" (while, perhaps, trying to come up with "repudiate"), and then defended her word choice in another tweet suggesting a certain similarity between herself and a certain Bard of Avon: "'Refudiate,' 'misunderestimate,' 'wee-wee'd up.'
English is a living language. Shakespeare liked to coin new words too.
Got to celebrate it!"
"Misunderestimate," of course, was an invention of President George W. Bush, while "wee-wee'd up" belongs to President Obama. But Palin's suggestion that English is a living, evolving language is pretty salient. Words get created all the time, and once such a word is created, it sometimes enters common usage—and the AP stylebook—forever. After all, a good many of the more than 3000 words that Shakespeare invented are now used frequently by all of us. Some of the more common ones include: "addiction," "advertising," "blanket," "champion," "elbow," "excitement," "fashionable," "gossip," "impede," "lackluster," "outbreak," "submerge," "summit," "torture" and "worthless."
So will "refudiate" hold up over the next, say, 400 years? Big Think asked Dr. Allan Metcalf, a professor at MacMurray College and executive secretary of the American Dialect Society, what causes a word to be adopted into the lexicon.
"What makes a word stick is its naturalness, its unobtrusiveness," said Metcalf. "Consciously invented words, especially clever ones, are treated as jokes, and perhaps appreciated as such but not used by others." Metcalf said that if a word is "a deliberate conspicuous coinage," it will likely sink out of sight. But, on the other hand, "if it was a slip of the tongue, it's a natural blend of two established words and might just stick. I bet she's not the first to use it."
To create wiser adults, add empathy to the school curriculum.
- Stories are at the heart of learning, writes Cleary Vaughan-Lee, Executive Director for the Global Oneness Project. They have always challenged us to think beyond ourselves, expanding our experience and revealing deep truths.
- Vaughan-Lee explains 6 ways that storytelling can foster empathy and deliver powerful learning experiences.
- Global Oneness Project is a free library of stories—containing short documentaries, photo essays, and essays—that each contain a companion lesson plan and learning activities for students so they can expand their experience of the world.
Philosophers like to present their works as if everything before it was wrong. Sometimes, they even say they have ended the need for more philosophy. So, what happens when somebody realizes they were mistaken?
Sometimes philosophers are wrong and admitting that you could be wrong is a big part of being a real philosopher. While most philosophers make minor adjustments to their arguments to correct for mistakes, others make large shifts in their thinking. Here, we have four philosophers who went back on what they said earlier in often radical ways.
The inequalities impact everything from education to health.
Astrophysicist Michelle Thaller talks ISS and why NICER is so important.
- Being outside of Earth's atmosphere while also being able to look down on the planet is both a challenge and a unique benefit for astronauts conducting important and innovative experiments aboard the International Space Station.
- NASA astrophysicist Michelle Thaller explains why one such project, known as NICER (Neutron star Interior Composition Explorer), is "one of the most amazing discoveries of the last year."
- Researchers used x-ray light data from NICER to map the surface of neutrons (the spinning remnants of dead stars 10-50 times the mass of our sun). Thaller explains how this data can be used to create a clock more accurate than any on Earth, as well as a GPS device that can be used anywhere in the galaxy.
Just before I turned 60, I discovered that sharing my story by drawing could be an effective way to both alleviate my symptoms and combat that stigma.