Why Words Matter Newsletter September 2020
How are you today? We hope things are well your side.
As we ramble into the season of woolly jumpers in what is one of the strangest years in recent history, we take a look at the evolution of language, and the new grammatical norms that have come to represent our time.
Let’s jump straight into our links for this month, and remember to let us know if you’d rather not receive our emails - we won’t take it personally!
1. The Rise of the 'Lowercase Girl' - Vice - an article looking at how Millennials and Gen-Z’ers are using lowercase as shorthand for authenticity, vulnerability and ‘real talk’ online, and why the upturning of grammatical norms is a means of questioning the status quo.
2. Pando, Miss Rona and Covid Toe: how the language of a disease develops – shaped by fear and prejudice - The Guardian - a quick history lesson in the language of disease - looking at the vocabulary that develops alongside deadly outbreaks, and new ways of conceptualising and communicating threat.
3. A “Beowulf” for Our Moment - The New Yorker - an introduction to the somewhat controversial revisionist translation of Beowulf from Maria Dahvana Headley, where the Old English poem is infused with feminism and social-media slang. Behind that, there’s an attempt to engage young audiences and make the classic text accessible by speaking their language.
4. I hope this email finds you well - The New York Times - as the virus continues to infiltrate our daily lives, how can we make sure the communications we send are respectful and considerate? According to this article, by showing our human, emotional side while avoiding coming across tone deaf or misguidedly optimistic.
5. What is content design? - Content Design London - a snappy introduction to the content design process, which places emphasis on using your audience's language to provide them with the right information in the right way. As Sarah Richards says, "We use the language our users are using. For the simple fact that they won’t find us, connect with us or trust us if we don’t."
Have any interesting ideas or resources we can share or chat about? Just reply to this email to let us know!
Get in touch if we can help, and stay safe.
Nia and Adrián
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