Talking Funny (Accents and Advertising)

As the world has changed, so has advertising. Promoting a product, service, idea, place-thing-to-be-sold-here isn’t just about promoting features and benefits, it is also about promoting a sense of meaning and identity. And much to my surprise, an aspect of this that too often overlooked is the importance of language. In a country there are […]

The Business of Language and the Language of Business

Entering the world of business is a significant challenge for an anthropologist.  There are questions about the moral ambiguity and exploitative nature of the capitalist system.  There are concerns about the relationship between industrialized nations and the indigenous populations that invariably produce the goods that are sold.  There is the internal debate over globalization and […]

Adding Value to Social Media Monitoring: More Than A Word Search Game

It is difficult to get an accurate reading on how commonly a word is used in a given society. In fact, the task of measuring word frequency fully objectively is inherently impossible. The results will always be affected by the size of the corpus and the choice of the texts entered in it. On a […]

The Importance of Metaphor

Each of us is a skillful master of metaphors, as both linguists and primatologist have pointed out.  From an early age, indeed from birth, we possess an innate ability to recognize phonological and semantic patterns.  We construct utterances, phrases, to describe one thing in terms of another. Metaphor is essentially hardwired into our little brains.  […]

Personality Seepage

My friend Bryan Crawford posted a marvelous article by Bethlehem Shoals on “Personality Seepage” yesterday that got me revisiting an issue I’d set aside, namely, the presentation of self in virtual life.  Beautifully written (unlike most of my muses), the article sums up the increasing difficulty we have in separating our various senses or displays […]

Linguistic Shortcomings of Social Media Monitoring – notes.

It is difficult to get an accurate reading on how commonly a word is used in a given society. In fact, the task of measuring word frequency fully objectively is inherently impossible. The results will always be affected by the size of the corpus and the choice of the texts entered in it. On a […]