CIEP social media round-up: June and July 2021

June and July 2021 in social media gave us conference fever, hot new resources, trustworthy professionals, heroic diving etymologists and faithful canine edibuddies.

We used Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter to promote the CIEP annual conference in September, and posted a video and text-based posts about the speaker line-up. The full programme is available on the CIEP’s conference page. Take a look!

Fabulous resources

We’ve also made a splash about the following fabulous additions to the CIEP’s extensive resource library.

Professionals you can trust

And we continue to raise awareness about the CIEP’s Directory of Editorial Services on a weekly basis. The social media posts reflect the broad range of specialist editorial skills CIEP members have to offer and draw attention to advertisers’ qualifications, experience and client references. The aim is to demonstrate that the Directory is a source of professionals in whom clients can have confidence.

The wider wordy world

In rounding up the external links we have shared in the previous two months we try to look for vague themes. This period has been unusually disparate in its topics, although highlights have been an article from ACES about whether your punctuation is too varied; Lynne Murphy’s celebration of 15 years of Separated by a Common Language, her blog about British and US linguistic variation; a well-received CMOS quiz on editing lingo; and an interview with Zakiya Dalila Harris, author of The Other Black Girl, on the spoofability of the publishing world.

However, two themes did emerge: etymology and dogs. So, same old same old, but let’s plough on nevertheless.

Heroes of etymology

At the CIEP we just love etymology, the study of the origins of words and terms and how their meanings change. So June and July were a treat for us as they provided a combination of box-fresh new terms (lockdown foot and bungalow leg; yep, both sound painful), a fascinating myth-busting quiz about the OED and an interesting article from a New Words editor which started with the words: ‘My name is Fiona and I am responsible for putting amazeballs into the OED.’ Another word that Fiona’s team has worked on is ‘staycation’, the subject of much hot debate this summer as Person A casually said to Person B, ‘Yeah, we couldn’t get abroad this year so we went for a staycation at the coast about 50 miles away’ and Person B spat back, ‘But that’s a holiday! You have to stay at home for a staycation!’ If you’re interested in whether Person A or Person B is correct in their use of the term, here’s the link to the entry in the OED. (Spoiler: it’s both. Both are right. Now, please stop arguing.)

Another term that has been used a lot this summer, to consternation in some quarters, is ‘wild swimming’, the practice of taking to the water in lakes, rivers and the sea (‘What? In my day we called this “swimming”’). Patricia T. O’Conner and Stewart Kellerman valiantly dived (or is it ‘dove? Oh, never mind) into this particular controversy on the Grammarphobia blog, usefully tracing its origins to Roger Deakin’s classic swimming book Waterlog. This was published around the turn of the millennium, so, yes, unless you are very young ‘wild swimming’ would have been simply ‘swimming’ in your day, but now it exists as a term in the OED (although you’re not obliged to use it).

We appreciated Edwin L. Battistella’s honest, self-reflective post for the OUP on ‘crazy’ and related terms. Being conscious about language is constant work, and this etymologist, author and lecturer outlined the reasons he would no longer be using ‘crazy, wacky, looky, kooky, or nutty’ after hearing directly from his neurodiverse students about how they were affected by this type of language.

We posted another great blog from Edwin L. Battistella in June about the flexibility of pronouns, which formed the basis of a question in CIEP quiz 9. There are all sorts of different types of pronouns, it turns out: personal, reflexive, indefinite, demonstrative, interrogative … and ‘your ass’, as in ‘If you keep that up, they’re going to fire your ass’, is a pronoun too. Who knew? Those hero etymologists knew, along with their equally heroic colleagues, the linguists and the lexicographers.

Everybody and their dog

‘Everybody and their dog’, according to Battistella’s article, is an idiomatic compound pronoun that simply means ‘Everybody’. But when we said on 25 June ‘Everybody and their dog is at work today’ we really meant it, as it was Bring Your Dog to Work Day. If you work from home, this day was likely no different from any other, for you or your dog, but we asked our social media friends and followers how their canine friends were helping them on this special date. A LinkedIn follower responded: ‘My #edibuddy keeps reminding me to take a #stetwalk!’

How does having a canine edibuddy work for other freelancers? Well, some of us with dogs can report that the experience is a combination of having your feet snoozed on (particularly welcome in the winter), hoping they don’t see a squirrel out of the window during a Zoom call (mute button at the ready) and being followed into the loo (chin on your knee and all), but who can more professionally articulate its ups and downs? How about copywriter and dog owner Tom Albrighton, author of a blog for the CIEP on how to be a freelance introvert? Here are some of his recent tweets at @tomcopy: ‘Imagine if dogs had phones. You’d be getting constant texts like “Time for a walk?” and “How about some cheese”.’ (Truth.) ‘It’s common practice in our house to articulate the dog’s presumed thoughts in a “doggy” voice. What happens if you have two or more pets? It must be like one of those one-person Shakespeare performances.’ (Can CIEP members with more than one dog illuminate us on this?) And finally: ‘Just got caught singing a song to the dog about how I’ll take him out in the garden in another half an hour. That’s what working at home is all about.’ It sure is, Tom, it sure is.

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About the CIEP

The Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading (CIEP) is a non-profit body promoting excellence in English language editing. We set and demonstrate editorial standards, and we are a community, training hub and support network for editorial professionals – the people who work to make text accurate, clear and fit for purpose.

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Photo credit: dog in a box by Erda Estremera on Unsplash.

Posted by Abi Saffrey, CIEP blog coordinator.

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