Archive | September 2014

The Language and the Marketing of “Intelligence”

ACADEME BLOG

I have recently posted an item on the controversy generated by the Department of Defense’s when it made available to its employees with Appalachian backgrounds a course on how to talk less obviously like hillbillies [http://academeblog.org/2014/08/31/do-you-speak-hillbilly-and-wish-that-you-didnt/]. And, even more recently, I have posted an item on the ways in which armed conflicts often involve battles over language and, alternatively,  the ways in which battles over language often suggest what we feel most threatened by [http://academeblog.org/2014/09/05/wars-on-language-and-the-language-of-wars/].

Here is another linguistic item related to the Department of Defense, one which relates as well to the series of eighteen posts that I recently finished called “National (In)Security: Fifty Notable American Espionage Novels” [http://academeblog.org/2014/08/30/national-in-security-fifty-notable-american-espionage-novels-49-50/; this final post in the series includes links to all of the others].

Perhaps you have at some point considered a career in espionage, or perhaps you have considered writing an espionage novel, or…

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You Can’t Get Off the Ballot in Kansas

ACADEME BLOG

Chad Taylor, the Democratic candidate for the Senate seat in Kansas currently held by the long-serving but vulnerable Republican Senator Pat Roberts, recently announced that he was withdrawing from the race.

The move was widely seen as an attempt to improve the chances of the Independent candidate Greg Orman, who was consistently finishing ahead of Taylor in the polling and seemed to be competing with him for the support of many of the same voters. Roberts’ support is also being siphoned off by Randall Batson, the Libertarian candidate. So it was not very surprising that, following Taylor’s withdrawal from the race, Orman has surged significantly in the polls, rising in some polls to within a point or two of Roberts.

Now, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, a Republican, has denied Democrat Chad Taylor’s request to be removed from the Kansas Senate ballot.

Kobach told reporters that, after evaluating state…

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Wars on Language and the Language of Wars

ACADEME BLOG

The following paragraphs open a recent post on Dennis Baron’s site The Web of Language:

“2014 marks the centennial of World War I, time to take a closer look at one of its offshoots, America’s little-known War on Language.

“In April, 1917, the United States declared war on Germany. In addition to sending troops to fight in Europe, Americans waged war on the language of the enemy at home. German was the second most commonly-spoken language in America, and banning it seemed the way to stop German spies cold. Plus, immigrants had always been encouraged to switch from their mother tongue to English to signal their assimilation and their acceptance of American values. Now speaking English became a badge of patriotism as well, a way to prove that you were not a spy.

“The war on language was fought on two fronts, one legal, the other, in the schools. Its…

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