The “X” option

New York City birth certificates get gender-neutral option

By Evan Simko-Bednarski, CNN

(CNN)- A new law in New York City makes it easier for transgender and non-binary New Yorkers to match their birth certificate to their gender identity without needing a signed affidavit from a healthcare provider.

The law, which went into effect Tuesday, also creates a new label, “X,” to reflect a non-binary identity.

“Transgender and gender non-conforming New Yorkers deserve the right to choose how they identify and to live with respect and dignity,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement released Monday.

“Our city respects your gender identity and the right to have it affirmed on your birth certificate,” de Blasio’s office echoed in a Tuesday tweet.

Under the law, individuals born in New York City can apply to have the gender marker on their birth certificate changed by submitting a notarized application stating that the revision is to reflect their “true gender identity and is not for any fraudulent purpose.”

“You don’t need a doctor to tell you who you are and you shouldn’t need a doctor to change your birth certificate to reflect your true self,” New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson said in a June statement when the law was first proposed.

The “X” option will not be available at the time of birth, Michael Lanza, a spokesman for the New York City Health Department, told CNN Thursday, though it will be an option for amending youth birth certificates.

The move is the latest in the city’s efforts to reduce legal red tape for transgender and non-binary individuals. Hundreds have already received amended birth certificates with a health care provider’s signature since the city eased requirements for a gender marker change in 2015. Prior to that, individuals seeking to have their gender marker changed on their birth certificate would have had to provide proof of sex-reassignment surgery.

New York City joins the states of California, Oregon, Washington and Idaho in allowing a birth certificate change without the signature of a medical authority. New Jersey is scheduled to follow suit in February.

New York state still requires a medical professional’s signature for a gender marker change on state-issued documents, including drivers’ licenses, according to a database maintained by the National Center for Transgender Equality.

CNN’s Sonia Moghe contributed to this report

Source: CNN

New words and meanings coined by social media

How social media is changing language
From unfriend to selfie, social media is clearly having an impact on language. As someone who writes about social media I’m aware of not only how fast these online platforms change, but also of how they influence the language in which I write.

The words that surround us every day influence the words we use. Since so much of the written language we see is now on the screens of our computers, tablets, and smartphones, language now evolves partly through our interaction with technology. And because the language we use to communicate with each other tends to be more malleable than formal writing, the combination of informal, personal communication and the mass audience afforded by social media is a recipe for rapid change.

From the introduction of new words to new meanings for old words to changes in the way we communicate, social media is making its presence felt.

New ways of communicating
An alphabet soup of acronyms, abbreviations, and neologisms has grown up around technologically mediated communication to help us be understood. I’m old enough to have learned the acronyms we now think of as textspeak on the online forums and ‘internet relay chat’ (IRC) that pre-dated text messaging. On IRC, acronyms help speed up a real-time typed conversation. On mobile phones they minimize the inconvenience of typing with tiny keys. And on Twitter they help you make the most of your 140 characters.

Emoticons such as 😉 and acronyms such as LOL (‘laughing out loud’ – which has just celebrated its 25th birthday) add useful elements of non-verbal communication – or annoy people with their overuse. This extends to playful asterisk-enclosed stage directions describing supposed physical actions or facial expressions (though use with caution: it turns out that *innocent face* is no defence in court).

An important element of Twitter syntax is the hashtag – a clickable keyword used to categorize tweets. Hashtags have also spread to other social media platforms – and they’ve even reached everyday speech, but hopefully spoofs such as Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake’s sketch on The Tonight Show will dissuade us from using them too frequently. But you will find hashtags all over popular culture, from greetings cards and t-shirts to the dialogue of sitcom characters.

Syntax aside, social media has also prompted a more subtle revolution in the way we communicate. We share more personal information, but also communicate with larger audiences. Our communication styles consequently become more informal and more open, and this seeps into other areas of life and culture. When writing on social media, we are also more succinct, get to the point quicker, operate within the creative constraints of 140 characters on Twitter, or aspire to brevity with blogs.

New words and meanings
Facebook has also done more than most platforms to offer up new meanings for common words such as friend, like, status, wall, page, and profile. Other new meanings which crop up on social media channels also reflect the dark side of social media: a troll is no longer just a character from Norse folklore, but someone who makes offensive or provocative comments online; a sock puppet is no longer solely a puppet made from an old sock, but a self-serving fake online persona; and astroturfing is no longer simply laying a plastic lawn but also a fake online grass-roots movement.

Social media is making it easier than ever to contribute to the evolution of language. You no longer have to be published through traditional avenues to bring word trends to the attention of the masses. While journalists have long provided the earliest known uses of topical terms – everything from 1794’s pew-rent in The Times to beatboxing in The Guardian (1987) – the net has been widened by the ‘net’. A case in point is Oxford Dictionaries 2013 Word of the Year, selfie: the earliest use of the word has been traced to an Australian internet forum. With forums, Twitter, Facebook, and other social media channels offering instant interaction with wide audiences, it’s never been easier to help a word gain traction from your armchair.

Keeping current
Some people may feel left behind by all this. If you’re a lawyer grappling with the new geek speak, you may need to use up court time to have terms such as Rickrolling explained to you. And yes, some of us despair at how use of this informal medium can lead to an equally casual attitude to grammar. But the truth is that social media is great for word nerds. It provides a rich playground for experimenting with, developing, and subverting language.

It can also be a great way keep up with these changes. Pay attention to discussions in your social networks and you can spot emerging new words, new uses of words – and maybe even coin one yourself.

The opinions and other information contained in OxfordWords blog posts and comments do not necessarily reflect the opinions or positions of Oxford University Press.

Reblogged from Oxford Dictionaries

Otra palabra del año 2018

Es sorprendente la elección de las diferentes palabras del año. Aunque muy distantes entre sí, todos están en el mismo contexto. Muy bien!

microplástico, palabra del año 2018 para la Fundéu BBVA

Microplástico, la voz que designa los pequeños fragmentos de plástico que se han convertido en una de las principales amenazas para el medioambiente y la salud de los seres humanos, ha sido elegida palabra del año 2018 por la Fundéu BBVA.

Esta es la sexta ocasión en la que la Fundación del Español Urgente, promovida por la Agencia Efe y BBVA, da a conocer su palabra del año, escogida entre aquellos términos que han estado presentes en mayor o menor medida en la actualidad informativa durante los últimos meses y tienen, además, interés desde el punto de vista lingüístico.

Tras elegir escrache en 2013, selfi en 2014, refugiado en 2015, populismo en 2016 y aporofobia en 2017, el equipo de la Fundación ha optado en esta ocasión por microplástico, un término que pone el acento en la toma de conciencia en torno a uno de los grandes problemas medioambientales a los que se enfrenta la humanidad.

Los microplásticos son pequeños fragmentos de plástico (menores de cinco milímetros) que o bien se fabricaron ya con ese tamaño para ser empleados en productos de limpieza e higiene, o bien se han fragmentado de un plástico mayor (bolsas de la compra, envases de todo tipo…) durante su proceso de descomposición.

Su presencia en la arena de las playas, en los organismos de los animales, en la sal marina que consumimos y hasta en el agua que bebemos ha hecho saltar las alarmas y ha obligado a poner en marcha medidas para reducir el consumo de los plásticos de un solo uso, responsables en buena parte del problema.

Desde el punto de vista lingüístico, la Fundéu le dedicó una de sus recomendaciones diarias a este término, que, aunque no aparece aún en la mayoría de los diccionarios de español, está bien formado a partir del elemento compositivo micro- y el sustantivo plástico.

En esa recomendación, la Fundación recordaba que, como sucede en general con las palabras formadas con elementos compositivos, estos se escriben unidos a la voz a la que acompañan, sin dejar en medio un espacio ni intercalar un guion (no micro plástico ni micro-plástico).

«Cuando hace unas semanas empezamos el proceso para elegir las doce candidatas a palabra del año 2018, nos encontramos con que, sin pretenderlo, la mayoría de los términos que nos parecían más adecuados para definir de algún modo el año que acaba eran del ámbito social (mena, los nadie, micromachismo) o del medioambiental (microplástico, descarbonizar, hibridar…)», explica el director general de la Fundéu BBVA, Joaquín Muller.

«Creemos que esa selección muestra de algún modo el perfil de un año en el que, además de las grandes cuestiones políticas y económicas, todos estamos volviendo nuestra mirada a otros asuntos de enorme trascendencia que a veces quedan eclipsados por otros grandes titulares en los medios de comunicación», añade.

Si se repasan las recomendaciones emitidas por la Fundación del Español Urgente, inspiradas en la mayoría de las ocasiones por las dudas y las consultas de los profesionales de los medios, se encuentran decenas de términos relacionados con el medioambiente: ecocidio, alargascencia, ecoimpostura o ecopostureo, espigar, esmog, Hora del Planeta…»

«Así que no es raro que entre las candidatas a palabra del año hubiera varias de ese ámbito ni que la finalmente elegida haya sido microplástico», asegura Muller.

Antes de dar a conocer la decisión definitiva, la Fundación publicó una relación de doce palabras finalistas en la que, además de las citadas (microplástico, descarbonizar, hibridar, mena, los nadie y micromachismo), figuraban voces como VAR, sobreturismo, procrastinar, arancel, dataísmo y nacionalpopulismo.

Ver toda la información en nuestro especial Palabra del año 2018.

The People’s Word of 2018

About Words - Cambridge Dictionaries Online blog

From New York to London to Tokyo, fans of the online Cambridge Dictionary have been voting for the word that they believe best sums up the year 2018. Our editors chose a shortlist of four words from this year’s new additions by looking at which ones were most popular and most relevant to 2018, and then asked you – our blog readers and social media followers – to vote.

The votes have now been counted and the People’s Word of 2018 has been decided. The word that received the most votes is:

nomophobianoun [U]

fear or worry at the idea of being without your mobile phone or unable to use it

The Cambridge Dictionary is one of the most popular online dictionaries in the world, and you, our users, are part of a very smart and enthusiastic global community using our free resources. So we were eager to give…

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You look a million dollars! (Describing appearances)

About Words - Cambridge Dictionaries Online blog

Choose what makes you happyby Kate Woodford

Describing other people’s appearances is something most of us do now and then. We might do it in order to ask who someone is: ‘Who was the very smart guy in the blue suit?’ Sometimes we describe how other people look simply because we find it interesting: ‘Sophie always looks so elegant – not a hair out of place!’ If you’d like to expand your vocabulary for describing how people look, read on!

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The new IATE has landed: interview with Paula Zorrilla, coordinator of the project

20 000 lenguas

The new IATE is almost here! This is why we wanted to present you some key ideas about what you can expect from the new IATE. We had the pleasure of interviewing Paula Zorrilla, project coordinator of IATE who gave us some technical and practical trails. Ready to discover them all?

el nuevo IATE disponible

You will find the Spanish version of the interview after the English one. 

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