Quick Summary: Lawyers don’t need a special word todesignate their weblogs. Weblog technology is not beingused in any special way at law sites. No other group orprofession has coined a special word for their categoryof weblogs. By insisting on using the trivializing, confusingand too-cute word “blawg,” lawyers appear to be elitist, clan-nish, or childish (likely, all three). Those who agree can helpstop the terminology from becoming a generally-acceptedpart of the English language (and spread worldwide), by notusing the term “blawg” and by declaring their choice publically.“Whether or not a neologism continuesas part of the language depends on manyfactors, probably the most important of whichis acceptance by the public.”I’ve come to know you as an articulate lover of the English language.As far as I know, you don’t say “lawgic” or “lawnguage,” drink “lawtte,”bill clawents, or use Blawk‘s Dictionary. You don’t call lazy associates“slawkers,” and have yet to dub Jack Abramoff a “lawbbyist.”
You’re usually a skeptic and no fan of “cute.” If linguists called theirweblogs “blings” (or argonauts called theirs “blargs”), you’d probablysmirk. But, no other group uses such verbal oddities in classifying theirweblogs. So, Ed, why do you, and other otherwise-serious members ofthe legal community, refer to law-oriented weblogs as “blawgs?” Whytake an insider pun by a popular lawyer-webdiva (which should have beenpassed around and admired briefly as a witty one-off) and help perpetuate it?
….blawgIn a recent posting (Old Lawyers Have Web Logs), you defended usingthe word “blawg” by saying:– it “helps communicate the thought”– “blog is in the dictionary and “blawg” will soon be, too– “blawg .. now has almost two million references on Google”– “the word blawg is pronounced the same as the word blog,so there is absolutely no confusion in oral communication– “In the written word, blawg is easily intelligible and conveysadditional meaning to readers and to search engines.”– “So, if you encounter someone who doesn’t know what blawgmeans, kindly tell them to google it.Let’s take your points on the word blawg one by one:It “helps communicate the thought” That simply doesn’t appear tobe true. Most members of the public are far more likely to think itsa take-off on the incredibly overused “dawg” for dog, rather than areference to law-related weblogs. Insiders know what it is, outsidersdo not and are very likely to view it as adolescent jargon.blog is in the dictionary and “blawg” will soon be, too — (a) the pointof this Letter is to show that it is not inevitable nor desirable that“blawg” become a permanent part of the language; and (b) there area lot of nonsense words in the dictionary, but there’s no good reasonwhy discerning people — especially those who make their living byartfully employing words — use such words.“blawg .. now has almost two million references on Google” This provesvirtually nothing (and note: today there were 1, 510,000 results). Thetop ten results today are instructive. Eight of the first 9 are for entitiesthat have a stake in breaking law-related weblogs off from the rest ofthe blogiverse. The other is by law students. The tenth result suggeststhat Nancy Stinson has named her Stark County Law Library weblog a“blawg,”which is not true. [By the way, there are 2,740,000 results for“dawg” today at Google. Should p/i lawyers start looking for dawg-biteclients?]“the word blawg is pronounced the same as the word blog, so thereis absolutely no confusion in oral communication” — Just like there’s noconfusion when we speak of “aural” communication? Frankly, I wassurprised to read that you pronounce “blog” and “blawg” in the sameway (as, apparently, does Trevor Hill). That underscores the notionthat the word is just an insider gimmick, because the two words don’tneed to be homophones. Merriam-Webster online, for example, does notpronounce “blog” in a manner that makes it homophonic with “blawg.”quite distinct from the “aw” in “law.”follow-up: See our January 24, 2006 post “speak blawg?” for a linguistic look at such blended words.
January 19, 2006
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