Latest news: Call for Papers 2018 Annual Meeting, Jan. 5–8, Salt Lake City

Call for Papers 2018 Annual Meeting, Jan. 5–8, Salt Lake City

May 1st, 2017 § Comments Off on Call for Papers 2018 Annual Meeting, Jan. 5–8, Salt Lake City § permalink

From Thursday, January 4 through Sunday, January 7, 2018, ADS will again follow the Linguistic Society of America westward, this time to Salt Lake City, for our annual meeting at the Grand America Hotel.

Monday, August 14, is the deadline for proposals for 20-minute presentations. After successfully implementing a new procedure for 2017, we will continue it this year. Abstracts will be submitted, reviewed and processed for ADS2018 via the EasyChair system using the following Web site:

Proposals will be judged anonymously by a team of ADS members. If your proposal is accepted, you’ll be asked for an abstract of no more than 200 words for the LSA program.

This year a poster session will again be available. If you prefer to present at a poster session, please say so with your proposal.

Presenters must be current members of the American Dialect Society. Do not send the same proposal to both ADS and LSA.

Panels: If you wish to propose a panel session of an hour, please get in touch now with Program Chair Michael Adams at

Audio-visual equipment: An LCD projector with sound will be available for all presentations, along with a microphone. If you will need other equipment, please say so when you send your proposal.

Scheduling: The meeting will follow this schedule:

Thursday, January 4: Executive Council and annual business meeting in afternoon. Program session in late afternoon, followed by Word of the Year nominations.

Friday, January 5: Program sessions in early morning and all afternoon. Poster session in late morning. Words of the Year vote and Bring-Your-Own-Book reception in early evening.

Saturday, January 6: Program sessions in morning and afternoon; Annual Luncheon in between. Luncheon speaker: Guy Bailey, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. “The Life and Growth of Language in an Age of Catastrophic Events.”

Sunday, January 7: Program sessions in morning.

Session chairs: If you’re interested in chairing a session, let the Executive Secretary know at Tell him any preference you have for time or topic.

Travel grants for students: Six travel grants of $500 each will be awarded to students whose papers have been chosen for the program. Furthermore, all students who are members of ADS are invited to attend the Annual Luncheon for free.

Travel grant for ADS member: The seventh annual Audrey Duckert Memorial Travel Award of $500 to attend the Annual Meeting will be given to an ADS member. The recipient will be chosen by ADS President Sali A. Tagliamonte. Applications in the form of a letter to President Tagliamonte will be due after the program for the Annual Meeting has been determined. Audrey Duckert was a long-time member of ADS and co-founder of the Dictionary of American Regional English.

Hotel and registration: ADS members will be eligible to reserve rooms and register for the meeting at LSA member rates. For details see the website

Future LSA-ADS meetings: 2019: New York City, Jan. 3-6, Sheraton New York Times Square.

WOTY: As we have done for a quarter of a century, we will choose candidates for Word of the Year on Thursday and vote for our WOTY the next day, with our Bring-Your-Own-Book exhibit and reception immediately following. Nominations for Words of the Year can be submitted all year long to


“Dumpster fire” is 2016 American Dialect Society word of the year

January 6th, 2017 § Comments Off on “Dumpster fire” is 2016 American Dialect Society word of the year § permalink

JW MARRIOTT, AUSTIN, TX—JAN. 6—In its 27th annual words of the year vote, the American Dialect Society voted for dumpster fire as the Word of the Year for 2016. Defined as “an exceedingly disastrous or chaotic situation,” the term dumpster fire was selected as best representing the public discourse and preoccupations of the past year.

Presiding at the Jan. 6 voting session were ADS Executive Secretary Allan Metcalf of MacMurray College and Ben Zimmer, chair of the New Words Committee of the American Dialect Society. Zimmer is also the language columnist for the Wall Street Journal.

As a metaphor for a situation that is out of control or poorly handled, dumpster fire came into prominence in 2016, very frequently in the context of the U.S. presidential campaign. It evokes an image of an uncontrolled blaze in a dumpster, a large trash receptacle that originated as a proprietary name. Dumpster was in commercial use beginning in the 1930s before becoming genericized.

The expression came to be used metaphorically, a rough equivalent of train wreck, chiefly on sports talk radio, before being circulated in wider use as a highly negative term for such events as the 2016 campaign season. On Twitter and other social media, the “trashcan” and “fire” emoji were combined to provide a visual representation: 🗑🔥.

“As 2016 unfolded, many people latched on to dumpster fire as a colorful, evocative expression to verbalize their feelings that the year was shaping up to be a catastrophic one,” Zimmer said. “In pessimistic times, dumpster fire served as a darkly humorous summation of how many viewed the year’s events.”

Word of the Year is interpreted in its broader sense as “vocabulary item”—not just words but phrases. The words or phrases do not have to be brand-new, but they have to be newly prominent or notable in the past year.

The vote is the longest-running such vote anywhere, the only one not tied to commercial interests, and the word-of-the-year event up to which all others lead. It is fully informed by the members’ expertise in the study of words, but it is far from a solemn occasion.

Members in the 128-year-old organization include linguists, lexicographers, etymologists, grammarians, historians, researchers, writers, editors, students, and independent scholars. In conducting the vote, they act in fun and do not pretend to be officially inducting words into the English language. Instead, they are highlighting that language change is normal, ongoing, and entertaining.

In a companion vote, sibling organization the American Name Society voted “Aleppo” as Name of the Year for 2016 in its twelfth annual name-of-the-year contest.

Read the full press release, including all winners, candidates, and vote tallies for all candidates.


Where Am I?

You are currently browsing the News category at American Dialect Society.