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Talk the Talk

Rosie Right

As our language adapts to all the new technology we encounter every day, new words pop up. They may or may not remain with us, and only time will tell.

Rosie found an interesting one on World Wide Words the other day.

This language newsletter described electrosmog:

"The term is currently in the news because of a dispute between the Italian government and the Vatican over the intensity of the signal from Vatican Radio. Rome's expansion means that the area around the transmitters, almost unpopulated 50 years ago, now has some 100,000 inhabitants. The Vatican, a sovereign state, allows itself higher field strengths from transmitters than does Italy. Though this dispute has publicized the term, it has actually been around for some time, in a relatively specialist way, to refer to the sea of electromagnetic radiation from broadcast and mobile telephone transmitters in which we involuntarily bathe. Back in 1996, a firm in Durham, North Carolina, responding to concerns about the health implications of such radiation, manufactured a 'cybercap' out of metallic fabric that was supposed to shield the wearer from the electrosmog, so described, that was given off by wireless networks.

"Angered by constant references in the Italian media to electrosmog coming from his radio station, Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican Radio's director of programmes, said in a statement: 'We consider it immoral to foment unjust accusations and cause alarm in the population'."

To read more about new words you can go to:

Tactful Touché

Reader Stephen C. Coy has written to point out an error in Rosie's May 8 column. He tactfully sugarcoated his message by beginning it "I am a fan of your column." As Rosie happily read along, however, she came to this last sentence:

"I also hope that, in addition to grammar and the good use of idioms, you will agree that spelling is important. Certainly the fastidious critic Alexander Woollcott, whose name you misspelled in the Style of May 8, would be among those who think so."

Alas, we did print Woollcott's name as Wollcott. No

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