Tuesday, October 30, 2007


seachanger noun [C] Australian

a person who makes a significant change in lifestyle by moving to the seaside or country

seachange noun [C] Australian
a significant change in lifestyle

'Bumper house prices in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, have financed thousands of seachangers. There are now about 4 million people living in coastal areas such as the Maroochy Shire. Another million are expected in the next 15 years.'
The Sydney Morning Herald, 11th October 2004

'Are you dreaming about escaping the suburban rat race and heading to the coast? This is your opportunity to make a seachange.'
www.communicatcareers.com.au, 2005

People who are fed up with the pressures of city life often dream of making a fresh start in a country or seaside location, where the air is clean and the pace of life more relaxed. Australia has in recent years witnessed a significant trend in realizing this kind of dream, with thousands of professional people leaving cities like Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane for a more idyllic lifestyle in areas such as the Queensland coast. These types are referred to as the seachangers, people who have decided to improve their quality of life by moving to the coast or countryside.

This radical transformation in lifestyle is sometimes also described by the related countable noun seachange, often occurring as make a seachange to refer to the act of relocating. Seachange was highlighted as one of the buzzwords of Australian English in 2004, featuring in academic studies and government reports. So great has been the seachange influx that coastal communities are warning that the lifestyle which attracted people will be destroyed, ruined by overcrowding. Councils around the Australian coast have formed a National Seachange Taskforce to lobby for assistance with planning and the funding of amenities.

The words treechanger and treechange have been coined as alternatives in recent months, in response to the observation that seachange(r) is increasingly being used in the context of locations which aren't necessarily coastal, and is therefore beginning to lose its association with the actual sea.

The word seachanger originates from a popular Australian drama series called SeaChange, which features a lawyer who leaves the pressures of the city to start a new life as a magistrate in the sleepy seaside town of Pearl Bay.

The name for the series was cleverly based on the compound noun sea change , which describes a radical change in the nature of something. Sea change is often used in political contexts, referring to a significant shift in policy or opinion. The expression sea change in fact has its origins with Shakespeare, occurring in a song from The Tempest:

Full fathom five thy father lies:
Of his bones are coral made:
Those are pearls that were his eyes:
Nothing of him that doth fade
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange.

Shakespeare meant that the sea (i.e. submersion in water) caused a transformation of the body (of Ferdinand's father). Though the original expression featured a hyphen, most modern dictionaries record sea change as an open compound (i.e. with a space, rather than a hyphen), and increasingly it's occurring as a solid compound (i.e. as one word, with no space), as reflected by Australian usage of seachange and seachanger

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


nanopublishing noun [U]

low-cost online publishing which uses techniques based on blogging (writing weblogs) to target a specific audience

nanopublisher noun [C]
nanopublished adjective

'Nanopublishing will not replace magazine publishing or mass media. It is a new opportunity. It won't make money for political punditry or for the diaries of college students. But it will work for gadgets and sex and special interests such as disease - imagine a great weblog for diabetics - because it is so cheap to publish.' The Guardian, 30th January 2003

'Nanopublisher Nick Denton is apparently making cash from his sites .'
livejournal.com, 26th November 2004

A weblog, or blog , is an online personal journal which is frequently updated and usually intended for general public consumption, often incorporating subjects of topical interest. The practice of blogging (writing weblogs), which began to emerge in the late nineties, has steadily gained in popularity during the last two or three years, with issues such as support or opposition to the war with Iraq triggering more widespread use of blogs as a platform for expression of opinions in a variety of political and social contexts (though not without potential risks, as a recent Word of The Week article on the new term dooced illustrates!).

Though weblogs have traditionally been of personal and non-commercial origin, entrepreneurs in the blogging community have more recently begun to realise that they have potential in reaching a very large audience quickly and cheaply. Blogs can be exploited for marketing, advertising and media purposes, targeting audiences with specific opinions or interests. This kind of activity has given rise to a recent neologism in online business: nanopublishing , with the noun nanopublisher coined to refer to bloggers who engage in it. There is also some evidence for a derived adjective nanopublished.

Among the first examples of nanopublishing blogs was Gizmodo, launched in August 2002 by New York based publisher Nick Denton. Gizmodo is aimed at gadget enthusiasts, with almost every gadget reviewed there linked to a purchase page on the Amazon shopping site . With minimal start-up and maintenance costs, but the potential to generate commission through links to Amazon and other retail sites , weblogs such as Gizmodo have inspired other blogging entrepreneurs to invest time and money in nanopublishing.

The word nanopublishing was coined by Jeff Jarvis, creative director of the US company Advance Publications Inc. Jarvis first used the term after being shown Gawker, a New York media gossip weblog launched by Nick Denton in December 2002. The prefix nano- is derived from the Greek word nanos , meaning 'dwarf', and is used figuratively in the word to denote the idea of 'publishing on an extremely small scale'. An alternative term incorporating the same idea is thin media.

The term weblog first came into general recognition in 1997. The original use of its shortened form blog is thought to be attributed to Californian Peter Merholz, who in May 1999 posted the following in his weblog: 'For What It's Worth: I've decided to pronounce the word "weblog" as wee-blog. Or "blog" for short.' Blog was immediately adopted as a noun, and as a verb meaning 'to write weblogs', and gained currency when later in the same year the web publishing tool Blogger was launched by Pyra Labs, a dotcom that was bought by Google in 2003. The term blogger subsequently came into general use as a reference to 'someone who writes weblogs.'

Monday, October 15, 2007


(also timesis) noun (C,U)

Tmesis is a long-established word in English which has remained relatively obscure, though it refers to the well-known creative process of splitting existing words and placing others in between. This is a productive process of word formation, often also described by theoretical linguists as infixation, but used specifically for the purpose of adding emphasis. Conventional definitions of tmesis refer to the division of compound words, like, for instance, the splitting of whatsoever in what place soever or what man soever . However, there is plenty of current evidence for tmesis occurring in not just compound words but also between morphemes (word components) with analysable meaning, as in im-bloody-possible and even purely between syllables as in abso-blooming-lutely. Abso-blooming-lutely was first famously used by the character Eliza Doolittle in George Bernard Shaw's classic play Pygmalion (1916) , but the use of tmesis has been revisited in recent years in the language of fictional characters such as David Brent in the BBC comedy series The Office, or Rachel in the UK television drama series Cold Feet, who popularised the use of fan-bloody-tastic . Modern use of tmesis is almost exclusively confined to the infixation of expletives such as blooming, bloody or worse!

The term tmesis is based on the same word in Greek, meaning 'cutting', and developed from the Greek verb temnein, 'to cut'. An often quoted original example of tmesis is the splitting of the word however in Shakespeare's Richard II:
'If on the first, how heinous e'er it be, To win thy after-love I pardon thee.'

Tmesis normally occurs in words that have three or more syllables, and the infixed word generally occurs before the syllable which bears the stress, hence fan-bloody-tastic rather than fantas-bloody-tic.