USC Dornsife Ph.D. candidate Reed Blaylock spent this past weekend at the American Dialect Society’s annual conference, where he and more than 200 linguists voted on the 2019 “Word of the Year.” They also voted on the “Word of the Decade.”

Pronouns prevailed. Blaylock explains why linguists are so excited about the popularity of the singular “they” – and why it hasn’t been easy for everyone to seamlessly adopt it in everyday speech.

This week we also liked stories about what happens when literally tons of animals die at once, what Soleimani’s funeral had in common with mass mourning during the American Colonial era and where the limits to government assistance should be set.

The American Dialect Society chose ‘they’ as its ‘Word of the Decade.’ abstract_art7/

For linguists, it was the decade of the pronoun

Reed Blaylock, University of Southern California – Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences

Pronouns rarely, if ever, change. Then along came the gender nonbinary 'they,' which was just anointed ‘word of the decade.’

To understand the effects of a big die-off, researchers set up experiments with wild boar carcasses. Brandon Barton, Mississippi State University

Rotting feral pig carcasses teach scientists what happens when tons of animals die all at once, as in Australia’s bushfires

Brandon Barton, Mississippi State University; Abby Jones, Mississippi State University

Death is a natural part of ecosystems. But it's unusual for a large number of animals to all die at once. Researchers are investigating how a mass mortality event affects what's left afterwards.

Your own biases shape what you think about what the poor should eat. Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images

Should government assistance cover pet food or potato chips? It depends who you ask

Steven Shepherd, Oklahoma State University; Troy Campbell, University of Oregon

An often invisible force is undercutting support for policies that help Americans facing economic hardship.

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