julie sedivy


It’s not ‘fracking!’ We call it ‘deep earth massage’

Alberta made a cameo on the justly popular Language Log linguistics website last week. U of Calgary prof Julie Sedivy signed in to discuss some survey evidence from Louisiana that public resistance to “fracking” (i.e., hydraulic fracturing, a method of extracting oil and gas more efficiently by injecting high-pressure sand, water, and sometimes other chemicals into wells) may result, in part, just from the unpleasantness of the word. The industry tends to use “frac” as an adjective; “fracking” as a verb is a media creation, though, it must be said, not really an unsuitable one. Hydraulic fracturing is intended in part to crack up petroleum-bearing rock strata, so there’s an onomatopoeic appropriateness there.