What The Idiot teaches us about the failures of language

Elif Batuman’s novel The Idiot superficially reads as a bright undergraduate’s intellectual autobiography about her first love. But really, it’s about the ways language structures and distorts the way we think, feel, and relate. This is the story of Selin, a precocio
Read More

How am I? I'm not fine. No one is fine.

An acquaintance walks by at the grocery store while you’re hazily caressing the avocados and asks you how you are, because it’s only polite. “Oh,” you say, dropping the avocado, “I’m fine, how are you?” “Fine, fine,” they say, and
Read More

A phonological description of beatbox noises

on this story. …read more Source:: Language       
Read More

How Trump trumped trump

A few weeks ago, I had a conversation with my brother about trump. You know, the regular old word with a lowercase t, the one unrelated to America’s president — or at least, the one that used to be. Until relatively recently, trump pretty much still meant, as a verb, “to g
Read More

How quaint 18th-century 'spell-fights' evolved into the Scripps National Spelling Bee

America has long loved the spelling bee. Indeed, long before ESPN, the Scripps Howard News Service, or Dictionary.com, tiny orthographers were navigating the tricky, unpredictable terrain of the English language for the sake of education, entertainment, and the glory that comes with n
Read More

Why even terrible spellers love the spelling bee

I have always been an a-t-r-o-c-i-o-u-s speller. That made the half-hour drive to elementary school, when my father would hold in one hand the despised, coffee-stained piece of paper containing the 10 words I had to memorize for that week, one of my most miserable childhood rituals. &
Read More

Impress your fellow Americans with the patriotic etymologies of these July 4 words

It’s Independence Day, and it’s time to raise Old Glory high, spend a few greenbacks on fireworks, and sing “The Star-Spangled Banner”! While you’re doing that, pause for a moment and reflect on a great seldom-asked question: What is the definition of spa
Read More

Your family name did not come from a mistake at Ellis Island

on this story. …read more Source:: Language       
Read More

Game of Thrones: 5 fun facts about the Valyrian language

fun facts about the Valyrian language. …read more Source:: Language       
Read More

A linguist's guide to HULK SMASH

on this story. …read more Source:: Language       
Read More