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

on this story. …read more Source:: Language       
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Game of Thrones: 5 fun facts about the Valyrian language

fun facts about the Valyrian language. …read more Source:: Language       
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A linguist's guide to HULK SMASH

on this story. …read more Source:: Language       
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How 'thoughts and prayers' became the stock phrase of tragedies

“My thoughts and prayers are with the families of those killed and wounded,” Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) said about Sunday night’s mass shooting in Las Vegas. “All of those affected are in our thoughts and prayers,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Hu
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Why so strangely Yoda speaks?

on this story. Want more Star Wars? Try these: Confessions of a Star Wars nerd The best Star Wars movie is The Ewok Adventure What Darth Vader sounded like on the Star Wars set (podcast) …read more Source:: Language       
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Almost every language has a word for 'Christmas.' Few reference Christ.

on this story. …read more Source:: Language       
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How the world's languages handle thorny gender issues

As everyone knows, there are two genders: common and neuter. What? Well, everyone in Stockholm knows that. So does everyone in Amsterdam. Go to Berlin or Moscow, though, and they’ll tell you there are three genders: masculine, feminine, and neuter. So will people in many other c
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