gift or poison

Friend or Faux? The Linguistic Trickery of False Friends

"False friends" appear or sound like words in their own language, but have different meanings in others. They give us insight into how language changes.
young women talking

The Totally “Destructive” (Yet Oddly Instructive) Speech Patterns of… Young Women?

Two years ago, this column sprang into life by enthusiastically wading into the absurdly long-running debate about some ...
talk therapy

When Language Can Cure What Ails You

Healthy talk is often promoted as the way for us to become even better humans. But is talking about our health always a key to actual better health?
Trump mouth

The Language Wars

As a society becomes increasingly unstable, linguistic innovation happens more rapidly.
Dr. Evil

Very British Villains (and Other Anglo-Saxon Attitudes to Accents)

What do peoples' accents really reveal about them? The villainous British accent crystallizes the love-hate special relationship between the US and the UK.
Murió la Verdad (The Death of Truth)

The Collapse of Meaning in a Post-Truth World

2016 was certainly an unstable time in history. Even the way we use language to convey our collective fears about the state of society seems fractured.
Copenhagen

The Cozy Linguistics of Hygge and Other “Untranslatable” Words

Why English speakers love "hygge" and other "untranslatable" words about emotional states.
Double exposure image of woman, imagination concept

Synesthetic Adjectives Will Make You Eat Your Words

Fragrant. Sweet. Tangy. Certain synesthetic adjectives actually trigger cognitive simulations of eating.
Nasty Woman Mug

Bad Language for Nasty Women (and Other Gendered Insults)

Is it true that "nasty" is more likely to be applied to describe women than men?
Fresh vegetables salad on wooden table

The Nitty-Gritty on Reduplication: So Good, You Have to Say it Twice.

Reduplication is a widespread linguistic process in which a part or an exact copy of a word is repeated, often for morphological or syntactic reasons (but not always).