Mrs. Malaprop

The Monstrous Words Lurking in Your Language

“You have hissed all my mystery lectures. I saw you fight a liar in the back quad; in ...
The Tornadoes

The Linguistics of My Next Band Name

Why do certain combinations of words make good band names? Linguistic research points to "semantic space."
Portland, OR sign

How to Navigate by Nostalgia: The Linguistics of Place Names

Place names are often intimately tied to nostalgia and history.

The Deafening (((Echoes))) of Marked Language

What is marked language, and what does it have to do with the online hate speech of anti-semitic "Echoes" on Twitter?

In Which We Get to the Bottom of Some Crazy-Ass Language

Strong language has a unique place in linguistics. 
Commencement vocab visualization

The Delightful Language of Commencement

Commencement speeches have inspired, motivated and captivated many. Just what makes the words found in them so wonderful and life-affirming? 
Mr. Bumble, full-length, standing, facing left, pointing with right hand. Illus. in: The Characters of Charles Dickens pourtrayed (sic) in a series of original water colour sketches by "Kyd", color lithograph, Raphael Tuck & Sons, London, ca. 1899.

Charles Dickens and the Linguistic Art of the Minor Character

Charles Dickens' characters are famous for their elaborate, often hilarious names. Even for bit parts, Dickens' naming conventions were linguistically rich.
A tray of pigs in a blanket.

Putting Words in Your Mouth: The Whimsical Language of Food

Many whimsically named regional foods focus instead on telling a story that often sounds neither delicious nor sophisticated. How do such odd names stick?
McCain giving an interview to the press on April 24, 1973, after his return from Vietnam. Photo by US News and World Report.

Language Loss in a Time of War

War happens when words no longer work. Yet war is declared at the very point when words are at their most powerful. Chi Luu examines language loss in war.
Violette Personified NYPL Collections

Personification Is Your Friend: The Language of Inanimate Objects

So it entirely slipped my mind that Lingua Obscura recently turned one (yay!) and is now a veritable ...