Children playing ring around the rosie

The Linguistics of Cooties (and Other Weird Things Kids Say)

The game of cooties lets children learn about the idea of contagion, but kid culture and wordplay aren't meant for adults.
Franz Boas

The Life and Times of Franz Boas

The founder of cultural anthropology, Franz Boas challenged the reigning notions of race and culture.
Several beers in a row

Did Humans Once Live by Beer Alone? An Oktoberfest Tale

Some scholars have suggested that humans first started growing domesticated grains in order to make not bread, but beer.
A person holding a newspaper on fire

How Language and Climate Connect

While we’re losing biological diversity, we’re also losing linguistic and cultural diversity at the same time. This is no coincidence.
Bread Turkey roasted baked

Baking Vs. Roasting

We cook bread, meat, and vegetables much the same way: in our ovens. So why do we say we "bake" bread, but we "roast" meat and veggies?

Edward S. Curtis: Romance vs. Reality

In a famous 1910 photograph "In a Piegan Lodge," a small clock appears between two seated Native American men. In a later print, the clock is missing.
bored woman

On Embracing Boredom

What does "boredom" even mean? As both a word and a concept, boredom is not a universal phenomenon but a historical construction specific to our times.
Dracula in a 1931 movie poster

The Real Vampires of Europe

In general, a vampire is a malicious spirit or soul of the deceased who is not confined to the grave. Where did the idea come from?
Origins of speech crow

The Origins of Human Speech: More Like a Raven or a Writing Desk?

Language is the cognitive faculty that separates humans from other animals, but interjections have often been equated with the primitive cries of animals.
Bonnie Nardi avatar

Bonnie Nardi

Welcome to Ask a Professor, our series that offers an insider’s view of life in academia. This month we interviewed Bonnie Nardi.