Black English Matters
People who criticize African American Vernacular English don't see that it shares grammatical structures with more "prestigious" languages.
What Ever Happened to the Beetheads?
A lighthearted look at Americans' nicknames of yore, from master humorist H. L. Mencken.
Why Did “Thieves’ Cant” Carry an Unshakeable Allure?
If thieves’ cant—a language known only to criminals—was the Devil’s cabinet, bourgeois society couldn’t help but peep inside.
The Hidden Life of Modal Verbs
A linguist explains why we get so distracted by the fiery language of politics, while ignoring urgent information reported by scientists.
The Legendary Language of the Appalachian “Holler”
Is the unique Appalachian dialect the preserved language of Elizabethan England? Left over from Scots-Irish immigrants? Or something else altogether?
The Uncertain Art of the American Compliment
The way Americans compliment is maximalist and enthusiastic, but it may not always be sincere. Our resident linguist unpacks the language of politeness.
The Unspeakable Linguistics of Camp
When gay and lesbian people had to invent their own languages with which to talk with each other, camp led the way.
The Lost Language of American Loggers
Logger slang may have coined terms like "punk," "haywire," and "pie in the sky." One lexicographer attempted to catalogue the industry's slang in 1942.
The Murky Linguistics of Consent
In many #MeToo stories, crucial signals, verbal and non-verbal cues, are sent but not received. Why is that?
Small Poppy Syndrome: Why are Australians so Obsessed With Nicknaming Things?
What's behind the Australian habit of nicknaming and abbreviating everything? Nicknames may just reveal how Australians see themselves and relate to each other.