Filler Words and Floor Holders: The Sounds Our Thoughts Make
So, well, okay, um, like, you know, right?
The Ethical Life of Euphemisms
Euphemisms can hide facts that need to be confronted. How do they work from a linguist's point of view?
The Linguistic Case for Sh*t Hitting the Fan
Idioms have a special power to draw people together in a way that plain speech doesn't.
Are We Being Framed?
How the linguistic trick of framing shapes meaning--and can lead to deception.
When Very Bad Words Are the Sh*t (Linguistically Speaking)
The fact that people can use “literally” about things that can’t possibly be factual may literally make your blood boil.
The Language of Your Love Life
Pet names and baby talk between lovers can be cringe-worthy and even incriminating. So why do couples use such lovey-dovey language?
The Ladylike Language of Letters
Letters reveal how language changes. They also offer a peek into the way people--especially women--have always constructed their private and public selves.
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 Tangled Language of Jargon
What our emotional reaction to jargon reveals about the evolution of the English language, and how the use of specialized terms can manipulate meaning.
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?