The Fairytale Language of the Brothers Grimm
How the Brothers Grimm went hunting for fairytales, accidentally changed the course of historical linguistics, and kickstarted a new field of scholarship in folklore.
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.
Shakespeare, Rembrandt, and the Real “Twelfth Night”
"Twelfth Night" was more than a Shakespeare play; for a very long time it was an extremely popular European winter feast.
In Celebration of Lost Words
At some point in their lexical histories, lost words' original meanings died and have been revived into a mere semblance of their former selves.
From the Mixed-Up History of Mrs., Miss, and Ms.
Language can reveal power dynamics, as in the terms of address, or honorifics, are used to refer to a woman's social status: Mrs., Miss, and Ms.
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.
Sentenced to Death (and Other Tales from the Dark Side of Language)
One cold morning in 1953, Derek Bentley, a nineteen-year-old youth in the wrong place with the wrong words, was hanged for a murder he did not commit.
Fighting Words With the Unabomber
Some of the world's most baffling criminal cases were solved thanks to some seemingly harmless point about language. Take the Unabomber, for example.
Lise Dobrin and Language Documentation in Papua New Guinea
Q&A: Lise Dobrin, Associate Professor & Director of the Interdepartmental Program in Linguistics at the University of Virginia's Department of Anthropology.
The Cozy Linguistics of Hygge and Other “Untranslatable” Words
Why English speakers love "hygge" and other "untranslatable" words about emotional states.