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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.
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.
Linguistic Anarchy! It’s all Pun and Games Until Somebody Loses a Sign
The pun is in an interesting bind: it is both ubiquitous and reviled. We try to understand why.