compliments

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.
Official Macron portrait

Louis XIV, Napoleon, and Macron: The Choreography of Portraits

Official portraits have been a means of communicating intention and creating image throughout history. Consider three of France's iconic leaders.
gift or poison

Friend or Faux? The Linguistic Trickery of False Friends

"False friends" appear or sound like words in their own language, but have different meanings in others. They give us insight into how language changes.
Eiffel Tower

A Short History of Paris for Travelers

Read up on some of the fascinating history of the City of Lights before you head off on your next romantic vacation.

All About That Taboo: When Good Words Go Bad

The phenomenon of sacres, or taboo words that start from fairly innocuous beginnings.

The Super Secret World of Ludlings – You Know, For Kids!

secret language games or ludlings, have been serious business for young people across the ages.

The Fuss About Josephine Baker

 A new one-woman Broadway show puts Josephine Baker back in the public consciousness.