Speech Bubbles

When Actions Are Words

How certain speech acts perform actions and alter our social reality.
Portrait of William Shakespeare

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.

More Hipster Than Thou: Is Vintage Language Back in Vogue?

A look at the recent boon in archaic terms and its relationship to "hipster" culture.
Pieter Brueghel the Elder (1526/1530–1569) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Syllables Without Vowels? Pfft, Inconceivable!

Is the syllable universal? Maybe. We look at how languages use (and don't use) syllables, and what this says about language itself.

Migrants, Refugees, and Expats: How Humanity Comes in Waves

The language we use for people fleeing their home nations may define them as less than human.

Yas Queen! It’s the Spelling Reform School for Wayward Words

Debates over English spelling reform have existed for centuries.

Dear Pedants: Your Fave Grammar Rule is Probably Fake

What constitutes ‘correct’ grammar in English seems to have a cyclical life, aided and abetted by new generations of enthusiastic grammarians.

The Loneliness of the Long Distance Speaker: Linguistic Isolation in the Modern World

Ayapaneco, an endangered Mexican language, sparked linguistic interest when the last two speakers of the language were not speaking to each other

Ex Machinations in the Turing Test

Artificial Intelligence and the Turing Test.