Woman shakes head in blurred motion against business buzzwords

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.
Appalachian Mountains dialect

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?
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.
Australian kids

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.
Declaration drafting

When Did Colonial America Gain Linguistic Independence?

By the time the Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776, did colonial Americans still sound like their British counterparts?
Oxford spires

Old English Has a Serious Image Problem

Although studying the language known as “Anglo-Saxon” helped women advance in the academy, the subject is fraught with racist associations.
Old Books

Melvil Dewey’s Attempt at a Spelling Revolution

Melvil Dewey, of the Dewey Decimal system, thought we should have spelling reform.