One businessman bowing and one businessman with his hand out

The Accents of Our Bodies: Proxemics as Communication

American language educator Max Kirch suggests that adopting the nonverbal habits of another culture gives one’s behavior a "foreign accent."
The Rosetta Stone

Jean-François Champollion Deciphers the Rosetta Stone

On September 27, 1822, the French philologist announced that he’d decrypted the key that would unlock Egypt’s ancient past.
An illustration from Alice in Wonderland; a dramatization of Lewis Carroll's "Alice's adventures in Wonderland" and "Through the looking glass," 1915

Who Made That Word and Why?

No matter how many words in a language, it seems that we always need just one more to explain ourselves.
The First "Computer Bug" Moth found trapped between points at Relay # 70, Panel F, of the Mark II Aiken Relay Calculator at Harvard University, 9 September 1947.

The Bug in the Computer Bug Story

Soon after a team of engineers discovered a moth in a machine at Harvard, the word "bug" became a standard part of the programmer's lexicon. Or did it?
An illustration of a mechanical watch mechanism

Chronemics and the Nonverbal Language of Time

Through the lens of chronemics, we can examine why time appears to have a different essence at, well, different times.
Two open mouths with water ripples emanating out towards each other

Words on the Way In: A Retrospective

The first installment of a new column on living language: talking about COVID (talk)
Paris, France, 1900

Graffiti: Jaytalking in 19th Century Paris

The files of Paris police from the late nineteenth century reveal the tumultuous politics of the time through the graffiti recorded in them.
Two policemen interrogating somebody

How Being Polite with Police Can Backfire

When it comes to interactions with the police, the law favors direct speech. But that's not always the way we're trained to speak to people in power.
Boy and girl standing in front of camera with car.

Fun with Naming Decades in History

Whether the 2020s will roar remains to be seen, but people have been coming up with nicknames for decades since the Elegant (18)80s.