Taylor Swift at the 2019 MTV Video Music Awards

The Linguistic Evolution of Taylor Swift

If Taylor Swift shifts her accent in her transition from country to pop, does she lose the personal authenticity important to country music?

How to Meme What You Say

The linguistic theories behind what we're trying to say when we adapt and share internet memes.
George Floyd's image is projected on the Robert E. Lee Monument as people gather around on June 18, 2020 in Richmond, Virginia.

The Sorry State of Apologies

"Sorry" can be more than a mere word when it has real-world consequences.
Anita Louise chats on the telephone in a scene from The Gay Lady, 1935

When the Telephone Was Considered Feminine

Being difficult to understand on the other end of the line was a badge of masculinity.
Electric Fan

The Linguistic Case for Sh*t Hitting the Fan

Idioms have a special power to draw people together in a way that plain speech doesn't.
Children playing ring around the rosie

The Linguistics of Cooties (and Other Weird Things Kids Say)

The game of cooties lets children learn about the idea of contagion, but kid culture and wordplay aren't meant for adults.
Two face masks in front of some text about the COVID-19 virus

When Language Goes Viral

How do innocuous words become insidious in the face of a public health emergency?
A Reading from Homer by Lawrence Alma Tadema, 1885

How Do We Know That Epic Poems Were Recited from Memory?

Scholars once doubted that pre-literate peoples could ever have composed and recited poems as long as the Odyssey. Milman Parry changed that.
3 boys hanging out outside laughing

Black English Matters

People who criticize African American Vernacular English don't see that it shares grammatical structures with more "prestigious" languages.
Pop art style comics panel angry woman grinding teeth with speech bubble and swear words symbols

The Theory of Cuss Word Relativity

Which words are considered taboo varies by place and time, scholars find.