The word of the year, face with tears of joy emoji.

Can an Emoji Ever Be a Word?

You might be forgiven for thinking that the merry band of lexicographers at Oxford Dictionaries were trolling us ...
People enjoying their evening on a beach on Honolulu, Hawaii.

Mele Kalikimaka! How To Say “Merry Christmas” In Hawaiian

Translating "Merry Christmas" into Hawaiian offers insight into the language's modest inventory of consonants.
Time is money.

It Turns Out Ordinary Life is Full of Poetry (Metaphorically Speaking)

The metaphor isn't just a literary device; it informs our conceptual understanding of language and the world.
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.
Four young men in trendy clothes take a selfie while out partying

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.
circa 1955:  American humorist and author John Henry Faulk (1913 - 1990), narrates the history of early America in a still from the television program,'They Call It Folk Music.'  (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Hearing Harriet Smith

In the University of Texas library, our writer found a previously unknown audiotape of an interview with a woman who'd been born into slavery.
Anti-immigration protest sign

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.