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.

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.

Gone (Cat)Fishing: How Language Detectives Tackle Online Anonymity

Linguistic clues might be the solution to identifying anonymous online users.

All About That Taboo: When Good Words Go Bad

The phenomenon of sacres, or taboo words that start from fairly innocuous beginnings.