The Sorry State of Apologies
"Sorry" can be more than a mere word when it has real-world consequences.
When the Telephone Was Considered Feminine
Being difficult to understand on the other end of the line was a badge of masculinity.
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.
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.
When Language Goes Viral
How do innocuous words become insidious in the face of a public health emergency?
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.
Black English Matters
People who criticize African American Vernacular English don't see that it shares grammatical structures with more "prestigious" languages.
The Theory of Cuss Word Relativity
Which words are considered taboo varies by place and time, scholars find.
Where Do Finger Names Come From?
Our names for our fingers show a surprising depth of cultural variation—and similarity.
Cancel Culture Is Chaotic Good
Cancel culture may prove to be the most memorable linguistic trend of the past decade.