318 Words for Snow: How to Preserve the Indigenous Languages of the Arctic

How scientists, linguists, and activists are working together to preserve indigenous languages in the Arctic—as well as the region's biodiversity.
Commencement vocab visualization

The Delightful Language of Commencement

Commencement speeches have inspired, motivated and captivated many. Just what makes the words found in them so wonderful and life-affirming? 
Mr. Bumble, full-length, standing, facing left, pointing with right hand. Illus. in: The Characters of Charles Dickens pourtrayed (sic) in a series of original water colour sketches by "Kyd", color lithograph, Raphael Tuck & Sons, London, ca. 1899.

Charles Dickens and the Linguistic Art of the Minor Character

Charles Dickens' characters are famous for their elaborate, often hilarious names. Even for bit parts, Dickens' naming conventions were linguistically rich.
Anger during protest David Shankbone Interrupting

Man, Interrupting

Do men interrupt more than women? Why? A look at the research on gender and interrupting.
A tray of pigs in a blanket.

Putting Words in Your Mouth: The Whimsical Language of Food

Many whimsically named regional foods focus instead on telling a story that often sounds neither delicious nor sophisticated. How do such odd names stick?
McCain giving an interview to the press on April 24, 1973, after his return from Vietnam. Photo by US News and World Report.

Language Loss in a Time of War

War happens when words no longer work. Yet war is declared at the very point when words are at their most powerful. Chi Luu examines language loss in war.
Sarah Webster Fabio

Sarah Webster Fabio: Mother of Black Studies

Poet, teacher, musician, and scholar of black literature, Sarah Webser Fabio, helped build a Black Arts movement on the West Coast.
Violette Personified NYPL Collections

Personification Is Your Friend: The Language of Inanimate Objects

So it entirely slipped my mind that Lingua Obscura recently turned one (yay!) and is now a veritable ...

Do You Even Language, Bro? Understanding Why Nouns Become Verbs

Understanding the phenomenon known as "verbing"--where nouns are turned into verbs. 
Siri

Could Siri Change the Course of Human Evolution?

Siri is changing the way people speak by homogenizing how things are spoken. Which begs the question: Why do we have accents?