1 2 3 4 5 Displaying 8-14 of 98 Articles

Whorfianism — the idea that language shapes thought, and each language creates a distinct worldview — is an appealing idea. But there's one problem: Whorfianism, at least dogmatic Whorfianism, is a huge load of bunk, at least according to John McWhorter's new book The Language Hoax: Why the World Looks the Same in Any Language.  Continue reading...
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A few of my female friends have a fun hobby. Not knitting. Not kickboxing. Not baking pies. Not vampire-slaying. Hating Gwyneth Paltrow. I haven't fully grasped my friends' loathing in the past, but I'm beginning to understand, thanks to a humdinger of a euphemism Paltrow used to describe her impending divorce: conscious uncoupling.  Continue reading...
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The Oxford English Dictionary's recent quarterly update added, as usual, as assortment of terms from all over the map. These included ethnomathematics, honky-tonker, honor code, exfoliator, bookaholic, over-under, wackadoo, and the even wackier wackadoodle. But the entry that really caught my eye was bestie, an affectionate term for a best friend.  Continue reading...
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I've written columns culled from the Dictionary of American Regional English (DARE) before, but it wasn't easy. I always had to thumb through the pages like a caveman. No more! Now, finally, DARE is available digitally, allowing this deep well of regional English to be searched easily. This is a bonanza for writers and word nerds everywhere, so get a subscription or take your library hostage until it does so.  Continue reading...
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In just about every city, people repeat variations of the saying, "If you don't like the weather, wait an hour." And for good reason. Weather is an ever-changing — and, on our stressed-out globe — increasingly extreme phenomenon. Weather never stops: it just keeps shifting and mutating into something else. That sounds like another natural phenomenon I know: language.  Continue reading...
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Welcome to another roundup of the euphemisms — new and old, fresh and stale, sweet and salty — that have lately come to my attention. I hope they tickle your funny bone and baffle your think bone.  Continue reading...
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Wit lovers rejoice! There's a new edition (the fifth) of The Oxford Dictionary of Humorous Quotations. Gyles Brandreth has taken the editorial reins from the late Ned Sherrin, and the new edition fine-tunes what was already an impressive and entertaining reference work.  Continue reading...
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1 2 3 4 5 Displaying 8-14 of 98 Articles