3 4 5 6 7 Displaying 29-35 of 122 Articles

Teach a computer to recognize some rules about language, develop algorithms for computers to apply to big buckets of text, and before you know it, computers may be able to tell you things about language or extracted from language that you didn't know before, or that the writer didn't suspect he or she was revealing.  Continue reading...

In the Language Lounge, we look at how language changes incrementally over time in ways that are not obvious to one or two generations of speakers, but become obvious over a span of decades or centuries. Need proof? Just look at the elliptical grammar of English-language headlines, which can stump non-native speakers.  Continue reading...

When we argue about the "authenticity" of a linguistic representation, be it a holy text or the screenplay of a period drama like Mad Men or Downton Abbey, what are we really arguing about? In this month's Language Lounge, we delve into the knotty question of how "fungible" words and meanings can be.  Continue reading...

A recent article in Wired by Anne Trubek argues that the advent of the fully digital age will — and should — have as great an influence on English spelling as the age of print did, more than half a millennium ago. The author, a professor at Oberlin College, argues that our current obsession with correct spelling is out of keeping with the digital age: "Consistent spelling was a great way to ensure clarity in the print era. But with new technologies, the way that we write and read (and search and data-mine) is changing, and so must spelling." Must it?  Continue reading...

Emotional transport is not a regular feature or goal of popular music, which seems generally to be the aural equivalent of snack food. Popular tunes are littered with disposable lyrics. And yet every now and then, the language of a song can take you outside the confines of the three-minute window to something more enduring.  Continue reading...

Long ago (in fact, seven years to the day), when the paint on the walls of the Language Lounge was still fresh, we talked about the ways in which sexism is reflected in the lexicon of English, using word maps in the Visual Thesaurus. The occasion was Women's History Month, and now, since that occasion has rolled around again, it's a suitable time to have another look at gender inequality in language.  Continue reading...

In this month's Language Lounge, we explore one of the most curious corners of contemporary consumer culture: the litany of side effects in commercials for prescription drugs, in which sometimes horrifying conditions are narrated over pleasing images. Warning: May cause unsettling contemplation.  Continue reading...

3 4 5 6 7 Displaying 29-35 of 122 Articles