6 7 8 9 10 Displaying 50-56 of 356 Articles

In his new book The Story of English in 100 Words, the absurdly prolific David Crystal provides a unique answer to a question he poses: "How can we tell the story of the English language?"  Continue reading...
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Richard Bailey's Speaking American is one of those books I wish I could make every prescriptivist grouch in the world read. You know the type: the kind of misinformed peever who kvetches about "kids these days" and the language going to hell while yearning to preserve English, as if it were a precious vase a teenage texter might knock over while planking, shattering it forever and leaving us all mute.  Continue reading...
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Blog Excerpts

I DARE Say!

The Dictionary of American Regional English (a.k.a. DARE) is finally completed — and it only took fifty years to do it! In the Boston Globe, Visual Thesaurus editor Ben Zimmer looks back on this monument to American speech, and looks ahead to new ways of approaching dialectology. Read his column here.
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My friend Laura knows four languages plus "bits and pieces" of six others. That's impressive, but it's not quite in the same league as folks who pick up languages the way George Clooney picks up starlets: with frightening ease. Unfortunately, there hasn't been a lot written, in academic or popular literature, on hyperpolyglots: people who know not just two or three languages, but six or ten or twenty.  Continue reading...
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When word nerdom and sci-fi nerdom collide, what do you get? A dictionary-bot that recites definitions while performing the duties of a butler? Someday, I hope that's true. For now, the answer is From Elvish to Klingon: Exploring Invented Languages: a thorough look at invented languages (also known as conlangs, short for constructed languages) from sci-fi and elsewhere.  Continue reading...

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Ed-tech guru Jamie McKenzie has published a fascinating new book entitled Lost and Found: A Guide to Discovery Learning through Purposeful Wandering. In this excerpt adapted from the chapter "Finding the Best Words," McKenzie explains how tools like the Visual Thesaurus can "expand our thinking palette."  Continue reading...
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Yesterday, October 16, was National Dictionary Day, celebrated annually on the birthday of the great American lexicographer Noah Webster. Today the "Webster" name is practically synonymous with dictionaries, but how did the first "Webster's Dictionary" come to be? In this excerpt from The Forgotten Founding Father, Joshua Kendall recounts the publication of Webster's Compendious Dictionary in 1806, the first dictionary to bear his name and the first to feature his "American" spelling.  Continue reading...
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6 7 8 9 10 Displaying 50-56 of 356 Articles