1 2 3 4 5 Displaying 8-14 of 103 Articles

In What is English? And Why Should We Care?, Tim William Machan looks at the nooks, crannies, accents, dialects, words, and other details that have made English English over the centuries. After reading this book, you'll agree that "English serves as the password to a kind of cross-cultural, transhistorical club that one might or might not want to join."  Continue reading...
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How speakers introduce additions to the language that then gain circulation is difficult to document: even today in the Internet age, tracing the origins of linguistic innovation is a sleuth's game and it's a subject that intrigues linguists. Now researchers are trying to bring more light to the process by which people create, learn and use new words.  Continue reading...
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"Harry Potter" author J.K. Rowling was recently revealed to have written a crime novel, "The Cuckoo's Calling," using the pseudonym Robert Galbraith. How she was found out involved a couple of linguistic experts analyzing the "little words" that are used in the novel's text.  Continue reading...
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A news story that flitted across the headlines earlier this year reported on a study called "The Geography of Happiness," in which researchers in Vermont subjected 10 million geotagged tweets to sentiment analysis. Their object was to arrive at a metric for the relative happiness of people in a place. "The Geography of Happiness" breaks new ground in the analysis of digital-age linguistic data, while also raising interesting questions about the limits of obtaining reliable results from algorithm-driven research on big bags of words.  Continue reading...
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About Those Dialect Maps...

You might have seen a set of American English dialect maps making the rounds online after a Business Insider piece about the maps went viral. But where does all of that survey data come from? Our own Ben Zimmer has the story on Language Log — read his post here.
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How To Speak Teen

Visual Thesaurus contributor James Harbeck recently appeared on NPR's Weekend Edition to give a phonetic breakdown of noises that teenagers often make. Listen to the segment here, and read more about teenage sounds on The Week here. Breathy-voiced long low back unrounded vowel with advanced tongue root, anyone?
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Figures of speech in which a part stands for the whole contribute to making linguistic expression so rich, flexible, complex, and interesting. For human speakers, it's a lifelong learning opportunity and a palette from which to paint word pictures and create new expressions. For computers trying to understand language, it can be an intractable problem.  Continue reading...
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1 2 3 4 5 Displaying 8-14 of 103 Articles