3 4 5 6 7 Displaying 29-35 of 986 Articles

Many paradoxes are tied up with language, specifically language's ability for self-reference. This self-reference causes a loop it can be difficult to get out of. Beyond creating paradoxes, it also raises the question of whether the individual sounds in words mean things.  Continue reading...
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The great folk-music pioneer Pete Seeger died on Monday at the age of 94. He's best known for such classics as "Where Have All the Flowers Gone?," "If I Had a Hammer," and "Turn, Turn, Turn!" But we're particularly fond of a song that he performed about the irrationality of the English language, "English is Cuh-Ray-Zee."  Continue reading...
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With the Super Bowl just around the corner, our own Ben Zimmer talked to Seattle's KUOW about the origins of some football language. Some of the terms, like "the 12th man" and "the Legion of Boom," have special resonance in Seattle, home of the Super Bowl-bound Seahawks.  Continue reading...
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We welcome back James Harbeck for another installment of his "Word Tasting Notes." Here he considers "a word for people who look at things with the arch eyebrows and droopy eyelids of cool superiority," supercilious.  Continue reading...
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When coming up with adjectives for made-up things, we have many to choose among: fictional, fictitious, or fictive, or even factitious. Choose wisely, or risk saying something you don't mean.  Continue reading...
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It's a popularly held idea that dictionary writers have the power to add words to the lexicon when in fact language is changed the by people who use it and the job of the lexigrographer is to take note. Our own Ben Zimmer revisits this distinction in a look at a recent episode of the Nickelodeon teen comedy "Sam & Cat," in which the titular characters take on word-creation head on.  Continue reading...
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In the spirit of New Year's resolutions like quit smoking, lose weight, exercise more, each January brings new calls to ban words, the linguistic equivalent of losing weight. But while New Year's resolutions are self-imposed — I decide that an hour on the elliptical watching Sherlock would be better than an hour on the couch with Sherlock and a bowl of chips — word bans tend to be imposed by someone else.  Continue reading...
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3 4 5 6 7 Displaying 29-35 of 986 Articles