4 5 6 7 8 Displaying 36-42 of 1004 Articles

An intriguing new theory holds that Egyptian animal mummies were intended as messages to the gods. The theory is yet more fodder for an age-old problem: how do we reconcile our dependence as humans upon language to communicate to divine beings who in nearly all cases are thought to have pre-existed the emergence of languages that we use and who could never have learned them in the natural way that we do?  Continue reading...
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A "bear market" is one where stock prices fall, and a "bull market" is one where prices rise. But why do financial folks talk about "bears" and "bulls"? The public radio show Marketplace looked into various origin stories and called on our own Ben Zimmer to explain the history.  Continue reading...
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Sometimes, a photo "ekes out of the printer." Other times, electronics help "to eke out extra mileage" in cars. And in a more familiar usage, a movie "shows how a once-budding folk singer tries to eke out a living." It's no wonder, then, that most people think "eke out" means to achieve something through effort, to barely get by.  Continue reading...
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A law firm that specializes in defending whistleblowers has started a petition on Change.org to persuade dictionaries and thesauruses to ditch their derogatory synonyms for whistleblower in favor of positive terms.  Continue reading...
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Meryl Davis and Charlie White made history this week as the first Americans ever to win the Olympic gold medal in ice dancing. But for language watchers, an even more interesting question than who would take first place was this: What's a twizzle?  Continue reading...
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While watching the Winter Olympics, did you ever wonder why figure skaters await their scores in the "kiss and cry" area? Stefan Fatsis, sports blogger for Slate, tells the story behind the phrase.  Continue reading...
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Blog Excerpts

Remembering the "Gear" Language of The Beatles

When the Beatles invaded America 50 years ago, it wasn't just their music and hairstyle that struck Americans as novel, but their Liverpudlian language as well. In his latest column for the Wall Street Journal, Ben Zimmer looks at how words like "gear" and "fab" emerged out of the Liverpool dialect known as Scouse. Read the column here.
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4 5 6 7 8 Displaying 36-42 of 1004 Articles