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In celebration of the birth of Albert Einstein on March 14th, we are featuring an excerpt from his famous letter to Franklin D. Roosevelt — notifying the president of the potential of nuclear chain reactions being used in a new type of bomb.  Continue reading...
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Robert Lane Greene, a correspondent for The Economist, has just published a thoroughly engaging book sure to fascinate all linguaphiles: You Are What You Speak: Grammar Grouches, Language Laws, and the Politics of Identity. In this excerpt, Greene argues that there has never been a "golden age" for English: fears of the language's demise have been with us for centuries, stoked by "sticklers" castigating the usage around them.  Continue reading...
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Blog Excerpts

The Birth of a Word

Wouldn't it be amazing if you could capture every moment of a child's language development? Deb Roy, a researcher at MIT, managed to do just that with his infant son. After wiring his house with video cameras, he then analyzed "the world's largest home video collection" to show how a bit of babble became a word. See Roy's TED talk here.
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The Wall Street Journal recently reported that the Obama administration is "urging protesters from Bahrain to Morocco to work with existing rulers toward what some officials and diplomats are now calling 'regime alteration.'" That sounds like a kinder, gentler version of regime change, which itself has a euphemistic ring to it. If President Obama came into office riding a wave of change, why is that word suddenly problematic?  Continue reading...
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Blog Excerpts

The Story of "She"

In 2000, the American Dialect Society picked the Word of the Millennium: she, which entered English in the 12th century. But where did the word come from, exactly? Visual Thesaurus contributor Stan Carey writes on his Sentence First blog that its origins remain shrouded in mystery. Read all about it here.
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The Internet may be the new newspaper, but it's also become the new dictionary, and the two are inextricably linked: when news breaks, people rush online to find out what it means, and whether it's a noun or a verb.  Continue reading...
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Irregular spellings are old news in brand names. Lately, though, I’ve noticed an interesting new spelling trend: the doubling, tripling, or even quadrupling of one particular letter—F—at the beginning of the name.

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2 3 4 5 6 Displaying 22-28 of 37 Articles