October marks the centenary of the Volstead Act, the enabler of Prohibition. This occasion licenses the Language Lounge to pop the corks a bit early and look at the linguistic legacy of the Prohibition era.  Continue reading...

News Speak

A valuable new tool has become available for linguists — armchair and professional alike — to explore the language of contemporary news.  Continue reading...

Metaphors about space come at us so thick and fast in talking about the digital world that we don't even notice that they are there, and that's probably a good thing: it helps us to make sense of complicated phenomena.  Continue reading...

If you ask me to complete the phrase "hotter than ________", "July" is what comes to my mind first. The calendar inspires the subject of this month's column, which I might characterize as "uses and abuses of the comparative".  Continue reading...

Lexicography has been and continues to be a gig occupation for many who do it, and that is the case for Charles Sanders Peirce. One place he found work was in writing definitions for the Century Dictionary, which may be the greatest dictionary you've never heard of.  Continue reading...

Regardless of where your views fall on the political spectrum, there's a pretty good chance that you subscribe to the idea that we are in a new age of inauthenticity. The modern world makes it even more of a challenge to "get real" when we are communicating with language.  Continue reading...

The relations among words are not so different from those among people. It's not unusual for, say, first cousins to bear no obvious resemblance to each other, but if we examine their DNA we find that they have a grandparent in common.  Continue reading...

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