Canons, whether you believe that their prime movers are divine or not, are the work of humans, and are surely among our most imaginative creations. But our ways of interpreting and implementing the language of religious canons are equally imaginative and creative.  Continue reading...

Written language has an afterlife that is practically unlimited. When we commit something to writing we make a record that far outlives the context in which it is produced. Take the United States Constitution for example, now on the job for more than 225 years.  Continue reading...

In our increasingly polarized world, it may be helpful to investigate how sides came to mean things that exist in vehement opposition to each other.  Continue reading...

How do you come to know the meaning of mean, and to be comfortable with the notion of meaning?  Continue reading...

Winners of wars have traditionally sought to impose their language on the vanquished. In an era in which many believe that policies promoting diversity, tolerance, and multiculturalism are out of favor, it is encouraging that the US government and the public now seem to recognize that there aren't many benefits to this practice.  Continue reading...

Let's look at the behavior of some words in English whose primary denotation involves physical contact, physical characteristics, violent impact, and damage. How do these words behave in contexts where no physical objects are flying about?  Continue reading...

As I read Jane Austen, the question that is ever in the back of my mind is, how did she do it? Surprisingly, computers are quite helpful in discovering some of the aspects of Austen's writing that make it distinctive in the wide field of English fiction.  Continue reading...

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