Linguist, author of In the Land of Invented Languages, living in Chicago, doing her part to fight off the cot-caught merger and keep "gym shoes" alive.
English spelling is a crazy mess, but it’s a mess that makes sense if you look at how it got that way.... READ ON
In a special collection at the University of Chicago, in a rare 1504 edition of Homer’s Odyssey, there are two pages—and only two pages—covered with notes in a strange language. As if that wasn’t strange and spooky enough, those pages are in Book 11, the section that describes Odysseus’s journey to the underworld.... READ ON
A clear and fascinating way to get in touch with the linguistic history of our continent.... READ ON
In case you want to get a little more specific.... READ ON
“Semordnilap” is a word playfully coined by word-game lovers some time in the mid 20th century. A semordnilap (itself a semordnilap of “palindromes”) makes a completely different word when spelled backwards... READ ON
I have been living in Philadelphia for 9 years now, and while I can tell a Philly accent when I hear one, I cannot figure out how to do it myself.... READ ON
Every month on the 11th, we run a bunch of lists of 11. Arika Okrent gets us started.... READ ON
Holly Maniatty, Joann Benfield, Amber Galloway Gallego are American Sign Language interpreters who have worked concerts for some of the biggest names in rap. Jimmy Kimmel had them on his show for a “rap battle” where they took turns interpreting for Wiz Khalifa as he performed “Black and Yellow.”... READ ON
You can customize by choosing particular word lists to work on, and while many of the lists are organized around sober, practical topics—SAT prep, current events, historical documents, great books—there are a number of lists that are just plain word fun. Here are 11 of the best themed lists from Vocabulary.com for you to master, or just enjoy.... READ ON
The human voice box is a strange and amazing thing. In this video of a quartet singing, you can see the voice box in action via laryngoscope—a tiny camera on a flexible tube inserted through the nose and down the throat.... READ ON
The famous Aaron Burr “Got Milk?” ad from 1993 was directed by Michael Bay.