‘I want to be effluent’: malapropisms and mispronounced words were a regular gag in the TV comedy Kath and Kim and continue to peeve many people today.
Do you wince at a mispronounced 'Moet'? Do you cringe at unintentional portmanteau words, like 'misunderestimated' or 'insinuendo'? You are not alone.
World map of linguistic families / Wikimedia Commons
Evolutionary biologists ask very similar questions about species to those asked by linguists about languages.
New research gives weight to Noam Chomsky's idea of a universal language ability.
Trust me, I’m not the one to ask.
In a language as idiosyncratic as English, linguistic pedantry is futile and misguided.
It’s really ok to be a grammar pedant.
Grammar pedantry recently contributed to the downfall of World Bank chief economist Paul Romer. But 'grammonds' are people to be celebrated not vilified.
Sign outside the Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin.
The 'rules of grammar' aren't set in stone, so correcting other people is pointless and demeaning.
The most expensive punctuation in the world…
A badly written law cost a US company US$10 million, when a judge ruled that a comma missing from a statute meant 75 truck drivers were owed four years of unpaid overtime wages.
The prescriptivist stranglehold on grammar isn’t just restrictive, it’s often just plain wrong.
Were your teachers right about when to use commas, and about not starting sentences with 'and'?
New linguistic studies show the ratio of “he” to “she” in Australian news reporting is 3.4 to 1.
AAP Image/April Fonti
A new database that shows the use of gendered words in major Australian newspapers tells us much about whose voices are being heard.
When did past simple tense become passé, I ask myself.
Writers, over the last decade, have been waxing lyrical about the rise of the present tense in English fiction. But this morning I read something entirely new – for me, at least. I read a manuscript written…
…and Red Little Riding Hood.
The use of adjectives in English has caused an internet storm – here are the 'rules' explained.
And you thought it just indicated the end of a sentence…
"Dots" via www.shutterstock.com
For centuries, written communication was tinged with formality and finality. But since the emergence of casual forms like texting, using proper grammar can be fraught with misinterpretation.
When are tests too hard?
Good tests may build in failure, but that doesn't mean they're an efficient way of measuring a child's ability.
Hard for primary school children – what about you?
New, harder tests for primary school children have raised questions about the purpose of learning grammar.
California elementary school teacher doing shared reading.
When you read to children, they develop abilities to express emotions through language.
No platform shoes for pedants.
Pedants fixated on a 'correct' version of English should learn to roll with the times.
The french accent û will no longer be necessary in the hallowed halls of L'Académie Française.
The removal of the 'hat' accent from some French letters has caused consternation – but will it really make a difference?
Linguist and mother ignoring Steven Pinker’s advice.
There's nothing like raising an infant to help galvanise one of the greatest debates in modern linguistics.
Confused child via PathDoc/shutterstock
Everyone knows that in the sentence “Jane is washing her”, the pronoun “her” cannot refer back to Jane. Over the last four decades, researchers have established that adults reject the interpretation of…
Higher education got the most attention it’s had in decades, thanks to the proposed shake up by this man.
While 2013 was all about schools and their funding (remember Gonski, anyone?), 2014 was the year of higher education reform. Or, at least, proposed higher education “reform”. With cuts to higher education…