Irony is a slippery concept. Sometimes it's used in speech, other times it's used to describe a situation – oh, and it can also characterize an attitude. Is its versatility its downfall?
The official naming of COVID-19 has the tone of a committee decision. Historically, names for diseases have not been quite so well thought out and were more likely to offend.
In the 1950s, 'coming out' meant quietly acknowledging one's sexual orientation. Today, the term is used by a broad array of social movements.
African American Vernacular English is part and parcel of Black identity. Its distinctive linguistic features are — wrongly — denigrated.
Languages are always changing and evolving- largely because humans have alwasy been on the move.
From crude drawing to advice and support, the scrawlings on toilet walls reveal differing communication patterns between the sexes
The term Anthropocene - previously known only to geologists and academics - has hit the mainstream. Now it's being tweeted as shorthand for the negative effects humans have had on the planet.
The words used to describe the natural world are dwindling - some are even being hijacked and given modern new meanings.
Is a 19th-century French author’s cosmic joke turning into a real-life global nightmare?
Pronouns rarely, if ever, change. Then along came the gender nonbinary 'they,' which was just anointed ‘word of the decade.’
As the year winds down, we'll get you up to speed. Plus, there's no better way to kill a trend than to bring it up at the dinner table in front of your kids.
Trump's recent comments echo a troubled history of the use of dogs against people of color, as well as pejorative depictions of people of color as animals.
Researchers say it's time to finally discard a decades-old theory about the origins of human language – and revise the date when human ancestors likely were able to make certain speech noises.
The survival of the apostrophe is vital to the comprehensibility of our language. If those who have protected it are hanging up their red pens, it's time we all do our bit.
There is a negative feel to many of the shortlisted contenders for The Macquarie Dictionary's Word of the Year.
A cognitive scientist observes that the words that bother college-age Americans today can cause harm.
Language can express some of the results of our thinking, but it's not the thinking itself.
Pedants should reach for their red pens now.
Why do some people greet each other with a kiss? How does the custom vary from place to place? This article is excerpted from the forthcoming 'Atlas of Regional Expressions.'
How members of America's two parties view the country – and its place in the world – might explain this phenomenon.