How do you make a digital mapping system give directions like a stranger in the street?
Munroe has taken the principles of clear communication to what feels like their furthest extent.
In his new book, Randall Munroe of xkcd fame takes the principles of clear communication to what feels like their furthest extent, but there's a place for dense grammar in our theories and ideas.
The Oxford Dictionaries' word of the year is causing a bit of a stir – probably because it's not a word at all.
No’ playin’ ba’
During the 20th century, English accents began to pick up traits from the capital. In the west of Scotland, though, something different has been going on.
A Spanish street performer dressed as a cowboy. Europeans have long been fascinated with the American West.
A linguist explains how words get co-opted from one language to another.
Kim Kardashian West does a good line in vocal fry … how does that affect the public’s perception of her?
Much has been written about vocal fry in recent years, with the focus on what it is, where it comes from and what it means ... at least when it comes to females who fry. What's really going on here?
At what point does a wildly speculative idea become worthy of national and international press coverage?
The idea that the Australian accent may be the product of drunkenness in early European settlers is wildly speculative. And yet it has gained international attention in the past week. Why?
The discovery that "Huh?" crops up in many languages may have won the researchers an Ig Nobel Prize. But they found much more than that in their search for the universals in language.
A rose by any other name might smell as sweet, but it just doesn’t feel right.
Mark A Neal
What's in a name? Many words are arbitrary – there's no reason a dog must be called a dog or a table must be called a table. Why do we tend to assume there's a reason any object has its specific name?
To communicate is human – but how did language originally get started?
What can a bunch of people grunting in a lab teach us about our capacity to create language systems? A lot about the gesture- or vocalization-based origins of language.
Amid the debate about what languages should dominate at African schools, we’re missing an important point: why do we learn language in the first place?
There are two functions of language: communication and access to knowledge. Each must be pursued as an objective in its own right rather than being lumped together.
Members of the Chitimacha language team (from left to right) Sam Boutte, Kim Walden and Rachel Vilcan use the new language software for the first time.
In the face of war, disease and outside cultural pressures, the Chitimacha language has survived -- and now thrives.
Minions, contrary to parental fears, have not been swearing at children – but why would that be a problem anyway?
Parental concerns that Minions given as toys in McDonald's Happy Meals have been dropping the F-bomb raises an issue: how far – if at all – should we go to prevent children from exposure to "bad" language?
The United States celebrates its World Cup victory.
USA Today Sports/Reuters
Language can subtly undermine women's sports in a number of ways.
How much does the way we speak affect the way people perceive us – and should it really matter in contemporary Australia?
Within Australia, there has historically been a clear social distinction between Cultivated (British-oriented) and Broad or General, distinctly Australian ways of speaking.
Liberalism means something completely different in South Africa compared with the US and UK, and has racist connotations.
Liberalism is a dirty word for the majority of South Africans. This goes back to early colonialism. Liberals opposed apartheid but not the close relationship between capitalism and apartheid.
A unique language spoken by 2,500 people in central Sweden will start being taught in preschool.
‘Standing up’ for something is viewed positively, while taking something ‘lying down’ has negative connotations.
In subtle (and not-so-subtle) ways, our language reflects societal attitudes.
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.
Lest we forget is an expression with dignified origins, a rich history and a budding linguistic fossil.
This Anzac Day the words "lest we forget" will often be spoken. It's a usage that we don't otherwise hear. Why do linguistic fossils such as "lest we forget" linger – and how do they help us remember the fallen?