Articles on Language

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A trans Pride flag crosswalk in Calgary was defaced in August 2019 with a violent message, which was later covered with fresh paint and positive messages were left written with chalk. Anti-trans activism from feminists remains a challenge for transgender people. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Dave Chidley

Why the words we use matter when describing anti-trans activists

TERF is not a slur. Instead, we should use words that accurately describe how some feminists are actually anti-trans activists.
From Indigenous languages to how migrants stay connected, mother languages are becoming the norm. (Shutterstock)

How a child’s first language includes more than words

On International Mother Language Day, Canadians can celebrate multilingual heritage by recognizing flexible uses of languages.
If only there were one that fit. Michael Ochs Archives via Getty Images

What makes something ironic?

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?
‘I want to produce such an impression of utter weariness and ennui that my readers will imagine the book could only have been written by a cretin,’ Flaubert wrote. Photo by Nadar / ullstein bild via Getty Images

We’re living in the bizarre world that Flaubert envisioned

Is a 19th-century French author’s cosmic joke turning into a real-life global nightmare?
The American Dialect Society chose ‘they’ as its ‘Word of the Decade.’ abstract_art7/Shutterstock.com

For linguists, it was the decade of the pronoun

Pronouns rarely, if ever, change. Then along came the gender nonbinary 'they,' which was just anointed ‘word of the decade.’

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