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Articles on Linguistics

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The coronavirus forced the editors of the Oxford English Dictionary to break with tradition. Illustration by Anurag Papolu/The Conversation; dictionary photo by Spauln via Getty Images and model of COVID-19 by fpm/iStock via Getty Images

How COVID-19 is changing the English language

Updates to the Oxford English Dictionary provide a fascinating glimpse into how language changes in the face of rapid and unprecedented social and economic disruption.
Co-champions celebrate at the Scripps National Spelling Bee in National Harbor, Maryland, on May 31, 2019. The winning spellers made history with eight co-champions, most ever in spelling event’s history. Alex Wong/Getty Images

The Scripps spelling bee is off this year, but the controversy over including foreign words is still on

The Scripps National Spelling Bee highlights the richness of the English lexicon by picking some tough entries with foreign roots.
Every known culture on Earth has special words for kids to call their parents. XiXinXing via Getty Images

Why do kids call their parents ‘Mom’ and ‘Dad’?

One anthropologist found 1,072 similar words for 'mom' and 'dad' in the world's languages. It turns out a mix of biology, culture and encouragement from parents explains this phenomenon.
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.

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