“Aitch” or “Haitch”? It’s long been a point of contestation among English speakers.
Felicity Burke/The Conversastion with apologies to Dr. Suess
An unspoken class war has long been waged around the pronounciation of the letter "h" - is it haitch or aitch? Despite a snobbish leaning to the latter, haitch makes more sense.
Australia and New Zealand are neighbours but our accents are quite different. We even have different words for things.
The short answer is that the accent you have depends on the people you grew up with and the history of the place that you live in.
Kanok Sulaiman / shutterstock
I analysed 15 million words written by major oil companies and found their usage of 'climate change' peaked a decade ago.
It is nearly impossible for us to know or be sure about the earliest human language ever used.
There have been many theories that try to explain where language came from. None prevailed or even came close to the position of the Darwinism theory in biology or the Big Bang theory in physics.
False beliefs about language and speech underlie legal precedents that allow jurors to be “assisted” by unreliable transcripts of forensic audio.
The Everett Collection/Shutterstock
Not all false beliefs arise from malicious misinformation. Some legal precedents rest on the status of everyday 'common knowledge', since shown to be false, but embedded in our law nonetheless.
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British colonial rule of Iraq led to some intriguing language swaps.
Pharmacy or marijuana dispensary?
Scott Sonner/AP Photo
Marijuana has a rich linguistic tradition. But drive by dispensaries like 'Advanced Medical Alternatives' or 'Alameda Wellness Center,' and you might think you’re passing the office of a physical therapist.
A corporate apology is always connected to the benefits it brings to the company. It is not a personal apology, it is a form of institutional positioning.
We're often less careful when talking to people we know well than we are when we talk to strangers. That can be a mistake.
What was that word again?
Language attrition can happen to people who live in a foreign context – and it can be embarrassing.
Each discipline tells us only part of the story. And so the truest picture of prehistory comes from triangulating these independent lines of evidence.
The Warrnambool potato harvest of 1881.
State Library of Victoria
Irish influence on Australian English is much like the influence of the Irish on Australians themselves — less than you’d expect on the surface, but everywhere once you start looking.
We use different grammar when speaking or writing, but the difference is so subtle that linguists were blind to it for centuries.
Spoken language evolves differently and faster than written language, and there are good reasons why this is the case.
The spread of Pama-Nyungan was likely influenced by climate.
The origin of around 300 of Australia's Aboriginal languages lies in Queensland, about 6,000 years ago.
Software tools can take multiple languages to entirely new spaces.
Software tools for South Africa’s Nguni languages may assist with redress and effective communication.
Because you’ve never seen it before, right?
Sarcasm thrives in ambiguous situations, which makes it especially ripe for misinterpretation.
The word only appears 14 times in the UK's parliamentary record between 1803 and 2005. Now it is everywhere.
What can a modern-day Creole language tell us about its first speakers in the 1600s?
New research suggests that hints left in Creole languages can identify where the original speakers came from – even hundreds of years after they migrated and mixed together.
Ursula le Guin gave us an anarchist society on another world; we brought it back to Earth.
The shithole countries comment was a landmark moment. This US president has given up even trying to hide his prejudice.