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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.
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?
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.’
Doctors protest against what they see as the Conservative Party’s push to privatise the health service. Isabel Infantes/PA

The British election explained in five key phrases

One side wants to ‘get Brexit done’ while the other shouts the ‘NHS is not for sale!’. What does it all really mean?

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