As most histories of Halloween will tell you, Hallowe'en
) is a shortened version of All-Hallow(s)-Eve
, but how and why did eve
turn into e'en
? For that matter, what is a hallow? Why did the all
A new play is opening tonight on Broadway, and it's a treat for language lovers. It's called "Chinglish," and it was written by David Henry Hwang, who won a Tony Award for "M. Butterfly." I had a chance to talk to Hwang about his comic exploration of the perils of cross-linguistic misunderstanding.
In September, Domino's Pizza -- the second-largest pizza chain in the United States, with annual revenue approaching $1.5 billion -- introduced "Artisan Pizzas" to its 5,000 stores nationwide. Are you picturing skilled workers up to their elbows in whole-grain flour and locally sourced tomatoes, lovingly patting each pie into a charmingly irregular shape? Well, forget about it.
In this year's World Series, one name in particular will likely catch the eye of even casual baseball fans. In the late innings of the first two games, a relief pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals came in to face the Texas Rangers: Marc Rzepczynski. The announcers were clearly ready for Rzepczynski's appearance and pronounced his name smoothly (as "zep-CHIN-ski"), helpfully explaining that his nickname is "Scrabble." So how does Rzepczynski
stack up against other hard-to-spell baseball names?
Yesterday, October 16, was National Dictionary Day, celebrated annually on the birthday of the great American lexicographer Noah Webster. Today the "Webster" name is practically synonymous with dictionaries, but how did the first "Webster's Dictionary" come to be? In this excerpt from The Forgotten Founding Father
, Joshua Kendall recounts the publication of Webster's Compendious Dictionary
in 1806, the first dictionary to bear his name and the first to feature his "American" spelling.
The public protest over economic inequalities known as "Occupy Wall Street" has been going on nearly a month now, with the original demonstration in Manhattan's Financial District spreading to cities around the world. Thanks to the success of the movement, the lingo of the protesters has spread quickly, with the verb occupy
in particular becoming a kind of rallying cry.
Ever wonder why we say "ice" water and "ice" cream but "iced" tea? And should there be a "d" in "didn't use(d) to"? Merrill Perlman explains when the "d " is necessary.