1 2 3 4 5 Displaying 29-35 of 35 Articles
In his new book, What Language Is, the linguist John McWhorter takes the reader on a guided tour of language as it really is, not how we might assume it to be. One of his keys to understanding language the way a linguist does is to appreciate that it is inherently messy, or "disheveled," as he puts it. In this excerpt, McWhorter uses the history of English as his example of just how disheveled language can be. Continue reading...
In 2009, we had the pleasure of speaking with Roy Blount, Jr. on the occasion of the publication of Alphabet Juice, a compilation of his linguistic musings presented in dictionary style. Now he's back with the sequel, titled, naturally, Alphabetter Juice. Blount's wit is just as sharp in this followup, which he subtitles "The Joy of Text." Here are a few choice excerpts from the letter A. Continue reading...

David Crystal on Language Change

- 5 comments
The prolific British language writer, David Crystal, has produced another winner: A Little Book of Language (now out in paperback), which Publishers Weekly calls "the perfect primer for anyone interested in the subject." In this excerpt, Crystal explains how language changes, from vocabulary to grammar. Continue reading...

The Pun Also Rises

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John Pollack makes a case for the cultural significance of the lowly pun in his new book, The Pun Also Rises: How the Humble Pun Revolutionized Language, Changed History, and Made Wordplay More Than Some Antics. Pollack, a former presidential speechwriter, was also the winner of the 1995 O. Henry Pun-Off World Championships, in Austin, Texas. In this excerpt, Pollack describes the first round of the competition. Continue reading...
Topics: Fun Language Words

One Word: "Interesting," by Jayson Iwen

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We are pleased to present another excerpt from the new anthology entitled, One Word: Contemporary Writers on the Words They Love or Loathe, published by Sarabande Books. The editor, Molly McQuade, asked 66 writers the question, "What one word means the most to you, and why?" Among the essays McQuade has collected is "Interesting," by Jayson Iwen. Continue reading...

One Word: "Verb," by Lia Purpura

- 1 comment
We are pleased to present another excerpt from the new anthology entitled, One Word: Contemporary Writers on the Words They Love or Loathe, published by Sarabande Books. The editor, Molly McQuade, asked 66 writers the question, "What one word means the most to you, and why?" Among the essays McQuade has collected is "Verb," by Lia Purpura. Continue reading...

One Word: "Fork," by Thylias Moss

- 6 comments
Sarabande Books is publishing a fascinating new anthology entitled, One Word: Contemporary Writers on the Words They Love or Loathe. The editor, Molly McQuade, asked 66 writers the question, "What one word means the most to you, and why?" Among the essays McQuade has collected is "Sixpack," an exploration of six words by the experimental writer Thylias Moss. Tucker Capps has drawn from Moss's musings on the word fork to create a captivating short film. Continue reading...
1 2 3 4 5 Displaying 29-35 of 35 Articles

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