The Importance and Not-So-Importance of Film Terminology

I start this article with a conviction to rail against the arrogance on display from Sticklers for Terminology. But as I work through the case in my head, I find that the truth with this topic, as with all topics, lies in the delicate balance between two extremes. Let’s back up… Film like all technical Read MoreRead More

Erin McKean: Go ahead, make up new words!

In this fun, short talk from TEDYouth, lexicographer Erin McKean encourages — nay, cheerleads — her audience to create new words when the existing ones won’t quite do. She lists out 6 ways to make new words in English, from compounding to “verbing,” in order to make language better at expressing what we mean, and Read MoreRead More

Are Emoticons the Future of Language?

In the digital age, we increasingly use written language in place of face to face chat or phone calls. But the advantages email, chat, and text give us in speed come with limitations in communicating emotional tone. Enter emoticons and emojis. Not just a playful supplement to language, these new tools allow for complexity in Read MoreRead More

Scandal, Censorship, Science: How Darwin Shaped Our Understanding of Why Language Exists

Maria Papova examines the origins of language and how the naturalist Charles Darwin helped us understand where human communication came from. “Words belong to each other,” Virginia Woolf memorably proclaimed in the only surviving recording of her voice. But even in this beautifully aphoristic observation lies an unsolvable chicken-or-egg mystery: Where did words come from in the Read MoreRead More

11 Weirdly Spelled Words – And How They Got That Way

Having trouble remember all the spelling rules in English? That’s because the English Language is one of the greatest hodge-podge mixtures of languages ever devised. Mental Floss looks at some of the origins of some oddly spelled words. 1. Thought Way back in the 600s, Christian missionaries arrived in Anglo-Saxon England with their Roman alphabet Read MoreRead More