There are a lot of factors that go into choosing a baby name. My parents, for instance, did enjoy the work of Carly Simon before choosing mine, and I have a relatively normal name. It could be a fandom thing, such as with the babies named Anakin or the children named after Game of Thrones characters.
The great 17th century physicist Isaac Newton is known for many things. There’s his laws of motion and theory of gravity. Plus, the dude invented calculus, wrote a lengthy treatise about optics, and dabbled in alchemy for good measure. But few people know that as a young college student, Newton tried to invent his own…
While investigating non-English words associated with positive emotions and concepts, a British researcher recently discovered 216 foreign words for which there is no English translation.
Truly rousing political speeches are, sadly, few and far between. But those that are a little less inspiring can, it turns out, be convincingly written by an artificial intelligence system. Yes, politicians may be a little like robots.
Is this a forest? That depends on what you mean.
Here’s something fun to brighten your Monday. It’s a song by Adriano Celentano, called “Prisencolinensinainciusol,” and it can, in equal parts, improve your work-out play list and tell you about how you’re perceived.
The State Department just released over 7,000 of Hillary Clinton’s emails. In one exchange with her senior advisor Phillipe Reines, the presidential hopeful has a very important question: “on this new berry can I get smiley faces?”
A New York Times article points out that many languages have creative names for the @ symbol. The Dutch refer to it as a monkey’s tail. For Italians, it’s a snail. But in boring old English, we just say “at.” Let’s get inventive.
With viral memes and hashtags sweeping the internet on the daily, language is evolving faster than conventional dictionaries can keep up. You may have been “procrastatweeting” about the “popepocalypse” last week, but the stalwart publishers of the Oxford English won’t give your neologisms official recognition for…
Internet shorthand is ubiquitous, but in our desire to get words out quickly, meaning can be muddled or lost. Case in point: Accent marks, one of the foremost linguistic casualties of the digital age. Now, defenders of the Spanish language are trying to bring the neglected markings back.
Imagine the day when we finally receive a signal from an extraterrestrial intelligence, only to find that there’s a message embedded within. Given that we don’t speak the same language, how could we ever hope to make sense of it? We spoke to the experts to find out.
Scientman John Borghi was browsing a century-old dictionary when he happened upon some science-themed words—including scientman (a man of knowledge), scientificalness (the quality of being scientific), and scientize (to lay down scientific principles)— he thinks we should start using again. We’d like to second the…
“Dude” has become a remarkably versatile word that can be used to describe a variety of people or express a whole host of emotions. But when “dude” first arrived on the linguistic scene, it meant something very specific. This video traces the history of “dude” from a word to describe 19th-century hipsters to its many…
We’re being meaner than we think when we call a character a “villain.” But it’s not the villain that we’re insulting — it’s an entire class of people.
This fascinating infographic by Alberto Lucas López shows how 23 of the world’s mother tongues are proportioned, and how they’re distributed around the globe.
Doughnut or donut? The debate over the difference (and just what it might be and where it came from) is settled handily in this look from Fusion at the tangled American history of the two words and where they split.
When the University of Iceland got its first computer in 1964, Icelandic did not have a word for “computer.” So the guardians of the language invented one: tölva—a fusion of tala (number) and völva (prophetess) that adds up to the wonderfully poetic “prophetess of numbers.”
There’s no question emojis have become wildly popular. But on Instagram, the familiar happy faces, hearts and kissing lips are more than just a cute shorthand. They’re on their way to becoming the dominant, universal form of communication.