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.
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.
As a linguistic phrase, OK is something of a phenomenon, traveling from American English into hundreds of other languages. And there are tons of myths about how OK emerged to mean that things are hunky-dory. But which story is correct? The truth is a little bit goofy.
You've probably heard that English is being ruined — by the Internet, by texting, by Americans, by young people who have no respect for proper grammar. But it turns out that people have always worried over English, and over the centuries, have accused all sorts of things of "ruining" the language.
There exists a certain paranoia that the web will somehow destroy the English language as we all start communicating solely in LOLs and smileys. But seen another way, the linguistic tricks we've enlisted to portray attitude and action, tone and meaning through text online are just the natural evolution of the written…
We use 21st century tech terms like hashtag, stream, and mouse with casual indifference, but how did these words get to be so commonplace in our everyday vernacular? We know the origins of Superman (kryptonite), Spider Man (radioactive spider), and Batman (rich boy's revenge) but not "podcast," "spam," or even…
The practice of saying "o'clock" is simply a remnant of simpler times when clocks weren't very prevalent and people told time by a variety of means, depending on where they were and what references were available.
World of Warcraft is a lot of things to a lot of people - engrossing RPG, all-encompassing addiction, Space-Goat Music Video Simulator - but according to a new study by Swedish academics, it's also become a vital tool in dynamically teaching young children new languages.
It's reasonable to assume that American dogs can communicate perfectly well with Japanese dogs, but try using "bark bark" to describe the sound that dogs make to a Japanese person, who would say "wan wan," and you might have trouble. That's because different languages represent the sounds of animals in different ways,…