Language Category

Posts of language and linguistics and the general topic of communication.

Dec 25 | A rather linguistic Christmas to you all!

Some interesting observations this very merry Christmas day: Why do some songs refer to the First Nowell and others the First Noël? It turns out that Noel itself comes from the Middle English nowel, which in turn is from the French noël, a variant of nael, from the Latin natalis, or “birth” (day). The French […]

Apr 11 | Pronouncing President Obama

I’m a fan of the BBC world service radio because it keeps me up to date on happenings around the world while I can do other things like cleaning up my room. But lately I’ve heard several transgressions on the pronunciation of Barack Obama (listen to the first recording) and I wondered how other newsreaders […]

Jan 11 | Language Thoughts

A few things have been shuffling around my mind vis-a-vis language. Erin McKean, the editor-in-chief of the Oxford English Dictionary, gave a rather interesting talk over at TED about how dictionaries are destined to transform from their dusty, antiquated, book-ish form factor and should instead reflect the language that people use and invent and modify […]

Jan 10 | Spaghetti and Macaroni … Westerns?

The spaghetti western refers to the genre of Western movies from the mid 1960s usually with an Italian director (Sergio Leone comes to mind) and often a mixture of Italian and Spanish crew and cast. A well-known example is “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly“, as it is called in the United States, “Il […]