Etymology gleanings for March 2016

Preparation for the Spelling Congress is underway. The more people will send in their proposals, the better. On the other hand (or so it seems to me), the fewer people participate in this event and
Preparation for the Spelling Congress is underway. The more people will send in their proposals, the better. On the other hand (or so it seems to me), the fewer people participate in this event and [More]

Is name studies a discipline in its own right?

Name studies have been around for a long time. In Ancient Greece, philosophers like Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle saw names as central to the understanding of language, providing key insights into
Name studies have been around for a long time. In Ancient Greece, philosophers like Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle saw names as central to the understanding of language, providing key insights into [More]

Original pronunciation: the state of the art in 2016

In 2004, Shakespeare's Globe in London began a daring experiment. They decided to mount a production of a Shakespeare play in 'original pronunciation' (OP) - a reconstruction of the accents that
In 2004, Shakespeare's Globe in London began a daring experiment. They decided to mount a production of a Shakespeare play in 'original pronunciation' (OP) - a reconstruction of the accents that [More]

The Great Pottery Throw Down and language

The newest knockout competition on British television is The Great Pottery Throw Down (GPTD), in which an initial ten potters produce a variety of ceramic work each week, the most successful being
The newest knockout competition on British television is The Great Pottery Throw Down (GPTD), in which an initial ten potters produce a variety of ceramic work each week, the most successful being [More]

“Vulpes vulpes,” or foxes have holes. Part 1

The idea of today’s post was inspired by a question from a correspondent. She is the author of a book on foxes and wanted more information on the etymology of fox. I answered her but thought that
The idea of today’s post was inspired by a question from a correspondent. She is the author of a book on foxes and wanted more information on the etymology of fox. I answered her but thought that [More]

How to polish your résumé

I’ve read a lot of résumés over the years. I’ve read 35-page résumés from senior academics documenting every Rotary talk, guest lecture, and letter to the editor. I’ve read not-quite-one-page
I’ve read a lot of résumés over the years. I’ve read 35-page résumés from senior academics documenting every Rotary talk, guest lecture, and letter to the editor. I’ve read not-quite-one-page [More]

New frontiers in evolutionary linguistics

Our mother tongues seem to us like the natural way to communicate, but it is perhaps a universal human experience to be confronted and confused by a very different language. We can't help but wonder
Our mother tongues seem to us like the natural way to communicate, but it is perhaps a universal human experience to be confronted and confused by a very different language. We can't help but wonder [More]

How English became English – and not Latin

English grammar has been closely bound up with that of Latin since the 16th century, when English first began to be taught in schools. Given that grammatical instruction prior to this had focused on
English grammar has been closely bound up with that of Latin since the 16th century, when English first began to be taught in schools. Given that grammatical instruction prior to this had focused on [More]

‘Mate’ in Australian English

Mate is one of those words that is used widely in Englishes other than Australian English, and yet has a special resonance in Australia. Although it had a very detailed entry in the first edition of
Mate is one of those words that is used widely in Englishes other than Australian English, and yet has a special resonance in Australia. Although it had a very detailed entry in the first edition of [More]

…whether the wether will weather the weather

It so happens that I have already touched on the first and the last member of the triad whether –wether—weather in the past. By a strange coincidence, the interval between the posts dealing with
It so happens that I have already touched on the first and the last member of the triad whether –wether—weather in the past. By a strange coincidence, the interval between the posts dealing with [More]