A Field Guide To The World's Most Distinctive English Regionalisms

Why will asking for directions to a time machine get you sent to an ATM in Wisconsin, a request for a sarsaparilla spider gets you a root beer float in Australia, and someone wondering if you've seen their bunnyhug in Saskatchewan is actually searching for their favorite hoodie? Read on to find out. » 2/26/15 4:20pm 2/26/15 4:20pm

Why English Changes More Slowly Today Than It Did A Thousand Years Ago

As languages acquire new speakers, spread to new geographic areas, and mingle with other languages, they change. But is that change happening as quickly as it once did? » 1/30/15 4:20pm 1/30/15 4:20pm

Why Are Tolkien's Elves So Damn Welsh?

The BBC has a fascinating, exhaustive report on why the Elves of Middle-Earth sound as if they might have come from Wales. Given that Tolkien was one of the most English English professors who ever lived, the answer is not quite as random as you might think. Cellar doors are involved. » 12/12/14 6:25am 12/12/14 6:25am

Which Animals Can Differentiate Between Languages?

Talking to animals, including baby human animals, is a waste of time. They don't know what you're saying. But there has been an experiment that proves certain animals they do know what language you're saying it in. » 7/16/14 9:30am 7/16/14 9:30am

Not Every Familiar Word In A Foreign Language Is Your Friend

Asking people to pass you the jam in France will get you raucous laughter. Writing to a host family in Spain can get you uninvited to the house. Why? Due to "false friends" — sneaky words that don't mean what we think they mean. » 6/23/14 7:40am 6/23/14 7:40am

Hey, Aspiring Khals And Khaleesis, Here's Dothraki For Beginners

Okay, I have absolutely zero idea why the website Cheapflights.com.au decided it was worth their time to assemble this Dothraki Phrasebook infographic, based on the language featured in Game of Thrones. But I'm glad they did! » 5/28/14 7:00pm 5/28/14 7:00pm

The Super Bowl's controversial Coke commercial gets a nerdy re-edit

may have seen the ad Coke aired during the Super Bowl, where a variety of American sang "America the Beautiful" in their native languages. It was quite controversial, and by controversial I mean idiot racists hated it. Here's hoping they're equally enraged by this new version. » 2/04/14 8:00pm 2/04/14 8:00pm

Mermaids and Toxic Waste: The First Science Fiction Novel Published in…

UK-based Zimbabwean author Masimba Musodza has written the first science fiction novel in ChiShona, the native language of the Shona people of Zimbabwe and Southern Zambia. And it tells the story of native beliefs clashing with corporate mad science. » 6/21/11 4:30pm 6/21/11 4:30pm

Alien Languages: Not Human

In the following essay, Anassa Rhenisch discusses why alien languages will have almost nothing in common with human tongues...and why alien forms of communication could eschew language altogether. » 5/30/10 2:00pm 5/30/10 2:00pm

Why Is English The Language Of Science Fiction?

Science fiction authors from France, Finland and the Netherlands are all putting out books in English, notes Israeli author Lavie Tidhar (who's also publishing a steampunk novel in English.) Why is English the language of science fiction anyway? » 1/06/10 12:44pm 1/06/10 12:44pm