Last week, the Associated Press Stylebook announced a significant change in their guidelines: the word “hopefully” (as in “it is hoped”) can now appear in newspapers. According to the Washington Post, this makes them barbarians.
You may be wondering, what is the AP Stylebook? And why does it matter? CONTINUE READING »
We updated our dictionary! You now have a new and improved Dictionary.com. How can something be both “new” and “improved”? We added 183 new words and updated 146 existing definitions to reflect our ever-evolving language. We also added more detailed notes about word usage, word history, and synonyms to some very particular words CONTINUE READING »
Earlier this year, French behavioral scientist Jonathan Grainger and his team taught baboons to read. Well, not exactly. They taught the baboons to recognize words. The baboons played a game on a computer screen. When a fake word appears, they were supposed to press a blue plus sign. When a real word shows up, they were supposed to press a green circle. CONTINUE READING »
Think of when you’ve listened to someone speak Spanish or Japanese. Does it seem the words flow out very quickly, faster than other languages? Academics would agree with you. For the last decade, linguists have speculated that different languages are spoken at significantly different rates. The challenge has been how to measure the respective speeds. CONTINUE READING »
A new study is so fascinating that we immediately wondered how it would apply to words. You, of course, are our greatest resource for insight. After you read about the experiment, help us think about how word meanings change depending on what else is going on around you. CONTINUE READING »
There was no letter U in the alphabet. Well, that’s not the entire story. There was the sound for the letter we call U, but it didn’t look like U. It looked like V. The Classical Latin alphabet had only 23 letters, not the 26 that we have today. (This is why the W looks like a double V but is pronounced like a double U. CONTINUE READING »
With more than one million students, the New York City Department of Education is the largest public school district in the United States. Recently, the massive school system put out a request to companies who make standardized tests to buy exams that did not include offensive or potentially distracting words and topics. CONTINUE READING »
Scientists have long known that animals communicate with each other. Some species (like the vervet monkeys) make particular sounds that represent a specific direction or warning to others, but we don’t really know how animal groups relate to each other linguistically in the wild.
Recently, scientists discovered that bottlenose dolphins CONTINUE READING »
Would you learn a new language if it would help your health? You may have heard that bilingual children actually have more brainpower than kids who grow up speaking only one language. CONTINUE READING »