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Wherefore Converse?

Preface I started this post a couple of months ago–before Covid-19 foisted itself upon the world. The point remains relevant, nonetheless–perhaps more so. On vacation last winter, I booked a tour from Sedona to Antelope Canyon. It was my first time traveling with a group of strangers in a small rental van, and I ended […]

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There’s a reason the English call it a “full stop”

I made this observation at a writing-group session a couple of years ago, so I was happy to find my linguistic intuition supported with research. I used to have friends I texted several times a day, and I noticed that subtle changes such as this communicate even more with someone you text on a daily […]

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Steven Pinker’s 13 Tweets for Writing Well-Written Prose

Steven Pinker is a linguist and psychologist who teachers at Harvard University. He’s most famously known for his popular-science book on linguistics titled The Language Instinct among other books on cognitive science. In my classes, however, I most often use the style guide The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person’s Guide to Writing in the 21st […]

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New Study Reveals How the Advent of Agriculture Even Changed the Way We Speak

Historical linguists don’t often have reason to rejoice, but they might be excited about this. New research indicates farming exerted an influence on the speech sounds we make–specifically the /f/ and /v/ labiodental fricatives. The argument for the interdisciplinary approach scores another win. Here’s the link to the paper published by the University of Zurich.