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Faulty Language Selection

Amanda Kruel from Knoxville, Tennessee, wrote to say that ten years after learning French, she was studying German and her mind would jump from German to French, instead of English, when she was at a loss for a word. This is known as faulty language...

Vocal Variants of Missouri

How do you pronounce Missouri? The late Donald Lance, a former professor from the University of Missouri at Columbia, compiled the exhaustive research that became The Pronunciation of Missouri: Variation and Change in American English, which traces...

Nomophobia

How would you feel if someone took away your smartphone? Nomophobia, the suggested moniker for that anxiety produced by the separation between one and one’s phone, was cooked up by a market research firm. Is there a better term for that awful...

Creaky Voice

For some time now, linguists have been studying a style of speaking known as creaky voice. In the United States, it’s heard particularly heard among young white women in urban areas. New research about this phenomenon, also known as vocal fry...

Evidence-Based

Does evidence-based have a hyphen? Why, yes it does, because evidence-based functions as an adjective. While style guides indicate that we’re using fewer hyphens, evidence-based is an important one to keep intact, even when used after the verb...

Qi, Qat, and Za: Great Scrabble Words

Need a good Scrabble word? Grant shares some of his favorites. Also, why do we call those classic screwball films madcap comedies? And what does it mean to walk in a crocodile? Plus mondegreens, naval slang, learned vs learnt, and “No way...