Bless Your Heart: A Meditation, A Taxonomy, A Eulogy

There is a phrase that a woman can deploy like a verbal stiletto. It's increasingly dangerous to use, because many people are catching on to the phrase's true meaning. You've got a decent shot at sneaking it by folks who aren't from the South, but more and more, you try unloading it on anyone at all in America and you… » 3/06/15 3:30pm 3/06/15 3:30pm

10 Things People Once Complained Would Ruin The English Language

You've probably heard that English is being ruined — by the Internet, by texting, by Americans, by young people who have no respect for proper grammar. But it turns out that people have always worried over English, and over the centuries, have accused all sorts of things of "ruining" the language. » 2/06/15 10:08am 2/06/15 10:08am

America, Why Are You Naming All Your Boys Like This?

On Dumbing Down (and Smartening Up) Your Accent

There's a debate going on over at the UK's Telegraph between two middle-to-upper class men about the trend of "dumbing down" your accent and inventing a backstory in order to claim more working class roots than the ones you actually have. » 4/03/14 2:20pm 4/03/14 2:20pm

Two Timelines of Slang for Genitalia, from 1250 Through Today

Depending on what era you live in, a penis might be known as a plough, a pillow prick, a jigglestick, or a jasper, while a vagina might be a fly-trap, an oracle, a catch 'em alive-o, or the antipodes. Brush up on your historical slang with a pair of genital charts. » 8/17/13 7:30am 8/17/13 7:30am

New Study Shows That Babies Start Picking Up Language in Utero So Quit…

If you thought you only had to start watching what you say in front of your kids once they're around 1 or 2-years-old, think again. A new study shows that babies begin picking up language while they are still in the womb, maybe even as early 30 weeks' gestation, which is generally around the time that the fetus… » 1/08/13 12:15pm 1/08/13 12:15pm

Women, Stop Talking. Old Men Don't Like How You Speak.

There's a reason that every generation is displeased with the speech patterns and patois of the generation that follows. Language is a living thing that's constantly morphing and evolving. If you get left behind or fail to learn popular slang and speech patterns of today, it becomes far easier for others to peg you as… » 1/07/13 6:50pm 1/07/13 6:50pm

The 'California Accent' Is Hella a Thing

A team of researchers is canvassing California to try and nail down some of the linguistic peculiarities native to its various regions. Conventional wisdom holds that, aside from garish movie caricatures like Spicoli and Cher Horowitz, the English spoken on the west coast is clean, accentless, and standard. » 9/18/12 3:50pm 9/18/12 3:50pm

What Your Pronouns Say About You (and Power)

When you talk to someone for the first time, either in a professional, social, or potentially date-y situation, it's easy to pay attention to the proper nouns peppered throughout your discussion — pop culture references, mutual friends, the places where you grew up or went to college. But can you remember how many… » 4/30/12 10:30am 4/30/12 10:30am

Everyone Totes Copying How Young Women, Like, Talk and Stuff

In the eighties, Valley Girlspeak permeated young women's interactions with each other. In the nineties? Young ladies? Were ending things? With a question mark? Now, women end their phrases with a low growl, a la Britney Spears before she needed to be left alone. And in ten years or so, everyone will be ending… » 2/27/12 7:45pm 2/27/12 7:45pm