The death of languages
Endangered languages have sentimental value, it's true, but are there good philosophical reasons to preserve them?
The study of languages has long been prone to nonsense. Why is linguistics such a magnet for dilettantes and crackpots?
Is linguistics a science?
Much of linguistic theory is so abstract and dependent on theoretical apparatus that it might be impossible to explain
The legal imagination
Hypotheticals, fantastical beings, and a fictional omnibus: legal reasoning is made supple by its use of the imagination
Life's most meaningful experiences can leave us tongue-tied. What can be said, let alone understood, about the unsayable?
Chomsky, Wolfe and me
I took on Noam Chomsky’s ideas about language and unleashed a decade of debate and ridicule. But is my argument wrong?
Euphemisms are like underwear: best changed frequently. What work are they doing in our language and why do they expire?
More than words
Human communication is a glorious chaos. And images, from art to emojis, sometimes say it so much better than language can
What makes swear words so offensive? It’s not their meaning or even their sound. Is language itself a red herring here?