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Human language is, of course, far from static. Our vocabularies are constantly being influenced by cultural movements, migrations, new technologies and much, much more. Indeed, even good old-fashioned mixups can shape the way we speak, write and think. As this animation from BBC Ideas explains, there’s a long and rich history of commonly misheard sayings eventually becoming widely accepted, and even replacing the original phrase. So if you’ve ever deployed ‘duck tape’ or spent an afternoon ‘biting your time’, worry not: you might just be on the idiomatic cutting-edge.
‘Dun dun dun duuun!’ Why Beethoven’s Fifth sticks in the head and stirs the heart
The irreverent duo who thumbed their noses at the Soviet Union and the US art world
Thinkers and theories
Henri Bergson on why the existence of things precedes their possibility
Ageing and death
Demystifying death – a palliative care specialist’s practical guide to life’s end
Future of technology
Is this the future of space travel? Take a luxury ‘cruise’ across the solar system
Why mathematical truths exist with or without minds to consider them
Stories and literature
A French Creole folktale nearly lost to time is given new, gorgeously animated life
Food and drink
Is a ‘gastronomic society’ dinner the height of decadence, or an act of artistry?
Computing and artificial intelligence
Struggling to learn how to do a backflip, Nikita takes on an unusual training regimen