Strategy

57% of Americans pronounce ‘merry,’ ‘marry,’ and ‘Mary’ the same, and it highlights a fascinating quirk of the English language

Americans vary in how they pronounce the words “merry,” “marry,” and “Mary.” A majority, 57%, of Americans pronounce all three words the same. The divide highlights something fascinating about American English. You’re probably going to hear the phrase “merry Christmas” a lot over the next few days. But depending on […]
57% of Americans pronounce ‘merry,’ ‘marry,’ and ‘Mary’ the same, and it highlights a fascinating quirk of the English language
Tech

Facebook’s secretive hardware group made an armband that lets you ‘hear’ through your skin. It’s a key part of the company’s bigger plan to embed computers in our bodies

Researchers from Facebook’s clandestine and ambitious consumer hardware group known as Building 8 created an armband that transforms words into understandable vibrations. The work is a key component of the company’s aim to create the world’s first brain-machine interfaces – devices that essentially embed our phones or laptops in our […]
Facebook’s secretive hardware group made an armband that lets you ‘hear’ through your skin. It’s a key part of the company’s bigger plan to embed computers in our bodies
News

9 common words you probably didn’t know came from movies

Movies like “Star Wars,” “Ghostbusters,” and “Clueless” are celebrated as classics. They also have made some surprising contributions to our vocabularies. Common words popularised by movies include “catfish,” “my bad,” and even “toast.” Movies have long influenced the way people talk, and sometimes, it’s in ways we don’t even realise. […]
9 common words you probably didn’t know came from movies
Strategy

6 things New Yorkers say that you won’t hear anywhere else

From Barbara Streisand to Al Pacino, Bernie Sanders to Donald Trump, New Yorkers have made their legendary dialect the most recognisable in North America, according to sociolinguist William Labov. But it’s more than just “fuhgeddaboutit” and “yuuuge” that set New York English apart – there are more subtle features in […]
6 things New Yorkers say that you won’t hear anywhere else
Strategy

9 things only Southerners say

Southern Americans are well known for their distinctive dialect of English. From its country twang to its unique vocabulary, there is a lot that sets Southern English apart from other US dialects. Graphic designer Joshua Katz mapped some of the most distinctive elements of Southern English in 2013 using data […]
9 things only Southerners say
Strategy

One of Trump’s favourite phrases was named the 2017 Word of the Year

The American Dialect Society named “fake news” the 2017 Word of the Year. It said President Donald Trump helped change the definition of fake news from disinformation presented as news to “actual news that is claimed to be untrue.” Meanwhile, “alternative facts” was named Euphemism of the Year and “covfefe” […]
One of Trump’s favourite phrases was named the 2017 Word of the Year
News

The surprising effect 9/11 had on the English language

The September 11, 2011 attacks changed American life in many ways. They even had an effect on our language, in that they changed how people talk about terrorist incidents. Linguists have noted how the name people assigned to the attacks, “9/11,” is now a blueprint for naming other terrorist incidents […]
The surprising effect 9/11 had on the English language