• The Case For Calling the Language "American"

    by Ilan Stavans

    The history of pragmatic adaptation that built the American form of English is reflected in its present status as the world's second language. It's not jingoistic, just accurate, to declare the particularity of the American tongue. 

  • Y'all's Time Has Come

    by David B. Parker

    The South already has a pronoun that transcends singularity, plurality and gender. 

  • India in a Different Voice

    by Maya Jasanoff

    Learning Hindi during a sabattical presented a researcher with the chance to engage with Indian history outside of the frame of English, and to grasp the power struggles pushing the country toward authoritarian nationalism today. 

  • The Antiabortion Movement's Victory in the War of Language

    by Jennifer L. Holland

    The antiabortion movement was able to overcome American skepticism of enshrining religious views into law and demands by women for full citizenship by turning the language of rights to apply to fetuses. It remains to be seen if this language will lead to a national ban on abortion in the name of fetal personhood. 

  • How the Chinese Language Modernized

    Jing Tsu's book examines the ways that the Chinese written language has survived waves of iconoclasm and shifts in the politics of cultural authority. 

  • What Does it Mean to Call Someone a "Male Chauvinist Pig"?

    by Julie Willett

    Merging the term "chauvinism" from the old left and the radical 1960s desire to render authority grotesque, the term emerged with the second wave of feminism. But today some of the sexists labeled with it appear to have turned it into a badge of honor. 

  • Where Gender-Neutral Pronouns Come From

    The invention of pronouns to better address gender has been part of the English language for a long time, as has moral panic about the degradation of culture and speech. 

  • The Ethics of the "N-Word" in the Classroom

    by Alan Singer

    Neither censorious expungement nor free speech absolutism offer good practical guidelines for teaching historical sources that include racial slurs. A professor of history education explains his approach. 

  • The Birth, and Life, of a Word

    by Ralph Keyes

    One of the most widely-used terms in discussions of American racism has its roots in a campaign by two pro-slavery writers to troll abolitionists through a fake tract promoting "miscegenation."

  • The English history of African American English

    by Shana Poplack

    Many of the features stereotypically associated with contemporary African American Vernacular English have a robust precedent in the history of the English language.