Category Archives: babble

Giving Life to Language: How New Words Are Created

Not yet halfway through the year and already Webster’s has added a 1,000 new words to their dictionary. Though the old man Noah Webster himself might have been stymied by words like humblebrag, photobomb and listicle, the lexicographers at Merriam-Webster are encouraging the unstoppable language revolution. It’s true that none of these words are necessarily(…)


But Is It Art?

How do you describe something that is beautiful? How about well made? What if it is out of the ordinary? Is the description automatically synonymous with ‘art’? As abstract (pun completely intended) as it may be, how can and should art be defined? Art, in form, theory, and construct is always subjective.With that in mind,(…)


Population Boom, Language Bust: Homogenization at Work

Since modern science has extended life spans and lowered infant and child mortality rates, world population has been increasing at an exponential rate leading to major changes in human migration. This migration has created larger and larger populous centers that has resulted in cultural homogenization and the dominance of fewer languages (ahem, English). Okay, that’s(…)


English Words that Came From the Russian Revolution

The amount of news stories referring to collusion or collaboration between the United States and Russia as of recent has done its fair share so as to inspire words like ‘disinformation’ and ‘propaganda’, both of which find their origins in Russian interestingly enough. Aside from the vast numbers of Serfs, Jews, and Slavs that fled Russia from(…)


The “Hotel California” Phenomenon in Thailand

Hi, my name is John McMahon. I am an American who has lived in Thailand for over a decade and I need some help. Ten years ago I lived in a big house on a small side street with a little bar at the end. The owner of this bar also fancied himself a singer.(…)


The Tricks of the Trade: Airline Language

It may sound mythical, like unicorns or pots of gold at the end of rainbows to those born after around 1990, but it’s true: flying was once pleasurable. Before the abuse; the stripping, radiating, berating. It was a fairly simple process to board a plane. Before the luggage limitations and federal laws and armed marshals,(…)


Brain Benefits of Being Bilingual

“Americans who travel abroad for the first time are often shocked to discover that, despite all the progress that has been made in the last 30 years, many foreign people still speak in foreign languages.” – Dave Barry I have always envied those raised bilingually. Those who slip so easily from one tongue to another.(…)


Your Guide to Lies, Lies, and More Lies

Liar, liar, pants on fire, and if that were true most of us would be alight from the ankles up. Everyone hates a liar. The word consistently rates in the bottom 5% of 500 descriptive words but we all are; big or small, intentional or by mishap, liars. We have great words for lying. When(…)


The Bond of Language

There may be no more comforting experience than hearing your own language when far from home. For instance, searching for the rumored bus station in a small town in Indonesia and having a well educated local take you under their wing. Even hearing your local accent, your home town twang, in a strange city in(…)


To be a Stranger in a Strange Land

  The notion that it’s a small world is just that, a notion. It is a large world, and one that differs greatly from place to place. Of course, though, modern technology has tightened things up. We can go to Google Earth and visit any little corner of any town in any country that strikes(…)