Why would you write books or poems or plays with only one vowel? Or in palindromes? Or only using the example sentences in dictionaries? Sometimes you need to force yourself to jump a few hurdles (and perhaps the rest of the obstacle course) before your creativity will be unleashed.Read More
"Really? As in the animal/foodstuff/music genre?"
"Is that a stripper name?"
"What were your parents thinking?"
When you're feeling unwell, what's the book you read to make yourself feel better? And why does it work?
Clinical psychologist Jane Gregory explains why she sometimes prescribes novel-reading to her patients; and academic Guy Cuthbertson tells how post-WW1 Britain was soothed by Agatha Christie's murder mysteries.Read More
What is the expression 'beyond the pale' on about? How do you express the absence of feeling? Does 'testify' have anything to do with testicles? Do avocados have anything to do with testicles? How does the phrase "It's all Greek to me" relate to food styling? Can you have a caper with capers? Are sharks misunderstood, etymologically and morally? And finally: where do allusions come from?Read More
Today will be fine.
But wait: fine as in 'OK', fine as in 'really rather good', or fine as in 'no precipitation'? When you're a TV weather forecaster, you have to deal with the mismatch of your specialist vocabulary with that of the meteorological laypeople watching - as well as cover all the weather across a whole country, translate conditions into something the viewer can identify with, and warn people about cyclones without making them too panicked. (Or not panicked enough - do take sensible cyclone precautions, people!)
Nate Byrne, who presents the weather for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's News Breakfast, breezes in to shower us with meteorological knowledge.Read More
Strange or obtuse; a stinging homophobic slur; a radical political rejection of normativity; a broad term encompassing every and any variation on sexual orientation and gender identity: the word 'queer' has a multifarious past and complicated present. This is just a fraction of it.
Tracing the word's movements are Kathy Tu and Tobin Low from Nancy podcast, Eric Marcus from Making Gay History, and historian and author Amy Sueyoshi, with Jonathan Van Ness from Queer Eye.Read More
You are born and raised in a household speaking a language. Then you start going to school, and that language is banned. If you speak it, you'll be punished physically or psychologically. Across your country, there are people like you who associate their first language with shame, or not even being a language at all.
This is the predicament of the Scots language.
Scots language campaigners Ishbel McFarlane and Michael Dempster recount how Scots was sent into the shadows, and how it is at long last returning to public.Read More
To accompany the current Allusionist miniseries Survival, about minority languages facing suppression and extinction, we're revisiting this double bill of The Key episodes about why languages die and how they can be resuscitated.
The Rosetta Stone and its modern equivalent the Rosetta Disk preserve writing systems to be read by future generations. But how do those generations decipher text that wasn't written with the expectation of requiring decipherment?
Features mild scenes of linguistic apocalypse.Read More
There are two main places in the world where the Welsh language is spoken: Wales, and the Chubut Province in Patagonia. How did this ancient language take root in rural Argentina, 12,000 miles away from its home base?Read More