Three archaeological poems by Thomas Hardy

Thomas Hardy was one of my favourite authors as a teenager (my friend and I had a challenge to try to read all of his novels, which we didn't quite manage). I never read much of his poetry, probably because 15-year-old me was more interested in stormy Victorian romances, but I was revisiting some of... Continue Reading →

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Arrival – Linguists save the earth

Language is a problem for sci-fi. In any story involving contact with alien peoples or human civilisations from the distant future, there has to be a mechanism for understanding what everyone else is talking about, or most plots will never get off the ground. In Star Trek, you have the linguist Uhura, who has already presumably put... Continue Reading →

Reblogged – What the digamma?

An excellently Classical post appeared on the Strong Language linguistics blog last week after someone found the phrase "what the digamma?" in a poem of 1881. I'll let you read Ben Zimmer's musings on whether this is a joke replacement of "what the dickens" or is meant as something closer to "WTF". The comments give... Continue Reading →

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