Review: Harry Potter and the Classical World

My review of Harry Potter and the Classical World by Richard A. Spencer is now online at the Classics for All online reading room. As you can tell from the review, I enjoyed this book great deal! It goes into an incredible amount of detail about the Classical allusions in the Harry Potter series – perhaps…

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…

Nurses and “milk-buddies” in Roman epitaphs

One of my favourite things about the Roman death course I’m teaching this year is that every week teaches me something I never knew before. A few weeks ago, while I was translating some epitaphs to use in a lecture, a particular word caught my eye. The inscription ran: Rottio hic sit[us es]t iuve/nili robore…

How I plan

I didn’t mean to make this a week of “How-To” blog posts, but somehow it has become one! Soon after I published my post “How I Write a Lecture“, Ellie Mackin posted my contribution to her “How I Plan” series of interviews. If you want to know how I plan my research, you can read…

How I write a lecture

This term has involved a lot of lecture writing for me. Planning, writing and teaching two brand-new courses at the same time has been brilliant fun so far, but also lots of work. Talking to colleagues, I’ve realised that not all of us take the same approach to writing new courses – and talking to…

Cambridge Greek Play 2016

As some of you know, I’ve been in the chorus of the Cambridge Greek Play a couple of times – in Agamemnon in 2010 and in Prometheus/Frogs 2013. I’ve also written before about putting together the Cambridge Greek Play online archive, which I did in the summer of 2015. This year, I had the unique experience of being…

Gendered speech in Aristophanes

I’m excited to say that my article “The sociolinguistics of gender, social status and masculinity in Aristophanes” has now been published online in the Journal of Historical Sociolinguistics.  The research in this article ultimately goes all the way back to my undergraduate thesis, though my conclusions have changed many times since then. But I kept coming…