Month: February 2016


Surprisingly (perhaps), The Economist is a great source for articles about linguistics. When an article is also about world politics, however, no one is surprised. Yesterday’s issue included a piece with the odd title of “Je suis circonflexe”; what could that possibly be… Read More ›


Barbara and I just got back from an excellent dinner at Gaslight. Barbara started with a huge shredded beet salad, which she enjoyed but she had to take home more than half of it. I started with the traditional French… Read More ›


We’re having a dispute about the commonly understood meaning of the word “most.” Don’t look it up in a dictionary; just go by your own intuitive definition. Here’s a sample situation: You’re in a gathering of 12 people, with the following… Read More ›

Why “x”?

If it’s in a TED talk, it’s got to be correct. Right? Actually, not so much. But when the talk is about both math and linguistics, how could I resist? So I just had to watch Terry Moore’s four-minute TED talk… Read More ›

Why do you roll your eyes?

Don’t bother reading this post if you don’t know any teenagers — or if you never were one yourself. A recent column in the New York Times provides a perspective on understanding a common behavior of teenage girls (and boys…and tweens…). I… Read More ›

Who needs algebra? — A follow-up

Lucy Brownstein, a high-school student from Brooklyn, wrote a fine response to Andrew Hacker (see my post of February 7). You noticed that I didn’t say something like “a fine response for a high-schooler.” It’s a fine response, period. But still, it’s especially… Read More ›


You might have some prejudices about Iowa, and you might even have some prejudices about physics teachers, but please ignore them at this point. The ever-interesting Shawn Cornally has written a fascinating post with the title “These Misconceptions Are Keeping School… Read More ›