Language and Linguistics

Latest Articles


An education funding formula, hailed as a breakthrough, faces its critics

For years, Rhode Island was one of just two states in the union without a funding formula for its public schools. And then, for a time, it was the only state with that dubious dis-tinction.
Fuzzy math
By DAVID SCHARFENBERG  |  June 25, 2010

Beach Fossils | Beach Fossils

There are currently no functioning synonyms (ask Thesaurus) for the term “lo-fi,” so I’ll spare us all the agony of trying to find a more nuanced way to pigeonhole this band.
Captured Tracks (2010)
By CARRIE BATTAN  |  May 21, 2010

Raw Boswell

David Foster Wallace had a crush on Alanis Morissette. He drank Diet Rite soda by the case. David Lynch changed him.

By NINA MACLAUGHLIN  |  May 14, 2010

Jakob Dylan | Women + Country

“Boring” is the sort of adjective used by music snobs (hi there!) to describe the Wallflowers, the band who brought Jakob Dylan’s hoarse and unexcitable voice into the mainstream.
Columbia (2010)
By ZETH LUNDY  |  April 23, 2010

Review: The Secret In Their Eyes

The Counterfeiters (Austria) won in 2008, Departures (Japan) triumphed in 2009, and in 2010 the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar went to this piece of crap from Argentina.
The Academy got it wrong
By PETER KEOUGH  |  April 16, 2010

Review: Ajami

Set in the Arab neighborhood of the title, this Israeli nominee for the Best Foreign Language Oscar starts out like a Middle Eastern Boyz N the Hood .
This Middle Eastern Boyz N the Hood  teeters, but doesn't Crash
By PETER KEOUGH  |  February 26, 2010

Ask a Black Woman: Harry Reid edition

Just in time for Black History Month, another installment of "Ask a Black Woman," thanks to JT in Portland who in early January asked me: What's your take on the Harry Reid thing?
Diverse City
By SHAY STEWART-BOULEY  |  February 05, 2010

Internet Slang

Laughing online
Reality Check
By DAVID SIPRESS  |  February 05, 2010

Tight but loose

I had never come across the adjective "jangular" until I visited the Glowkid website.
Jangly + angular = Glowkid
By CHRIS CONTI  |  January 22, 2010

Book Review: The Tin Drum

There are — and have always been — two Günter Grasses. There's the Grass who was born in Danzig and the Grass who was born in Gdansk.
Günter Grass and Tin Drum 2
By JEFFREY GANTZ  |  December 18, 2009

The Big Hurt: ''Losing'' news in brief

AEROSMITH ’s disastrous summer of canceled tours and geriatric folly has taken its toll on guitarist Joe Perry, who recently told MTV that the band were on “indefinite hiatus” — which is music-industry slang for “I hate Steven Tyler.”
Aerosmith lose Joe; A-Ha lose everybody; Diddy loses bling; Corgan just loses it
By DAVID THORPE  |  October 30, 2009


Hans Rickheit versus the novel

In high-school English class, we're taught that literature features three basic types of conflict: man versus man, man versus environment, and man versus himself.
Exploding Cow Dept.
By MIKE MILIARD  |  October 02, 2009

Plain talk

Jesse Sheidlower, an editor-at-large of the Oxford English Dictionary , an expert in slang, and the author of The F-Word , can't stop talking about fuck.
Jesse Sheidlower gives the f-word its due
By JUSTINE ELIAS  |  September 18, 2009

La Fogata

Few Boston neighborhoods are as blessed with affordable restaurants, or as unfairly overlooked, as Eastie.
A cozy Eastie spot for Colombian snacks and more
By MC SLIM JB  |  August 28, 2009
hamlet list

A Danish punk

The sad mad Danish prince is probably the most oft-quoted tragic hero in the English language, but he's a lot more than that. He is also, as I was reminded recently by a theater companion encountering him for the first time, pretty exasperating to be a
The Theater at Monmouth's Hamlet
By MEGAN GRUMBLING  |  August 07, 2009

. . . And so is your mom

Va te faire enculer . Sounds lovely, doesn’t it? Actually, I just told you to fuck off. Pardon my French!
If you don't have anything nice to say dept.
By CAITLIN E. CURRAN  |  July 03, 2009

Living Colour, Michael Madsen, and Rhody's new media

The travails of the Providence Journal are the stuff of coffee house and talk radio chatter. And the troubles afflicting the local newscast fill the pages of this week's Phoenix .
Rhode Island has seen its share of media strife in recent years.
By DAVID SCHARFENBERG  |  June 26, 2009

Review: Departures

Yôjirô Takita's film won the Best Foreign Language Oscar this year, and for good reason.
Deliberate, detailed, and delicate
By PETER KEOUGH  |  June 19, 2009

Men + money = mess

Since Iceland is something of the epicenter of the global financial crisis — its government being the first to essentially go belly up — it's probably not surprising that the Icelanders have come up with the most novel and interesting theory as to what c
The financial crisis is a man-made problem. And it might not have occurred if we had listened to women.
By STEVEN STARK  |  May 15, 2009

Class project

Atom Egoyan was one of the first and most insightful of filmmakers to ponder the consequences and the moral implications of technological advances in media and communications.
Atom Egoyan offers reasons for Adoration
By PETER KEOUGH  |  May 15, 2009

Dueling morals

A battle of pedagogies is raging at an English grammar school for teenage boys.
Mad Horse's masterful The History Boys
By MEGAN GRUMBLING  |  May 01, 2009


Takeo Toyama | Etudes

Takeo Toyama's song experiments here run the gamut from sublime to unsettling. The first half offers mannered, consonant melodies.
Karaoke Kalk (2009)
By MICHAEL PATRICK BRADY  |  April 24, 2009


Psycho Sudoku!
Psycho Sudoku!
By PSYCHO SUDOKU  |  April 24, 2009

Great Taste Bakery and Restaurant

After a series of unimpressive Chinese restaurants (and one Korean place) had vacated the premises, this odd double-storefront reopened with a silly name — and actually delivers on it. All the food we had did taste great!
A Chinatown eatery that lives up to its name
By ROBERT NADEAU  |  April 17, 2009

Say what?

Good news for perplexed suburbanites: a new site called  lets experienced rap interpreters explain difficult urban slang to hip-hop neophytes.
The Big Hurt: A chat with Bill Buckholz of
By DAVID THORPE  |  April 10, 2009

The worst word

Then it happens: you look up at the TV screen and see Bono, the lead singer of U2, step up to the podium to accept a statuette for recording the Best Alternative Music album. "We shall continue to abuse our position," he says, "and fuck up the mainstrea
How F**K became our top taboo term -- and why we need it to stay that way
By TIMOTHY GOWER  |  April 03, 2009

Kaidoku XXXVII

By PSYCHO SUDOKU!  |  April 01, 2009

Review: Everlasting Moments

You wonder how this effort — Maria Larssons eviga ögonblick in its original Swedisagh title — failed to get even a nomination for the Best Foreign Language Oscar.
Can a camera help mom hold it together?
By PETER KEOUGH  |  April 01, 2009

French tickler

"The French language is perfect for talking about sex," muses hirsute Parisian singer and electronic-musician Sébastien Tellier.
Voulez-vous coucher avec Sébastien Tellier?
By DANIEL BROCKMAN  |  March 30, 2009

East meets West

The paintings in "Shôwa Sophistication" at the Museum of Fine Arts are like the dreamiest travel posters you've ever seen.
'Shôwa' at the MFA, and Mrs. Gardner's Asian tour
By GREG COOK  |  March 24, 2009