Etiquette & Languages

Etiquette and Languages observes how people relate to each other through behaviors and speech. Find information on topics like tipping, sign language, good manners and slang.


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Is It 'Theater' or 'Theatre'?

What's the meaning behind how we spell theater and theatre? And does it really matter?

It's a Small World, and It's Wiping Out Languages

The world boasts about 7,000 languages. Close to half are threatened with extinction.

How Accents Work

Despite what you might think, everyone has an accent. It just becomes noticeable when it's different from others in the same community. How do accents develop and why is it so hard to lose one?

Taking Up Two Parking Spaces Is Clearly Horrible, But May Not Be Illegal

Surely a level of Hell is reserved for inconsiderate parkers. But can the police actually write them a ticket? Well, it depends...

Why Is Chuck the Short for Charles and Bill the Short for William?

There's no 'U' in Charles or 'B' in William, so how did those get to be the nicknames?

Where Did 'Shirt and Shoes Required' Come From?

Nope, it has nothing to do with the health department.

How Different Accents Develop Within the Same Language

There are two main factors that influence the development of unique accents within a language: human nature and isolation.

Female Supreme Court Justices Interrupted Three Times More Frequently Than Men

A new study found conservatives more often interrupted liberals, and that the frequency of "manterrupting" has increased along with the number of women on the court.

Why 'Wednesday' Isn't Pronounced the Way It's Spelled

There's a term for a vanishing letter like that in spoken American English's Wednesday. But first, some history about ancient gods.

What Does It Take to Fit Into a Nation? Speak the Dominant Language, Many Say.

Speaking a country's native language counts for a lot — even more than birthplace — when it comes to national identity, according to a new Pew survey.

Merriam-Webster Adds More Than 1,000 New Words to the Dictionary

Binge-watch, photobomb, Seussian and safe space: Got it! But santoku and bokeh? Pareidolia and snollygoster?

4 Ways Apostrophes Are Mangled Every Day

"Flower's For Sale!" "Happy Birthday from the Smith's!" Why do we commit these apostrophe abuses, and how can we stop them?

Baby Names Are Getting More Unique in the U.S., Even When Times Are Tough

Researchers set out to determine whether times of economic hardship made parents feel the need to fit in or stand out.

North Korea Outlaws Sarcasm. What a Great Idea!

Is it really possible to ban sarcasm? We're about to find out.

Our 10 Favorite Updates to the 2016 AP Style Book

Grammar nerds and internet pedants alike, rejoice! The "journalist's bible" is back with a brand new edition packed with language rules and clarifications.

Linguists Find Fascinating Quirk in How Amazonian Language Expresses Time

The indigenous language Nheengatu uses something called "celestial pointing" in place of words, making it a language that's both auditory and visual.

Introverts Just Got a New Job: Grammar Police

A study found that introverts were more likely than extroverts to negatively judge those who made grammar mistakes and typos. No introverts were available to comment.

MacGyver It! Beer Me! Let's Turn That Noun Into a Verb

Are you Netflixing out tonight? Mentosing up for your hot date? Sure, the Internet wasn't invented to turn nouns into verbs, but it definitely helps spread the word.

#nopeface: One Universal Expression That Says 'Not' Across Cultures

The study also had surprising findings about the evolution of human language and grammar.

England Attempts to Clamp Down on — Exclamation Points!

Anyone who has received a text or an email has seen the wild proliferation of the once rarely used exclamation point.

Grunt Away. We'll Understand.

Sometimes, as it turns out, a sound is worth a thousand words. Huh? Huh?

Fluency in Bad Words Indicates Good Vocabulary Overall

A recent study shows that the more creative a person's use of profanity, the better their overall vocabulary.

Gary's a Trustworthy Name. Is Yours?

Goodbye, Gary. Your name is going extinct. Which is a shame, because it's just the name to inspire trust.

The Surprising (and Backward) Evolution of Swear Words

We believe that saying curse words always evolves from taboo to eventually acceptable. But sometimes it goes the opposite way, too.