London: multilingual capital of the world

THERE ARE very few cities in the world where you can order breakfast in Farsi, book a taxi in Urdu, ask for afternoon coffee in Arabic and spend the evening chatting with your friends in Cantonese. But all of this - and more - can be done in London.

Letter: That Beryl just don't talk proper

FRANKLY, I am amazed to hear Beryl Bainbridge, a (presumably) educated person, displaying the sort of prejudices that I thought had disappeared with the realisation that "non-RP" speakers actually existed and had a role to play in Britain.

Letter: Portrait of the artist as linguist

TOM WOLFE'S withering dissection of post-war American art in his book The Painted Word isn't as Blake Morrison's spin states (Essay, Culture, 21 February). Rather, Wolfe suggested that questionable art was created to illustrate, consciously or not, dodgy theory dreamt up by artists and critics alike, and then used to legitimate the art. Mr Morrison's idea, therefore, that "the last word lies with art itself" is an illusion arising when viewers' perceptions are mediated by the same shared theories and assumptions. Artists have a duty to explain their work, and should be valued for this - as long as they can distinguish explanation from empty verbiage.

Books: Alphabetic gloves, edible vowels and other artificial speech devices

I See a Voice: A Philosophical History of Language, Deafness and the Senses

Just what the doctor ordered (in other words, a pint)

For God's sake, was I hoicked out of the pub to discuss the pronunciati on of Hawick?

Korea's mother tongue: English

SOUTH KOREA, a battleground of the various imperialisms of the 20th century, is anticipating falling victim to what promises to be the greatest imperialism of the 21st.

Trying to clarify the linguistic confusion

RANK-AND-FILE officers in Greater Manchester demanded an explanation yesterday of precisely what their chief constable, David Wilmot, meant when he said there was institutional racism in the force.

Words: omasum, n.

RUMINANTS' STOMACHS cause me a great deal of linguistic anxiety. If you look up omasum in Chambers Dictionary, you will find it means "a ruminant's third stomach, the psalterium or manyplies". Look up psalterium and you will find it is the omasum or manyplies, while the entry for manyplies tells us it or they (for the word is sing. or pl.) is or are the omasum or psalterium.

Beware the language hooligans

THERE WAS rather ominous irony in the ability of the New Oxford Dictionary of English to displace many a more dynamic item from the front pages of the mid-week newspapers.

A very un-English English expert

Historical Notes

What happens when you say `kiss'

William Hartston meets an artist with an challenging new theory aboutthe origins of human language

Computer struck dumb by quirks of Welsh

TECHNOLOGY has hit the linguistic buffers at BBC Wales's Cardiff headquarters where a new computer is refusing to understand "the language of heaven", writes Tony Heath.

Pedants' corner - Refutations and denials

On Wednesday, Geoffrey Boycott said that he refuted all allegations of girlfriend-battering that were made against him. On Thursday, Mr Clinton, according to this newspaper "refuted charges of having an affair with Monica Lewinsky". It's enough to make a pedant despair. Neither Mr Clinton nor Sir Geoffrey refuted anything at all. They denied, they repudiated, they rejected, they rebuffed - but they didn't refute.

Weather: Eskimo snow words - The debate drifts on

Last week, we gave the lie to that hoary old myth about Eskimos having dozens of words for snow. On the other snowshoe, however, it could be said that they do have dozens of words ... It all depends how you count them.

Weather: The linguistic truth about kaniktshaq

Much of what linguists have written about Eskimo words for snow has been pure invention. Whatever anyone may say to the contrary, however, they do have a large number of them.
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As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links