News Grammar campaigners in Cambridge have been adding apostrophes to street signs after Cambridge City Council stopped using them.

The Good Grammar leader warned that now apostrophes are gone, commas could be next

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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