A Critic’s Critic Quits His Day Job

Freed from his day job, the anxiety-plagued supercritic George Scialabba begins his next chapter.


Why I Was Fired  

Incivility is the only civilized response to barbarity.


Philip Tetlock’s Tomorrows

He’s teaching superforecasters to predict the future. Crazy, right? Except when it works.


Is Academe a Cult?  

The metaphor is provocative but misleading.


Prozac Ph.D.  

A professor shares his anxious past to make troubled students feel less alone.


Go East, Evangelicals  

American 19th-century missionaries to the Middle East came home with a complicated view of Islam.

Happy Birthday, Lingua Franca!

Allan Metcalf celebrates the fourth anniversary of this blog with a look at the meaning of its name.

Everyday Artificial Stupidity

Geoff Pullum thinks the appallingly dumb behavior of the machines that currently talk to us does not bode well for the future of intelligent devices.


How to Teach in an Age of Distraction  

Human interaction and sustained introspection? There are no apps for those.

A Lesson in 'Lessen'

Why not just say decrease? Lucy Ferriss, answering a discomfited reader, explains why a plethora of synonyms makes English so rich.


Papal Language

Allan Metcalf pontificates about papa and pope and, of course, pontificate.

A Healthful Perspective

Anne Curzan contemplates the fate of a usage rule that even passionate language enthusiasts generally don't seem to know anymore.


The Humanities at the End of the World  

In a world of perpetual material insecurity, the humanities really are a luxury.


How to Tame an Internet Troll

What would it take to bring civility to the web?


Primo Levi's Invaluable Voice, in Full  

Primo Levi’s voice of compassionate reason is an antitoxin to our age of bluster and bilge.


How I Became Invisible

History and historians are taken for granted. But if they have no future, you have no past.


Millennials and the 'War on Terror'  

How has the “war on terror” affected the millennial mind-set?


On 'Diversity'

Ilan Stavans is a champion of, and has benefited from, efforts to promote diversity. But he has a problem with the word.

The Great Punkin Controversy

Ben Yagoda grew up in New York and never knew from punkin. How would you say the name of a large orange fruit plentiful at this time of year?

Members Only

Are you faculty or a faculty member? Bill Germano looks for the individual in our campus collective nouns.