We do a lot of our communicating with pictures these days. Emojis and GIFs help us express our meaning in texts and emails, and they sometimes seem like languages of their own. Some people have wondered, then: are emojis the new hieroglyphs? To find out, we asked Georgetown professor Ruth Kramer, a specialist in Ancient Egyptian, to help us create an introduction to this ancient writing system. (Spoiler alert: hieroglyphs are way more complicated than emojis.)
A message for the new year from founder Ann Friedman.
Planet Word made enormous progress in 2017, from selecting an exhibit designer to finding our future home. We also launched our blog to bring you new language insights and interviews! Take a look back on our biggest hits from the past year.
Has the internet changed the way new words enter our collective vocabulary? How do dictionary makers figure out what words having staying power and which will be obsolete in a month? How does a modern dictionary function in this ever-changing language landscape? Lexicographer and radio host Grant Barrett weighs in.
Read up on the five words that New York Times crossword editor Will Shortz thinks you should know, then try your hand at a puzzle made by the Planet Word team!
Kathleen Diamond is a trailblazer in the multibillion-dollar language services industry. Here, she describes her experience as an entrepreneur in the 1980s and offers some advice to today's students and language professionals.
Take a look inside the Mundolingua museum, a hidden gem for language lovers in the heart of Paris.
Linguists can tell us a lot about how we learn languages, but they don't have all the answers. Elissa Newport, head of Georgetown University's Learning and Development Lab, talks us through some of her lab's cutting-edge research on the topic.
When national security threats appear, we need to be equipped to handle them with more than just manpower — we need language experts too. Bill Rivers, executive director of the Joint National Committee for Languages, explains how proper language training is vital to national defense efforts.
Poetry shouldn't be some imposing, academic monolith: it should be discussed and enjoyed in homes and classrooms everywhere. The Poetry in America initiative, founded and directed by Lisa New, uses a multimedia approach to make conversations around poetry more accessible.
Pronunciation can be a minefield of silent letters and tricky vowels — and a signal of social hierarchy. But accents and pronunciation also provide endless fodder for jokes. Linguist and author David Crystal discusses diction, accents, social class, and how people from the Victorian era to modern day have found humor in it all.
A new documentary, Talking Black in America, explores African American English through interviews with linguists, speakers, and educators. Walt Wolfram, director of the Language and Life Project and the film's executive producer, discusses the project.