Why are languages different?

It’s no secret that different languages are different. One particularly well-known dimension along which languages differ is in their morphological structure[1], which refers to how words[2] are formed in a language. Some languages have pretty simple words, meaning there are relatively few morphemes, or units of meaning, per word. For an example in English, the … Continue reading Why are languages different?

“You Got Heat?”: Indirect speech acts in The Wire

Language is full of ambiguity. This fuzziness is often cited as a sign of imperfection, leading some to try to develop more precise languages of their own[1]. But ambiguity actually serves a purpose, and is frequently exploited in human interactions. Part of recognizing the utility of ambiguity requires understanding that language is more than just … Continue reading “You Got Heat?”: Indirect speech acts in The Wire