Monthly Archives: December 2012

Where Does “The South” Begin?

Yesterday I crossed the border from Pennsylvania to Maryland, and was greeted by a road sign for “The Mason-Dixon Line,” the historical demarcation between the American North and South. It’s a misleading distinction from a linguistic perspective, because one does … Continue reading


Posted in American English | Tagged , | 27 Comments

The Spread of a Slur

Jane Eyre complains of being “fagged” in Charlotte Bronte‘s masterpiece; a small road in northern England is named “Faggy Lane;” and who can forget Alfred Gurney’s heartwarming 1884 poetry collection, A Christmas Faggot? The preceding paragraph makes me cringe, no … Continue reading


Posted in Miscellaneous Accents and Dialects | Tagged , | 17 Comments


While doing some channel surfing the other day, I stumbled upon the reality show Made in Chelsea. I’d describe the program to Americans as akin to The Hills or Laguna Beach (although I don’t recall Lauren Conrad cracking jokes about “phonological … Continue reading


Posted in British English | Tagged , , | 11 Comments