The Invention of Chinese

Believing language would unify their struggling nation, Chinese officials began a project to create a national language and define what it meant to speak Chinese. 

Making Massacre

A Dutch conspiracy trial in the Indonesian archipelago gave birth to a sadly enduring English word.

The Early Life of Gibberish

What does it mean to speak gobbledygook, mumbo-jumbo or jargon? Such words are more fraught than the playful games of the Jabberwocky suggest.

Here Be Monsters

In Anglo-Saxon England a hill could be a dragon’s lair and a ditch the home of gods.

We Speak French Here

French was the only language worth speaking in medieval Britain – and not just by the upper classes.