There Once Was a Fund Guy Named Bernie …

A reader named Van Brenner wrote to let us know about an online dictionary in which every definition is written in the form of a limerick. One of our favorites is the following one on bear markets by Robert Holland: Gentle Ben this bear market is not, Especially for bulls who are caught Unawares by […]

Our Daily Bleg: What's the Word for …

From a reader named Raymond DeCampo comes this interesting, poignant bleg. (Read up on blegs here; send your own blegs here; and see some other new Freakonomics-coined words here.) My wife and I recently undertook the task of securing our son’s future in the event we would not be there to secure it for him. […]

Meet the Flambore

A few months ago, we coined a new word on this blog: "penultamour," defined as "the last person to date another person before that other person took up with his/her eventual spouse."

The word hasn't exactly caught fire; but at least someone grabbed the domain name www.penultamour.com.

English Guilt

English is everywhere — the lingua franca (should be lingua anglica) of today’s world! Its universal usage minimizes transaction costs in an increasingly integrated world — and that integration has increased interest in learning the lingua anglica. I feel guilty about this, and all American economists should: It’s easier for us to write our scholarly […]

The N-Word

I was having lunch with one of my senior colleagues at the University of Chicago economics department the other day. We were sitting in the faculty club when he confessed to me that he had used the N-word a few days earlier. He is mild-mannered and quite liberal. I was curious to know what had […]

A Word on New Words

It is always fun to see language grow. (No, I don’t mean menu language.) One of my favorite rising words is “kindergarchy,” described here by Joseph Epstein as “rule by children,” a condition whereby “children have gone from background to foreground figures in domestic life, with more and more attention centered on them, their upbringing, […]

FREAK Shots: We Don’t Want You Laughing at Us

In the months before the Olympics, the Beijing Speaks Foreign Languages program sent out sign police to catch and correct Chinese signs with incorrect English translations, reported Mei Fong of The Wall Street Journal. “We don’t want anyone laughing at us,” said the group’s leader Chen Lin. But some tourists and Beijing residents are concerned […]

How Much Does It Cost You in Wages if You “Sound Black?”

Fascinating new research by my University of Chicago colleague, Jeffrey Grogger, compares the wages of people who “sound black” when they talk to those who do not. His main finding: blacks who “sound black” earn salaries that are 10 percent lower than blacks who do not “sound black,” even after controlling for measures of intelligence, […]

How Networking Influences What We Speak

David Singh Grewal, an Eliot Fellow in the Social Sciences at Harvard University, is author of the book Network Power: The Social Dynamics of Globalization, in which he explores, among other topics, the relationship between language, networks, and globalization. In the wake of the recent quorum we ran on this very subject, David has agreed […]

Our Daily Bleg: Spanish-Language Music, Please

From a reader named Joe McCright of Alexandra, La., comes the following bleg. Please help him out in the comments section. Past blegs can be found here; you can send your own bleg requests here. I teach Spanish to kids in pre-K through 4th grade, and I play music of the Spanish-speaking world to expose […]