What's in Babel?

Below is a guide to every issue of Babel and the feature articles and regular features you can find in each one. You can pick up all back issues on our Buy Back Issues page.

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Sampler

No1  •  No2  •  No3  •  No4  •  No5  •  No6  •  No7  •  No8  •  No9  •  No10

No11  •  No12  •  No13  •  No14  •  No15  •  No16  •  No17  •  No18  •  No19  •  No20


Babel No20Screenshot 2017 07 13 17.06.18 (August 2017)
Articles
Language: Its Forms and Functions - Simone Bacchini introduces Systemic Functional Linguistics
The Limits of Machine Translation - Inderjeet Mani on the challenges of machine translation
Looking for Language in the Brain - Patrick C. Trettenbrein offers a round-up of research into language and the brain
Why Does Everyone in Star Wars Speak English? - Philip Seargeant looks at the different ways in which sci-fi writers have created alien languages

Regular features
Ask a Linguist - Are there constructions that are grammatically describable in different ways?
Interview with a Linguist - Laura Wright interviews Massimo Sturiale
Language Games - Spectacular spectrograms
Language in the News - The problem with language in the news
Languages of the World - Heiko Wiggers on Low German
The Linguistic Lexicon - Babel brings you the letter T
Lives in Language - Michaela Jane Milligan on Zhou Yougang
Meet the Professionals - Babel meets the founder of Linguisticator
Pull-out poster - How machines understand speech
Reviews - The 2017 Babel Lecture; Paul Anthony Jones' 'The Accidental Dictionary'

No19 coverBabel No19 (May 2017)
Articles
The Poetics of Hamilton - Jennifer Harding on figurative language in the hit Broadway show
Keep Calm and Use an Adverb - Paul Baker asks whether we still really love the gradable adverb
I Want to Speak American - Jette Hansen Edwards investigates American English in Hong Kong
What the F***? - Erica Gold and Dan McIntyre explore the relationship between sound and meaning in a famous scene from The Wire
Nadsat - Benet Vincent identifies the distinctive features of A Clockwork Orange's teen argot
Guise and Gullibility - Dominic Watt considers the light and dark sides of vocal impersonation

Regular features
Ask a Linguist - Why is there a split between 'a' and 'an' in English determiners?
Interview with a Linguist - Laura Wright interviews Louise Sylvester
Language Games - Vulgar Victorian vocabulary
Language in the News - The Oxford comma
Languages of the World - Nathaniel Lotze on Mahri
The Linguistic Lexicon - Babel brings you the letter S
Lives in Language - Jim Clarke on Anthony Burgess
Meet the Professionals - Babel meets biolinguistics researcher Cedric Boeckx
Reviews - Kim Ballard's 'The Stories of Linguistics'; Adam Hurrey's 'Football Cliches'

No18 CoverBabel No18 (February 2017)
Articles
Encountering Conlangs - Deak Kirkham investigates the intriguing phenomenon of constructed languages
Reign of the Grass-mud Horse - Susanna Wickes looks at strategies for evading censorship on the Chinese internet
Opportunity vs. Identity - Jon Reyhner looks at the negative effects of assimilationist educational efforts that sought to ‘civilise’
The Case of Double Negation - Naomi Gradwell on the history of a linguistic bugbear

Regular features
Ask a Linguist - Have nouns in German always been capitalised?
Language Games - Morphological motifs
Language in the News - Language prejudices in court
Languages of the World - Malcolm Hebron on Catalan
The Linguistic Lexicon - Babel brings you the letter R
Lives in Language - Siobhan Chapman on L. Susan Stebbing
Meet the Professionals - Babel meets speech-language pathologist Holly Shapiro
Pull-out poster - How we can mean more than what we say
Reviews - Michael D. Gordin’s ‘Scientific Babel’; Judy Hochberg’s ‘101 Questions about Spanish’; Robert C Berwick and Noam Chomsky’s ‘Why Only Us?’

No17 coverBabel No17 (November 2016)
Articles
Romansch - Emma Jewell discusses the history and culture of Romansch
The Frog Stories - Jane Lugea on the ‘frog story’ methodology
Life in Death - James Akka looks at three stories of language birth
Why Do We Love Comic Characters? - Agnes Marszalek explores the language of narrative comedy
Metaphors the Market Lives By? - Maria Muelas Gil explores the language of English and Spanish news reports

Regular features
Ask a Linguist - Where do gender distinctions come from?
Language Games - Caucasian cartography
Language in the News - Offensive language in politics
Languages of the World - Christopher Loether on Shoshoni
The Linguistic Lexicon - Babel brings you the letter Q
Lives in Language - Jon Orman profiles Roy Harris
Meet the Professionals - Babel meets language officer Paul Kaye
Pull-out poster - How live television subtitling works
Reviews - Susan Rennie’s ‘The Oxford Roald Dahl Dictionary’; Fiona English and Tim Marr’s ‘Why Do Linguistics?’

Issue 16 cover PaintBabel No16 (August 2016)
Articles
Rediscovering Saussure - William J. Carrasco on revisiting Saussure's work
The Inside Story of Variationist Sociolinguistics - Sali A. Tagliamonte tells the story of VSLX
The Other Saussure - Javier Alcalde on Saussure's relationship with his brother, Rene
Great Minds Think Slightly Differently - Hillary Waterman on the similarities and differences between the ideas of de Saussure and the logician Charles Sanders Pierce
What's in a Word?
 - Malcolm Hebron on the difference between 'migrant' and 'refugee'

Regular features
Ask a Linguist - How can we measure linguistic relatedness?
Language Games - Catenary Contronyms
Language in the News - English dialects
Languages of the World - Mao Ye on Chinese
The Linguistic Lexicon - Babel brings you the letter P
Lives in Language - Sjoerd van Hoorn looks at the life of Leo Spitzer
Meet the Professionals - Babel meets linguistic tour-guide Deborah Chatterjee
Pull-out poster - De Saussure's influence on how computers understand meaning 
Reviews
 - The 2016 Babel Lecture; Simon Horobin's 'How English Became English'; Vyvyan Evans's 'The Crucible of Language' 


Issue 15 cover PaintBabel No15 (May 2016)
Articles
The Future of English - Simon Horobin on how English might look in the future
Who Did What to Whom? - Vikki Janke on new research into the language skills of children with autism spectrum disorder
Metaphor Interpretation - Andreas Musollf on how metaphors translate across cultures
We Speak Turkish - Anne Schluter on the impact of dining room language policies in Istanbul
Second Language Accent Acquisition
 - Ksenia Gnevsheva and Kevin Watson look at whether second language speakers can 'pass' as natives

Regular features
Ask a Linguist - Has new technology brought about new punctuation?
Language Games - Test your Hungarian
Language in the News - Bird language; 'Bag lady'
Languages of the World - Hanan Ben Nafa on Arabic
The Linguistic Lexicon - Babel brings you the letter O
Lives in Language - Lynda Mugglestone profiles Samuel Johnson
Meet the Professionals - Babel meets language web-comic writer Malachi Rempen
Pull-out poster - A visual guide to voice quality
Reviews
 - David Crystal's 'The Gift of the Gab'; Robert Macfarlane's 'Landmarks'



babel cover issue14

Babel No14 (February 2016)
Articles
Anyone for Menace?
 - Dominic Watt, Sarah Jelly, James Tompkinson and Katherine Weinberg investigate intimidating speech patterns

Changing the Debate - Deborah Cameron and Sylvia Shaw examine women party leaders' language
Political Conflict as a Catalyst for Language Change - William Cotter discusses Palestinian Arabic    
You Are Here
 - Andrea Macrae introduces deixis
 

Regular features
Ask a Linguist - How do emojis mean? 
Language Games - Pick up some Nimbian numerals 
Language in the News - Philadelphian ASL accent; Merriam-Webster's Word of the Year 
Languages of the World - Paul Flanagan discusses Northern Sotho 
The Linguistic Lexicon - Babel brings you the letter N
Lives in Language - Bas Aarts profiles Danish linguist Otto Jespersen 
Meet the Professionals - Babel meets language podcast presenter Helen Zaltzman 
Pull-out poster - What kind of linguist are you? Find out with a Cosmo-style quiz! 
Reviews - David Crystal's 'Words in Time and Place'; Yellowlees Douglas's 'The Reader's Brain'



babel cover issue13Babel No13 (November 2015)
Articles
The Combinatorial Structure of English
Hannah Little on the theremin and English

The Language Debate - Monique Flecken and Geoffrey Pullum debate whether language shapes how we think  
Lebanon's Language Dilemma - Jonathan Lahdo analyses a sociolinguistic evolution in Lebanon

Linguistic Creativity in Young Multilinguals - Robert Sharples on inventive language users
Twerking Sheep - Ollie Sayeed uses spoonerisms to show how language is represented in the mind 

Regular features
Ask a Linguist - Why do 'fate' and 'fatal' have different connotations? 
Language Games - How quickly can you master Carnie? 
Language in the News - Peeping chimps and human language; New additions to the OED 
Languages of the World - Pauliene van Eldik discusses Dutch 
The Linguistic Lexicon - Babel brings you the letter M
Lives in Language - Gemma Kelly profiles phonetician Daniel Jones 
Meet the Professionals - Babel meets linguistic anthropologist Barbara Clark 
Pull-out poster - A stylistic analysis of a poem 
Reviews - Jeremy Butterfield's 'Fowler's Dictionary of Modern English Usage'; Veronique Michel's 'China Online'  

babel cover issue12Babel No12 (August 2015)
Articles
British and American English
 - Jeremy Butterfield investigates how British and American English differ

The Early BBC on the Question of Pronunciation - Jurg Schwyter describes the BBC's attempts to prescribe how English should be spoken  
Description Vs. Prescription Dan McIntyre on attitudes to how language is used
Talking Robots
 - Georgina Brown looks at Speech Technology applications 
What's in a Name?
 - Sarah Chevalier explores the associations attached to given names
 

Regular features
Ask a Linguist - Why do we talk to our babies in the third person? 
Language Games - Test yourself on the modern Greek alphabet 
Language in the News - The rise of emoji; Michael Gove on grammar 
Languages of the World - Halid Bulic discusses the Bosnian language 
The Linguistic Lexicon - Babel brings you the letter L
Lives in Language - Sjoerd van Hoorn profiles French linguist Emile Benveniste 
Meet the Professionals - Babel meets translator and intercultural mediator Laura Centonze 
Pull-out poster - Illustrations of 'untranslatable' words 
Reviews - Naomi S. Baron's 'Words Onscreen'; Vyvyan Evans's 'The Language Myth'


11 CoverBabel No11 (May 2015)
Articles
Bilingualism and Emotions
 - Ania Marchwiak provides a bilingual's perspective on how we express emotions in Polish and English

Hebny and Abu - David Lewiston Sharpe on similarities between English and Egyptian
Metaphors and Cancer - Elena Semino discusses her experiences in researching metaphors for cancer
Romanesco - Martin Bennett provides a rough guide to Rome's most heard words
When Size Matters - Naomi S. Baron explores why text length matters on-screen 

Regular features
Ask a Linguist - Does the UK have the highest number of regional dialects? 
Language Games - Is your English vocabulary up to snuff? 
Language in the News - Masculine language in Italian politics; Sign language goes viral 
Languages of the World - Mahmood Kadir Ibrahim discusses Kurdish 
The Linguistic Lexicon - Babel beings you the letter K
Lives in Language - Ofelia Garcia and Bernard Spolsky profile Joshua A. Fishman 
Meet the Professionals - Babel meets primary immersion-English teacher Jeremy Dean 
Pull-out poster - A visual introduction to the phonetics of sign language 
Reviews - The 2015 Babel lecture



Babel Issue 10 CoverBabel No10 (February 2015)
Articles
Being Creative with Negation
 - Lisa Nahajec on creativity with negation in English 
New Chinglish
 - Li Wei describes a variety of English being reclaimed in China 
New Technologies and Language Learning
 - Billy Brick surveys new technologies changing autonomous language learning 
Place Names and Language - Carole Hough introduces the study of place names 
Should We Make the Glottal Stop?
 - Dominic Watt on attitudes towards a reviled and revered speech sound


Regular features
Ask a Linguist - When should we use 'gotten', and how does it differ from 'got'? 
Language Games - Can you spot English loanwords in Hawaiian? 
Language in the News - Language and the brain; Plebgate 
Languages of the World - John Steckley discusses Wendat 
The Linguistic Lexicon - Babel brings you the letter J
Lives in Language - Jean Boase-Beier profiles Russian scholar Roman Jakobson 
Meet the Professionals - Babel meets business language consultant Neil Taylor 
Pull-out poster - A visual introduction to corpus linguistics 
Reviews - Gaston Dorren's 'Lingo'; Dan Jurafsky's 'The Language of Food'


9 CoverBabel No9 (November 2014)
Articles
Childhood in Three Languages
 - Sarah Chevalier investigates multilingual language acquisition 
English Language in Australian Schools
 - Ella Hopkins on a revival in English language teaching

The Four-year-old Linguist - Rhonwen Shaw looks at children's language skills and knowledge
The Great Phonics Debate - Jack Thirlby and Matt Davies investigate systematic synthetic phonics
Target: Accent - Justyna Kozyra-Bober investigates mastering a new accent
Youth Activism in Language Preservation - Chase Garcia and An Nguyen describe work that raises awareness for endangered and minority languages 

Regular features
Ask a Linguist - How useful are language-learning apps? 
Language Games - Can you decipher Cree syllabics? 
Language in the News - Messi and Spanish learning; Press attitudes to Scottish independence 
Languages of the World - Joe Wilde discusses Bislama 
The Linguistic Lexicon - Babel brings you the letter I
Lives in Language - Mick Short remembers Geoffrey Leech 
Meet the Professionals - Babel meets lexicographer Craig Leyland 
Pull-out poster - A map of emerging and endangered languages 
Reviews - John H. McWhorter's 'The Language Hoax'; David Crystal's 'Begat'  

 

8 CoverBabel No8 (August 2014)
Articles
The Art of Konglish - Niamh Mulholland on a fusion of English and Korean  
Borrowed words in everyday English
 - Philip Durkin on how the UK owes more than just money

Dialect Hunting by Caravan - An extract from Stanley Ellis's classic fieldwork
First Words - Martin Edwardes explores what makes humans different from animals
Fish People - Hillary Waterman on Jean Jackson's research on language among the riverine Bara community
Ha! Gayyyy! - Noortje de Weers on the history of the word 'gay'   

Regular features
Ask a Linguist - Does the transmuting of the 'oo' sound indicate a Little Vowel Shift? 
Language Games - How is your knowledge of animal names? 
Language in the News - Words in wartime; Dumbing down in A-Levels 
Languages of the World - Christopher Lewin discusses the Celtic language Manx 
The Linguistic Lexicon - Babel brings you the letter H
Lives in Language - Dan McIntyre profiles author J. R. R. Tolkien 
Meet the Professionals - Babel meets interpreter Anna Chesnokova 
Pull-out poster - Pick up some Chinese with Chineasy
Reviews - Michael Erard's 'Babel No More'; Mark Newbrook's 'Strange Linguistics' 


7 Cover
Babel No7 
(May 2014)

Articles
A Battle Not the War - Tom Ruette on The Linguistic War of the 1960s 
Fingallian
 - Conor Pyle investigates the case of the disappearing dialect 
Resistance is Futile
 - Monika Bednarek on the language of television series 
Sweet Bully Bottom
 - Keith Johnson explores some unusual Shakespearean usages

The Tongue that Shakespeare Really Spoke - David Crystal on original pronunciation 

Regular features
Ask a Linguist - How do we know that Shakespeare really wrote his plays? 
Language Games - Can you identify lexical lapses? 
Language in the News - The status of Ukrainian; The mystery face behind Bitcoin 
Languages of the World - Melanie Evans explains the intricacies of Early Modern English 
The Linguistic Lexicon - Babel brings you the letter G
Lives in Language - Rebecca Woods profiles Swiss linguist Ferdinand de Saussure 
Meet the Professionals - Babel meets Jo Kim of the BBC Pronunciation Unit 
Pull-out poster - A visual overview of Shakespeare's coinages
Reviews - Jude Isabella's 'Chitchat'; John Lucas and Allan Chatburn's 'A Brief History of Whistling' 

 

6 CoverBabel No6 (February 2014)
Articles
Bringing Up Bilingual Children - Annika Bourgogne explains the advantages of growing up with more than one language 
Militancy or Manipulation?
 - Matt Davies explores the demonisation of trade unions in the UK press 
The US Foreign Language Deficit
Kathy Stein-Smith examines the US foreign language deficit
Women in Rap Music - Kate Moore looks at whether female performers have feminist intentions 
Wordsmiths and Warriors - Babel interviews David Crystal about his new book for the 'English-language tourist'

Regular features
Ask a Linguist
 - Why do Romance languages form plurals with an 's'?
Language Games - Can you spot some etymological impostors?
Language in the News - Dialects in schools; Research into cooing to babies
Languages of the World - Beatrice Owiti on Dholuo
The Linguistic Lexicon - Babel brings you the letter F
Lives in Language Rebekah R. Ingram profiles Edward Sapir
Meet the Professionals Babel meets text analyst Patrick Juola
Pull-out poster The Historical Thesaurus of the Oxford English Dictionary
Reviews Melissa Mohr's 'Holy Sh*t'; Guy Deutscher's 'Through the Language Glass'



5 CoverBabel No5 (November 2013)
Articles
The Day of the Cyborg - Jonathan Downie wonders if computers will take over translation 
Double-voicing
 - Judith Baxter asks whether there is a linguistic glass ceiling in the boardroom

Interview - William Labov and Gillian Sankoff
Language as Patchwork Quilt, Mirror or Mongrel? - Noortje de Weers on the controversial anthem for the new Dutch king
Research that Inspired Me - Lesley Jeffries on the work of Jean Berko
The Wonderful World of Code-Switching - Penelope Gardner-Chloros explores linguistic mashups

Regular features
Ask a Linguist - Why does Armenian have its own branch in the Indo-European family tree?
Language Games - How's your Denglisch?
Language in the News - J. K. Rowling is mystery author; Why ice cream sounds fat
Languages of the World - Lauren Gawne explains the intricacies of Yolmo
The Linguistic Lexicon - Babel brings you the letter E
Lives in Language - Audrey Borowski profiles Gottfried Wilhelm von Liebniz
Meet the Professionals - Babel meets speech and language therapist Rebecca Levings
Pull-out poster - A visual guide to the speech articulators
Reviews - J. P. Davidson's 'Planet Word'; Mark Forsyth's 'The Horologicon'


4 CoverBabel No4 (August 2013)
Articles
Alice in Ego-land - Katie Wales explores the rhetoric of inanimate objects that talk
Animal Language
 - Martin Edwardes talks to the animals 
British Sign Language - Kateryna Pavlyuk argues that BSL is in no way inferior to spoken language

Losing Language - Jurg Schwyter discusses how he recovered his language abilities after a stroke
The 'Scientific' Language of Beauty Advertisements - Helen Ringrow questions the science behind the language of beauty advertising 

Regular features
Ask a Linguist - 'In hospital' or 'In the hospital?' 
Language Games
- How quickly can you get to grips with Ulwa possessives?
Language in the News 
- US dialect maps go viral; Researchers identify 15,000-year-old 'ultraconserved' words

Languages of the World - Willie van Peer explains the intricacies of Bamanan
The Linguistic Lexicon - Babel brings you the letter D
Lives in Language - Ana Tominc profiles sociolinguist John J. Gumperz
Meet the Professionals - Babel meets language developer David J. Peterson
Pull-out poster - The International Phonetic Alphabet
Reviews - Jack Lynch's 'The Lexicographer's Dilemma'; Sam Leith's 'You Talkin' to Me?'


3 CoverBabel No3 (May 2013)
Articles
Debunking the Myth of the Male Polyglot
 - Anjali Panday goes in search of women with amazing linguistic powers 
Endangered Alphabets
 - Tim Brookes describes his work on the world's endangered alphabets 
Language, Ideology and Conflict Lesley Jeffries on how language can create or solve conflicts

What's Wrong with English Spelling? - Simon Horobin on the complexities of English spelling
When Language Goes Wrong - Mick Perkins on how communication disorders may be less 'disordered' than you think

Regular features
Ask a Linguist - In which countries or regions is English spoken the least?
Language Games - Take the endangered alphabets quiz! 
Language in the News - Anachronisms in period dramas; French ban on 'hashtag'
Languages of the World - Charles Briffa looks at Maltese
The Linguistic Lexicon - Babel brings you the letter C
Lives in Language - Susan Hunston profiles John Sinclair
Meet the Professionals - Babel meets dialect coach Brendan Gunn
Pull-out poster - Map of the languages of the world
Reviews - Nigel Armstrong's 'Translation, Linguistics, Culture'; Trace Baker's 'Speaking of Murder'

 

2 CoverBabel No2 (February 2013)
Articles
Kyanising, Kestos and Vassarettes - Laura Wright uncovers the stories behind famous brand names
Language as Headache - Dick Hudson and Louis Blois explain how to think like a linguist
Our Survey Says... - Matt Evans discusses research into the meaning of feminism
Polari - Paul Baker examines the lost-and-found language of gay men
Read All About It! - Dan McIntyre and Brian Walker investigate Early Modern English news
Return to Sender - Peter Trudgill examines the impact of exotic Americanisms on British youth

Regular features
Ask a Linguist - Why is the letter 'X' used to represent a kiss?
Language Games - Test yourself on the Aztec empire language Nahuatl
Language in the News - Misogynist language in Australia; Revelations about the history of the OED
Languages of the World - Colin Mills introduces the African language Dagara
The Linguistic Lexicon - Babel brings you the letter B
Lives in Language - Peter French profiles dialectologist Stanley Ellis
Meet the Professionals - Babel meets translator Nicole Y. Adams
Pull-out poster - The Indo-European language family tree
Reviews - David Crystal's 'The Future of Language'; Marion Nash, Jackie Lowe and David Leah's 'Supporting Early Language Development'

 

1 Cover
Babel No1 (2012)
Articles

Anything You Say May Be Given in Evidence - Peter French and Louisa Stevens describe the work of forensic speech scientists

Circles of English - Marcus Bridle looks at how English norms are shifting as the language continues to spread
How to Speak Venusian - Peter Stockwell explores the problems and pitfalls of intergalactic communication
Politeness in Chinese - Daniel Z. Kadar challenges the view that Chinese politeness strategies are different to those in the West

Regular features
Language Games - How quickly can you pick up the Austronesian language Abma?

Language in the News - The passing of the Queen's English Society; English in the primary curriculum
The Linguistic Lexicon - Babel brings you the letter A
Lives in Language - Siobhan Chapman profiles philosopher of language H. Paul Grice
Reviews - Philip Gooden's 'The Story of English'; Susie Dent's 'How to Talk Like a Local'

 


SamplerSampler cover
Articles
Sweet Bully Bottom - Keith Johnson explores some unusual Shakespearean usages
The US Foreign Language Deficit - Kathy Stein-Smith examines the US foreign language deficit
The Art of Konglish - Niamh Mulholland on a fusion of English and Korean

Regular features
Ask a Linguist - Why is the letter 'X' used to represent a kiss?
Language Games - How quickly can you master Carnie?
Languages of the World - Beatrice Owiti on Dholuo
Lives in Language - Lynda Mugglestone profiles Samuel Johnson
Meet the Professionals - Babel meets language developer David J. Peterson
Pull-out poster - A visual guide to voice quality
Review - John H. McWhorter's 'The Language Hoax'