Category: Culture

Ancient Looping Poetry

One of the great works of ancient Sanskrit poetry, the Kiratarjuniya, contains a masterpiece of linguistic looping. The epic poem believed to date from the 6th century, contains a verse which can be read forward, backward, up, down and diagonally. Continue reading

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Deep Purple: Hard Rock with a Mild Mannered Name

How many hard rock bands have been named after the title of a song which came before? Probably hundreds. Deep Purple was named after a song, but the resemblance to its namesake well and truly ends there. Continue reading

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What is the Opposite of a Blockbuster?

In movies, the opposite of a blockbuster is a bomb: no prizes for getting that answer right. But look a little further into the background of the word blockbuster and it gets more interesting. Continue reading

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Galoshes! Who Gets Naming Rights for Footwear?

The answer is: a conquering imperial army. But don’t expect much creativity. Continue reading

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Linguistics 101—Speaking in ‘Schwa’

What is the most commonly used vowel sound in the English language? You might quibble over ‘a’, ‘e’, or ‘i’, but to find the answer you have to look beyond the five commonly accepted vowels (or six if you include ‘y’) to a little-known vocal utterance called schwa. Continue reading

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