Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

Title cover of "Dangerous Crooked Scoundrels: Insulting the President from Washington to Trump" by Edwin L. Battistella, published by Oxford University Press

In praise of phrases

Writers need to love words—the good, the bad, and the irregular. And they need to respect syntax, the patterns that give words their form. But when writers understand the power of phrases, their sentences shine.

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Word Origins

Dangerous neighbors: “sore” and “sorrow”

Quite naturally, speakers connect words that sound alike. From a strictly scholarly point of view, “sore” and “sorrow” are unrelated, but for centuries, people thought differently, and folk etymology united the two long ago.

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“Lying” in computer-generated texts: hallucinations and omissions

There is huge excitement about ChatGPT and other large generative language models that produce fluent and human-like texts in English and other human languages. But these models have one big drawback, which is that their texts can be factually incorrect (hallucination) and also leave out key information (omission).

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Word Origins

Plain as day?

The Oxford Etymologist looks at the origin of the word “day” and its connections across the Indo-European language world.

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"Language, Science, and Structure: A Journey into the Philosophy of Linguistics" by Ryan M. Nefdt, published by Oxford University Press

Real patterns and the structure of language

There’s been a lot of hype recently about the emergence of technologies like ChatGPT and the effects they will have on science and society. Linguists have been especially curious about what highly successful large language models (LLMs) mean for their business.

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