Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

  • Subtopics

The neuroscience of consciousness by the Oxford Comment podcast

Oxford World English Symposium 2022 recap [podcast]

This past April, the Oxford English Dictionary hosted the World English Symposium, a two-day event featuring a series of parallel sessions and panels on topics relating not only to varieties of English, but language prejudice, colonialism, and context-based English language teaching, among others.

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

When does a kid stop being a kid?

Last summer, my city’s community forum had a post that generated considerable discussion about the meaning of the word kid. Our governor had announced, via Twitter, that “All Oregon kids ages 1-18, regardless of immigration status, can get free summer meals” from the state’s Summer Food Service Program.

Read More
Bram Stoker's Dracula

Five little-known facts about Dracula

The 26th May 2022 marks the 125th anniversary of Dracula’s publication. Despite its reputation as one of the great Gothic novels, there are facts about Dracula that might surprise even the most hardcore fans.

Read More

Idioms: a historian’s view

Idioms are phrases and often pose questions not directly connected with linguistics. Linguists interested in the origin of idioms should be historians and archeologists.

Read More
Every 90 Seconds by Anne P. DePrince

The possibility of a world without intimate violence

Today, stopping violence against women falls to few. The criminal legal system is charged with enforcing laws. A school delivers prevention programming to the children in attendance that day. A doctor privately addresses a survivor’s pain.

Read More
Unexpected Prosperity: How Spain Escaped the Middle Income Trap

Beyond the Anna Karenina principle in economic development

The opening sentence of Tolstoy’s novel Anna Karenina–All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way–is popular among development practitioners, who often offer their own version as follows: All rich economies are alike; each poor economy is poor in its own way. This idea, which we can call the Anna Karenina principle of economic development, is meant as a recognition of the value of context and local knowledge.

Read More

A long look at the origin of idioms

Idioms are a thankful subject: one needs no etymological algebra or linguistic preparation for suggesting the origin of phrases. And yet it may be useful to explain how a professional goes about studying idioms.

Read More
Oxford University Press logo

A Florence Price mystery solved (part two)

To my knowledge, Price’s Boston address remained inconclusive until I visited Special Collections at the University of Arkansas Mullins Library this past January to find new leads for the Price biography I am co-authoring with Samantha Ege, the Lord Crewe Junior Research Fellow in Music at Lincoln College, Oxford. The recovery of this information fills a void in a life story for which “the necessary evidence to write a detailed biography,” as preeminent Price scholar Rae Linda Brown once put it, “is surprisingly scant.”

Read More
A Concise Guide to Communication in Science and Engineering

The curious popularity of “however” in research articles

There are many ways to signal a change of direction in a piece of text, but the most common is by inserting a “but.” Alternatives such as “although,” “though,” “however,” “yet,” and “nevertheless” generally run a poor second. In research articles, though, the prevalence of “however” increases—especially in some disciplines.

Read More

The sour milk of etymology

The time has come to write something about the etymology of the word milk. Don’t hold your breath: “origin unknown,” that is, no one can say why milk is called milk, but then no one can say why water is called water either.

Read More
Oxford University Press logo

A Florence Price mystery solved (part one)

To my knowledge, Price’s Boston address remained inconclusive until I visited Special Collections at the University of Arkansas Mullins Library this past January to find new leads for the Price biography I am co-authoring with Samantha Ege, the Lord Crewe Junior Research Fellow in Music at Lincoln College, Oxford. The recovery of this information fills a void in a life story for which “the necessary evidence to write a detailed biography,” as preeminent Price scholar Rae Linda Brown once put it, “is surprisingly scant.”

Read More
Before the UN Sustainable Development Goals

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is another tragic setback in our efforts at building a sustainable future

To say that wars cause disruption and hardship is stating the painfully obvious. Regardless of attempts—real or professed—at limiting civilian casualties, military conflict always unleashes suffering on the civilian population. History also shows us that the disruptive effect of war also runs deeper and far beyond the geographic limits of fighting with far-reaching consequences for sustainability.

Read More