Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

Off with their prefixes

I was teaching the history of the English Language and had just mentioned that, following the English Civil War, Charles I had been convicted of treason and beheaded.

A question came from the back of the classroom: “Why do we say beheaded and decapitated, not the other way around?”

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Ukraine: What Everyone Needs to Know

Who is Putin fighting against?

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has highlighted a curious disconnect between the supposed ideological objective of the war and the means used to achieve it.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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