13 June 2013
03 January 2008
Those of us who stood before dusty blackboards intoning "amo amas amat" often wondered why we were doing it. What was...
10 July 2006
I was seeking traces of my relatives. They had been among the first pioneers in Pangatotara, when in 1854 they bought...
05 June 2006
The recent glut of books about autism reflects both the burgeoning number of cases and our hunger to read about...
07 November 2005
In 1948, the Romanian playwright Eugene Ionesco wrote a one-act play called The Bald Soprano. Inspired by Ionesco's...
Watch your tongue. Will English still be the lingua franca of business and the internet in 50 years? Helena Drysdale explains why even successful languages can quickly wither away
28 February 2005
The history of a language is more than just a study of its technical aspects - its grammatical foibles, its vocabulary...
19 July 2004
When I was backpacking around Asia in the 1980s, we practised a form of inverted snobbery whereby the worse everything...
23 February 2004
Arthur Shearly Cripps was a poet, athlete and Anglican missionary who arrived in Southern Rhodesia in 1901. He found a...
09 February 2004
Do we care that over the next century more than half the world's 6,500 languages face extinction? What use is - say -...
24 March 2003
The digitally enhanced byline photos that dominate newspapers today suggest that most journalists are not only more...
15 July 2002
In 1952, a young architect, Michael Ventris, cracked the code of one of the most intractable ancient languages - the...
15 April 2002
What kind of book is this, exactly? History, detective story, travel or fiction? It is, in fact, all of these, and much...