As a former English major and lifetime lover of good literature, it’s always exciting for me to see how the Web 2.0 world is pushing the bounds of how we think about the Classics. Moving content online and beginning dynamic discussions breathes new life into old topics. News on the Rialto, a blog created and updated by Shakespeare Magazine’s staff, is no exception. From new movie and play productions to new discoveries about Shakespeare’s life, see how his life and work is still relevant, how cultures across the globe are retelling his stories, and how incredibly interesting a guy who lived almost 400 years ago can really be.
Ever think about why the heck we use the words that we do? Language evolution and word development can tell fascinating stories about how people have communicated throughout history, and the sometimes shocking arbitrariness of our own vocabulary. The Oxford English Dictionary, a quintessential reference source for linguistics and English and American literature studies alike, tries to trace a word’s nuanced and gradual changes in meaning over time by going back to the word’s earliest textual usage. For example, did you know that the often-heard ‘good-bye‘ actually morphed from a much longer ‘God be with you’?
Browse through the OED for some interesting finds that just might pump up your paper or revamp your project. Search for a word, or have the OED choose a random word for you. And for a more cleverly written, longer explanation of certain words (including good-bye), try Word Histories and Mysteries: From Abracadabra to Zeus, an online book provided through Credo Reference. There’s something fascinating in every entry!