For centuries, Icelanders have looked backward to move forward with their language. When they need to come up with words for new technologies or ideas, they dredge up archaic terms — and try to talk the public into re-using them.
Renata Flores, an indigenous Peruvian, is also an Internet sensation. That happened after a video of her singing a Michael Jackson hit went viral. Flores wasn't singing the song in English or Spanish. Instead, she sang it in her native tongue, Quechua.
Despite her better judgment, New York-based Russian writer Anya Ulinich uses the web to seek out potential mates. She finds it all but impossible to interpret the profiles of American men, and they don't understand her any better.
We like to know where our food comes from these days, but few people know where the words and names for those foods actually come from. Knowing the origins of those words can show eaters the history and travels of their favorite dishes.
The Irish language used to be a symbol of Catholic nationalism. But it's gradually becoming de-politicized, morphing into just another minority language in need of saving. You can see evidence of that change in community halls in Belfast.
These days, the word "thug" is bound up in questions of racial discrimination in the United States. So it may be surprising that it's actually an Indian word that referred to a notorious group of 14th-century robbers and killers.