Linguist David Crystal describes English as a "vacuum cleaner of a language." Speakers merrily swipe some words from other languages, adopt others because they're cool or sound classy, and simply make up other terms.
In his new book, he tells The Story of English in 100 Words, using a collection of words — classic ones like "tea" and new words like "app" — that explain how the the English language has evolved.
Crystal thinks every word has a story to tell, even the ones as commonplace as "and."
At least 70 countries, including the U.S., pledged millions of dollars in aid to the Syrian opposition. U.N.-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan has set a deadline of April 10 for compliance with the U.N. peace plan. Some analysts believe it's too late for peaceful negotiations.
Writer Donna Britt's 26-year-old brother was killed by Indiana police officers decades ago. Amidst the news of Trayvon Martin's death, she is reminded of the unanswerable questions surrounding her brother's death. She talks about the challenges of coming to terms the violent death of a loved one.
Deeply influenced by the pop of The Beatles while also incorporating alt-country elements from his Texas background, Salim Nourallah found solace in music at an early age. He's released several albums as a solo artist, earning a reputation for the power of his words and the deftness of his melodies.
Global Payments, a third-party processor of credit card payments for Visa, MasterCard and Discover, said late last night that the data breach made public last week may have risked about 1.5 million credit card numbers.
"It's constitutional," President Obama declared this afternoon when asked about the 2010 health care overhaul legislation that was the subject of three days' worth of Supreme Court hearings last week.
He's confident a majority of the justices will agree, Obama added. Many Supreme Court watchers are less certain.
The president make those comments in response to a question that came up during a joint news conference at the White House with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Mexican President Felipe Calderon.
More delegates are up for grabs as the GOP primaries move to Wisconsin, Maryland and Washington D.C. Politicos are closely watching the Badger State, where Rick Santorum is hoping for a boost from rural voters, and Mitt Romney is looking for a decisive victory. Guest host Jacki Lyden speaks with analysts Mary Kate Cary and Cynthia Tucker.
The morning TV air wars get serious again Tuesday with former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's guest host slot on NBC's The Today Show — opposite former CBS Evening News' anchor Katie Couric's guest slot on ABC's Good Morning America.
In the lead-in to the faceoff, there was some fun on Today today.
During a phone call with Palin, host Matt Lauer wondered "what are you doing to prepare? Are you reading some newspapers?"