Monthly Archives: October 2010

Happy Hallowe’en!

It may come as a shock to Americans, but Hallowe’en is actually British, beginning life as a Celtic festival and exported to the States by immigrants. I absolutely love this holiday – admittedly mostly because I get to dress up, but there’s also the fun of trying to scare people! Hallowe’en is celebrated around the […]


Events that have shaped the English language

My last post explored some ideas about the future of the English language. Now it’s time to look to the past – a new project aims to find 100 events that shaped the English language. The English Project, a charity dedicated to promoting the language, has started to compile a list of important events that […]


Words shaping the English language

An interesting blog post at the Washington Post looks at the five words shaping our future. Jonathon Keats proposes that “words occasionally anticipate the reality they come to reflect”, particularly now in our technological society. The words he thinks we will be using more in the future are mostly combinations of other words, for example […]


Language style matching

New research from the University of Texas at Austin shows that people match each other’s language styles more during happier periods in their relationship than at other times. From Science Daily: “When two people start a conversation, they usually begin talking alike within a matter of seconds,” says James Pennebaker, psychology professor and co-author of […]


Giving indigenous languages a try

Students at some universities are foregoing traditional languages in favour of learning indigenous languages, according to the LA Times. Rather than taking French, Spanish or Mandarin, the students are learning indigenous Latin American languages such as Zapotec, Quechua and Mixtec. Their reasons for taking the classes are varied – some want to work with the […]


North-South Korean Dictionary

North Korea has featured in the news a lot in the past few weeks, mainly showing the 65th anniversary celebrations of the ruling Workers’ Party. I was interested to find out that a North-South dictionary of the Korean language has been in production for a number of years now. The “Big Dictionary of the Korean […]


Banned words week

Banned Books Week was held around the country last week, celebrating “the freedom to read and the importance of the First Amendment”. Now, how about holding a Banned Words Week? The idea is explored in this article by Erin McKean, a lexicographer and founder of Wordnik. As she explains, there’s been a lot of media […]


Researchers discover new language

A new language has been discovered in a remote part of India. The language, Koro, was discovered by a team of linguists who were on an expedition as part of National Geographic’s “Enduring Voices” project on threatened indigenous languages. It is estimated that the language is spoken by around 800 to 1200 people and has […]


Klingon Opera

The first production performed entirely in Klingon has premiered in the Netherlands. Called u, the production was conceived by the Klingon Terran Research Ensemble (KTRE), based in the Hague. The title translates as ‘universe’ or ‘universal’. Klingon was invented by linguist Marc Okrand as the language of the fictional Star Trek warrior race. Fans have […]