Earworms are those catchy tunes you hear and then can’t get out of your head.
What if this could be applied to language learning? Well, a company called Earworms MBT (musical brain trainer) has done just that!
Language is set to music allowing you to listen and learn as you’re on the go. You can listen to the songs in the gym or on the way to work as they come in CD, audio book download or app form.
Earworms are available in 14 languages, so why not try one to complement your Chinese classes in Vancouver?
Have you ever felt really lazy, so lazy you can’t be bothered to do anything, go anywhere? Well, that feeling has a word – viitsima.
But only in Estonian. A former student at the Royal College of Art in London amassed words from other languages we don’t have in English. The Taiwanese design student collected words from her international cohort to display in an infographic.
Lin’s exercise yields weird moments of recognition: Even if the word doesn’t exist in English, the feeling is vaguely familiar. “People are able to understand the emotion even though they don’t have a word for it,” she said, adding that appropriated words such as schadenfreude make it clear we can feel what we can’t express in one word. (Source: Globe and Mail)
Are there any words from other languages we should have in English? Or maybe the way around this is to learn a new language by taking Chinese classes in Toronto perhaps?
A new study analysing tweets has found that Napa, California is the happiest city in the US.
Researchers found that tweets originating in the city had more happy words than other places, including beauty, hope and food. Coming in last is Beaumont, Texas, whose tweeters apparently swear a lot.
The happiest state is Hawaii with Louisiana coming in last place.
The new study used a list of 10,000 words rated on a 10-point scale as happy, sad or neutral to score tweets from 2011 that carried geographic tags. The researchers threw out neutral words (such as “the,” “of” and “and”) and looked at how often the happy and sad words showed up in different cities and states, lead researcher Lewis Mitchell says.
Words such as “hate,” “terrorist,” “earthquake” and “greed” were high on the sad list, he says. Happy words included “happy,” “reunion,” “lol” (laughing out loud) and nature terms, which helps explain how tweets from Maine, which mentioned lots of “forests” and “rivers,” came in only second to those from Hawaii on the happy list.
Other relatively happy states included Nevada, Utah and Vermont. After Louisiana, the least happy states were Mississippi, Maryland, Delaware and Georgia. (Source: USA Today)
Do you agree with the findings or think your state is happier than shown? One way to make your life happier is to learn a new languag like taking German lessons in Washington!
London is a very diverse city, as showcased during this year’s Olympic Games.
Just how diverse is shown by a visualisation of language communities, as revealed by Twitter. There are limitations to this as it is a selective sample, but is interesting nonetheless. The top five languages represented (other than English) are Spanish, French, Turkish, Arabic and Portuguese. I wonder how this would look in New York City or other large cities?
English tweets (grey) dominate (unsurprisingly) and they provide crisp outlines to roads and train lines as people tweet on the move. Towards the north, more Turkish tweets (blue) appear, Arabic tweets (green) are most common around Edgware Road and there are pockets of Russian tweets (pink) in parts of central London. The geography of the French tweets (red) is perhaps most surprising as they appear to exist in high density pockets around the centre and don’t stand out in South Kensington (an area with the Institut Francais, a French High School and the French Embassy). It may be that as a proportion of tweeters in this area they are small so they don’t stand out, or it could be that there are prolific tweeters (or bots) in the highly concentrated areas. I really like the paint-speckled effect that the multilingual tweets of London have produced and it offers a further confirmation of the international nature of London’s population. (Source: Spatial Analysis)
Want to become as linguistically diverse as London? Try Chinese lessons in Washington for a start.
Students trying to learn Chinese might be surprised to read this, but one man helped simplify the language by creating Pinyin.
Pinyin is the writing system that turns Chinese characters into words using the Roman alphabet; it’s been credited with improving the literacy rate in China as well as making it easier for people across the world to learn the language.
Zhou Youguang helped invent the system, but the 106 year old Beijing resident is not well known in his home country. After the second world war he became an economics professor in Shanghai before being invited to join a project looking at simplifying the Chinese language. He initially turned down this invitation but was persuaded and spent three years developing pinyin along with colleagues.
To read more about Mr Youguang, read the full article at BBC News. What an incredible man.